Making Women's Medicine Masculine: The Rise of Male Authority in Pre-Modern Gynaecology (Hardback)
  • Making Women's Medicine Masculine: The Rise of Male Authority in Pre-Modern Gynaecology (Hardback)

Making Women's Medicine Masculine: The Rise of Male Authority in Pre-Modern Gynaecology (Hardback)

Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 20/03/2008
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Making Women's Medicine Masculine challenges the common belief that prior to the eighteenth century men were never involved in any aspect of women's healthcare in Europe. Using sources ranging from the writings of the famous twelfth-century female practitioner, Trota of Salerno, all the way to the great tomes of Renaissance male physicians, and covering both medicine and surgery, this study demonstrates that men slowly established more and more authority in diagnosing and prescribing treatments for women's gynaecological conditions (especially infertility) and even certain obstetrical conditions. Even if their 'hands-on' knowledge of women's bodies was limited by contemporary mores, men were able to establish their increasing authority in this and all branches of medicine due to their greater access to literacy and the knowledge contained in books, whether in Latin or the vernacular. As Monica Green shows, while works written in French, Dutch, English, and Italian were sometimes addressed to women, nevertheless even these were often re-appropriated by men, both by practitioners who treated women and by laymen interested to learn about the 'secrets' of generation. While early in the period women were considered to have authoritative knowledge on women's conditions (hence the widespread influence of the alleged authoress 'Trotula'), by the end of the period to be a woman was no longer an automatic qualification for either understanding or treating the conditions that most commonly afflicted the female sex - with implications of women's exclusion from production of knowledge on their own bodies extending to the present day.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199211494
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 797 g
Dimensions: 241 x 182 x 27 mm

[An] excellent new book... Green has painstakingly studied the content and circulation of medieval texts on women's medicine...[and] disproves popular ideas of the Middle Ages as a Golden Age for women's control over their own bodies. * Medical History *
[A]dds welcome new dimensions to our understanding of the processes by which men came to dominate women's medicine. It is essential reading, not just for those engaged in the social history of women's medicine, but for anyone working in the field of the history of medicine. * Social History of Medicine *
Magisterial in scope... Her scrupulous conclusions permit Green to render this history useful as a way of thinking about health in terms of human rights and about the consequences of structures that exclude populations from the production and control of knowledge about their own health care. * Joan Cadden, American Historical Review *
This is a superb volume of medieval and early modern history that will appeal to many audiences, especially those interested in the history of women's medicine. * Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences *
Green's breadth and depth of knowledge is deeply impressive, and her own authority in the field of the history of women's medicine is unquestionable. This is an outstanding achievement of scholarship, both in terms of the history of medicine, and as a major contribution to feminist literature. * The Medieval Review *
Monica Green's Making Women's Medicine Masculine has done a great service for medical history and has simultaneously opened up a rich vein of material to anyone interested in literacy and gender issues in the Middle Ages. * Medieval Feminist Forum *
Written with all the magisterial clarity, directness, and certainty that has characterised all her work so far...a masterpiece * Professor Peter Biller, University of York *
A major work by the leading authority in the field, the summation of decades of study that has no competitors in print and is unlikely to have any for some time to come * Dr Peregrine Horden, Royal Holloway, University of London *
An outstanding book in all ways...a work of superb scholarship * Professor Helen King, University of Reading *

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