The Horrors of the Half-Known Life : Male Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality in 19th. Century America book cover
1st Edition

The Horrors of the Half-Known Life
Male Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality in 19th. Century America

ISBN 9780415925006
Published October 14, 1999 by Routledge
408 Pages

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Book Description

Now a classic in the field, The Horrors of the Half-Known Life is an important foundational text in the construction of masculinity, female identity, and the history of midwivery.

Table of Contents

Part I The Sexes in Tocqueville’s America; Chapter 1 The American Man; Chapter 2 The Arena; Chapter 3 Work and Sex; Chapter 4 Democratic Fathers and Democratic Sons; Chapter 5 Freedom of Intercourse; Chapter 6 Strong Men over Orderly Women; Part II From Midwives to Gynecologists; Chapter 7 The Absence of Midwives from America; Chapter 8 Democratic Doctors; Chapter 9 The Rise of Gynecology; Chapter 10 Architect of the Vagina; Chapter 11 Sexual Surgery; Part III The Lightning-Rod Man; Chapter 12 The Reverend John Todd; Chapter 13 Primers for Anxiety; Chapter 14 Todd’s Masturbation Phobia; Chapter 15 The Spermatic Economy and Proto-Sublimation; Chapter 16 Men Earn—Women Spend; Chapter 17 Woman’s Refinement; Chapter 18 Sex and Anarchy; Chapter 19 From Mother to Mother Earth; Part IV Augustus Kinsley Gardner; Chapter 20 Dr. Gardner’s Education; Chapter 21 Gardner’s Career; Chapter 22 The Physical Decline of American Women; Chapter 23 Punishing Women; Chapter 24 The Great Organ of Communication;

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G. J. Barker-Benfield is Professor of History and Women's Studies at SUNY-Albany. He is the coeditor with Catherine Clinton of Portraits of American Women and author of The Culture of Sensibility in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain.


"A 'classic'-a wonderful work." -- Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood of America
"A truly pioneering study . . . that is likely to gain an entirely new readership." -- Bram Dijkstra, author of Evil Sisters: The Threat of Female Sexuality and the Cult of Manhood
"It tells a very important part of women's history-shocking and dreadful . . . when it was first published, it was ahead of its time." -- Robbie Davis-Floyd, coeditor of Cyborg Babies