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The Reproductive Unconscious in Late…

The Reproductive Unconscious in Late Medieval and Early Modern England…

by hellwarthjenniferwyn

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415941520, Hardcover)

While many scholars have considered the complexities of sex and sexuality in literary texts, childbirth is a central experience that has been overlooked in literary scholarship. Drawing together social and medical history and literary studies, The Reproductive Unconscious in Late Medieval and Early Modern England shows that medieval and early modern men and women had to negotiate a conflict between the ideological and material need of the culture for them to procreate, and an ideological injunction that they remain virginal and non-procreative. It also demonstrates the effects of these negotiations on textual productions. Discussion of midwifery manuals illustrates ways that women taught and were taught to manage childbirth, while also suggesting how men later attempted to take over this field. While these obstetrical and gynaecological manuals directly addressed reproductive practices, representational texts tended to avoid or repress them. Devotional texts in the middle ages used images of childbirth metaphorically to describe spiritual states and insights, while early modern texts inverted this relationship, using sacred images to allay the fears of women in labor and to sanctify childbirth itself. In its movement from medieval to early modern texts, through its documentation of historical changes and continuities, this work repudiates conventional paradigms of periodization, and in its thematics, brings women's creativity into the centre of cultural inquiry.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:42 -0400)

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