Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in Seventeenth-century England

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2003 - History - 260 pages
1 Review
This title explores how ordinary women of the early modern period in England understood and experienced their bodies. Using letters, popular literature, and detailed legal records from courts that were obsessively concerned with regulating morals, the book recaptures 17th-century popular understandings of sex and reproduction. This history of the female body is at once intimate and wide-ranging, with sometimes startling insights about the extent to which early modern women maintained, or forfeited, control over their own bodies. shaped the lived experiences of bodies: the cost of having a child, the vulnerability of being a servant, the difficulty of prosecuting rape, the social ambiguities of widowhood. She explains how the female body was governed most of all by other women - wives and midwives. Gowing casts new light on beliefs and practices concerning women's bodies of the time and provides an original perspective on the history of women and gender.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Angelic55blonde - LibraryThing

This is a great social history of women in 17th century England. The author writes in a way where it is fairly easy to understand the conclusions she has arrived at. It is a decently quick read and I ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Uncertain knowledge
17
The politics of touch
52
Consent and desire
82
The child in me perceiving pregnancy
111
Childbed conflicts
149
Precarious parenthood
177
Conclusion
204
Notes
210
Select bibliography
238
Index
249
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Laura Gowing is lecturer in history at King's College, London.

Bibliographic information