From the first, the early-modern midwifery manual was a cross-cultural phenomenon. Disseminated in cheap octavo formats and in vernacular translations, they were an accessible source of information and advice on sexual life. In mapping the development of the English-language midwifery manual, Elaine Hobby begins with the first known example, The Byrth of Mankynde (1540); examines developments stimulated by the work of the civil war radical, Nicholas Culpeper; and concludes with a discussion of post-Restoration manuals such as Jane Sharp's The Midwives Book. While tracing their ancient (Greek), medieval (Arabic and European medical models), and contemporary (especially post-Vesalian anatomic) sources, Hobby shows how materials that appeared in early-modern midwifery manuals were borrowed from and by other contemporary works, such as surgeons' manuals, travelogues, and cookery books. Because her analysis of these fascinating texts draws on methods and knowledge drawn from medical history, book history, women's studies, and literary criticism, Hobby's book is an invaluable resource for scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines.
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About the Series
Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity
For more than a decade now, Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity has provided a forum for groundbreaking work on the relations between literary and scientific discourses in Europe, during a period when both fields were in a crucial moment of historical formation. We welcome proposals that address the many overlaps between modes of imaginative writing typical of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”poetics, rhetoric, prose narrative, dramatic production, utopia”and the vocabularies, conceptual models, and intellectual methods of newly emergent 'scientific' fields such as medicine, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, psychology, mapping, mathematics, or natural history. In order to reflect the nature of intellectual inquiry during the period, the series is interdisciplinary in orientation and publishes monographs, edited collections, and selected critical editions of primary texts relevant to an understanding of the mutual implication of literary and scientific epistemologies.
BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
- LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature