By Kirk D. Read
The pregnant, birthing, and nurturing physique is a routine topos in early smooth French literature. Such our bodies, frequently metaphors for matters and anxieties acquiring to the gendered regulate of social and political associations, bought a lot in their descriptive strength from contemporaneous scientific and clinical discourse. during this examine, Kirk learn brings jointly literary and scientific texts that symbolize various perspectives, from lyric poets, satirists and polemicists, to midwives and surgeons, all of whom discover the preferred 16th- and early seventeenth-century narratives of delivery in France. even if the rhetoric of birthing used to be popular, techniques and negotiations depended upon intercourse and gender; this examine considers the male, girl, and hermaphroditic adventure, providing either an research of women's reviews to ensure, but additionally starting onto the views of non-female birthers and their position within the social and political weather of early sleek France. The writers explored comprise Rabelais, Madeleine and Catherine Des Roches, Louise Boursier, Pierre de Ronsard, Pierre Boaistuau and Jacques Duval. learn additionally explores the consequences of the metaphorical use of replica, resembling the presentation of literary paintings as offspring and the poet/mentor courting as that of a suckling baby. Foregrounded within the learn are the questions of what it skill for ladies to include organic and literary copy and the way male appropriation of the birthing physique affects the challenge of constructing new literary traditions. moreover, by way of exploring the instances of indeterminate birthing entities and the social anxiousness that informs them, learn complicates the binarisms at paintings within the vexed terrain of sexuality, intercourse, and gender during this interval. finally, learn considers how the narrative of delivery produces historic conceptions of identification, authority, and gender.
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Extra resources for Birthing Bodies in Early Modern France: Stories of Gender and Reproduction
The “estude,” now become “cabinet,” prefigures the “cabinet de medecin,” perhaps, as the narrator evinces here a more medically learned tone with regard to the recovery of his cousin which so mirrors his own. The newly recharacterized hiding place also clearly resonates with the scribe’s reference to the marvels of the “cabinet de medecines” in the seventh caquets to which we will return in due course. ] (117) begins the fourth day as both the narrator and the cousin fall into lengthy, intimate conversation: “ma cousine me receut à bras ouverts” [my cousin received me with open arms] (118).
The framing device alludes quite clearly to the Les Quinze joies de mariage (as well as the Les Quinze joies de la vièrge), the contemporaneous Cent nouvelles nouvelles, and is nourished by the tradition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and prepares Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron. The narrator presents himself as an earnest defender of a glorious, though poorly documented female tradition of “doctoresses,” citing Zoroaster’s wife Hermafrodita as the initiator of these gospels and traditions.
Le Roux de Lincy outlines the literary and historical context of lying-in narratives fairly extensively. See his introduction to the 1855 edition of the caquets, edited by M. Edouard Fournier. As I investigate this trope of the cuckold, I must recognize David P. LaGuardia’s work, Intertextual Masculinity in French Renaissance Literature (Aldershot, 2008), which, through a close investigation of three exemplary texts, treats the beleaguered male spouse as “an embodiment of a particular type of historically-contingent masculinity that is an essential element of late-medieval and Renaissance culture” (2).