How to Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Oct 1, 2000 - History - 390 pages
2 Reviews
How to Do It shows us sixteenth-century Italy from an entirely new perspective: through manuals which were staples in the households of middlebrow Italians merely trying to lead better lives. Addressing challenges such as how to conceive a boy, the manuals offered suggestions such as tying a tourniquet around your husband's left testicle. Or should you want to goad female desires, throw 90 grubs in a liter of olive oil, let steep in the sun for a week and apply liberally on the male anatomy. Bell's journey through booklets long dismissed by scholars as being of little literary value gives us a refreshing and surprisingly fun social history.

"Lively and curious reading, particularly in its cascade of anecdote, offered in a breezy, cozy, journalistic style." —Lauro Martines, Times Literary Supplement

"[Bell's] fascinating book is a window on a lost world far nearer to our own than we might imagine. . . . How pleasant to read his delightful, informative and often hilarious book." —Kate Saunders, The Independent

"An extraordinary work which blends the learned with the frankly bizarre." —The Economist

"Professor Bell has a sly sense of humor and an enviably strong stomach. . . . He wants to know how people actually behaved, not how the Church or philosophers or earnest humanists thought they should behave. I loved this book." —Christopher Stace, Daily Telegraph
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: How to Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians

User Review  - Goodreads

excellent! bilbiography is leading me to many other good books as well. Read full review

Contents

Readers
1
Conception
17
Boy or Girl
19
Frequency of Intercourse
27
Positions during Intercourse
33
Setting
39
Male Impotence
41
Infertility in Women
57
Raising Your Child Nursing Who Should Do It?
124
How to Do It
137
Physical Health
145
Good Character
153
Childrens Books
170
Adolescence Who Was an Adolescent?
175
The Sins of Adolescence
179
Making Fun
197

Menstruation
63
Are You Pregnant?
70
Pregnancy and Childbirth
73
Boy or Girl?
75
Maybe Twins?
77
Due Date
80
Miscarriage
82
Diet and Daily Activity
86
Midwives
97
Anatomy
101
Labor
108
Postpartum Care
119
Choosing a Spouse
208
Marital Relations
220
Frotn the Humanists
223
From the Church
236
From the Gentlemen
247
Widows
258
Then and Now
279
Female Authorship
283
The Internet
289
NOTES
293
INDEX
363
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Rudolph M. Bell is a professor of history at Rutgers University. His previous books include Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom, 1000-1700 and Holy Anorexia, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Bibliographic information