Eighteenth-Century British Midwifery, Parts I, II and III
- Author/s: Lieske, Pam
- Publisher: Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Ltd
- ISBN: 9781848934009
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 5178 pages
- Publication date: 1 July 2012
- Dimensions: 156mm (Width), 234mm (Height)
Gives readers an understanding of midwives, midwifery students, and women in labour. This twelve-volume collection comprises pamphlets, treatises, lectures for midwifery students, texts on the establishment of lying-in hospitals, and catalogues of obstetrical apparatuses collected by male-midwives.
Scholars of the British Enlightenment who study obstetrical history traditionally focus on the rise of the male-midwife and competition between the sexes. By reprinting in facsimile primary texts on eighteenth-century midwifery and childbirth, this comprehensive twelve-volume collection gives readers a much deeper, more nuanced understanding of midwives, midwifery students, and women in labour. The set comprises pamphlets, treatises, lectures for midwifery students, texts on the establishment of lying-in hospitals, and catalogues of obstetrical apparatuses collected by male-midwives. Important themes include medical developments, 'freaks of nature', women's 'conduct' and the legal and societal implications of birth and motherhood. Gender is a central issue in works that address the efficacy and propriety of midwifery practice and whether men or women are best suited to the job. Works from popular or low culture feature: advertisements for midwives' services, medicinal cures, and monster births; texts on murderous female midwives and lewd male-midwives; and the 1726-27 correspondence on the 'rabbit-breeder', Mary Toft. Several significant works written by women stand out such as Catherine Elizabeth Weld's report of legal proceedings against her husband on the charge of impotency; and Elizabeth Nihell's "Treatise on the Art of Midwifery (1760)".