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Early Modern History: Society and Culture

Infertility in Early Modern England

Authors: Oren-Magidor, Daphna

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  • Assesses the experiences of people with fertility issues in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England​Demonstrates the centrality of religion to understanding of infertility in Early Modern England
  • Exposes the challenges that infertility posed to gender and social norms
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eBook $84.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-47668-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-47667-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book explores the experiences of people who struggled with fertility problems in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England. Motherhood was central to early modern women’s identity and was even seen as their path to salvation. To a lesser extent, fatherhood played an important role in constructing proper masculinity. When childbearing failed this was seen not only as a medical problem but as a personal emotional crisis. Infertility in Early Modern England highlights the experiences of early modern infertile couples: their desire for children, the social stigmas they faced, and the ways that social structures and religious beliefs gave meaning to infertility. It also describes the methods of treating fertility problems, from home-remedies to water cures. Offering a multi-faceted view, the book demonstrates the centrality of religion to every aspect of early modern infertility, from understanding to treatment. It also highlights the ways in which infertility unsettled the social order by placing into question the gendered categories of femininity and masculinity.

About the authors

Daphna Oren-Magidor is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, where she is working on the histories of gender, sexuality, medicine and the family in Early Modern England.

Reviews

“Oren-Magidor’s most important contribution may be that infertility upset the social order as much as sexual transgression or illegitimacy. … This study also illuminates the extent to which medicine and religion were intertwined in early modern society. … Oren-Magidor has produced a finely crafted study that provides a much needed re-centering of infertility and the struggles men and women confronted in order to have children in discussions of early modern reproductive practices.” (Jennifer F. Kosmin, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Vol. 73 (3), July, 2018)

“This book effectively demonstrates the duality of medical and religious ways of understanding and articulating infertility … Her work contributes to a growing body of literature that seeks to situate the social history of medicine within a social, cultural, and emotional narrative. … In offering a new perspective on infertility in early modern England, this book contributes to the rapidly expanding body of scholarship on (in)fertility, conception, and reproduction across early modern Europe.” (Sarah Fox, H-Histsex, H-Net Reviews, March 2018)
“Oren-Magidor has collected information from a wide range of sources which together provide a well-balanced picture of the impact of infertility in early modern society. … Infertility in Early Modern England is engaging and well written; it contains much interesting and useful detail and it will provide worthwhile reading for all students of early modern social history.” (Chris Galley, Local Population Studies, Issue 100, 2018)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-47668-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-47667-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Infertility in Early Modern England
Authors
Series Title
Early Modern History: Society and Culture
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-47668-5
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-47668-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-47667-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 196
Number of Illustrations
5 illustrations in colour
Topics