By Eve Keller
Generating our bodies and Gendered Selves examines the textured interrelations among clinical writing approximately new release and childbirth - what we now name replica - and rising notions of selfhood in early glossy England. At a time while clinical texts first seemed in English in huge numbers and the 1st symptoms of contemporary drugs have been rising either in thought and in perform, scientific discourse of the physique used to be richly interwoven with cultural concerns.
Through shut readings of a variety of English-language scientific texts from the mid-sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, from realized anatomies and works of observational embryology to well known books of physic and advertisement midwifery manuals, Keller appears to be like on the specific assumptions approximately our bodies and selves that clinical language unavoidably enfolds. whilst wombs are defined as "free" yet still "bridled" to the bone; whilst sperm, first visible within the 17th century via assistance from the microscope, are imagined as minute "adventurers" looking a secure spot to be "nursed": and while for the 1st time embryos are defined as "freeborn," absolutely "independent" from the adult females who undergo them, the rhetorical formulations of producing our bodies appear truly to implicate principles concerning the gendered self.
Keller indicates how, in an age marked by way of social, highbrow, and political upheaval, early smooth English medication inscribes within the flesh and functioning of its producing our bodies the manifold questions about gender, politics, and philosophy that jointly provide upward push to the trendy Western liberal self - a traditionally limited (and, Keller argues, a traditionally aberrant) thought of the self as individuated and self sustaining, absolutely rational and punctiliously male.
An engagingly written and interdisciplinary paintings that forges a severe nexus between clinical historical past, cultural reviews, and literary research, Generating our bodies and Gendered Selves will curiosity students in early sleek literary experiences, feminist and cultural stories of the physique and subjectivity, and the heritage of women's healthcare and reproductive rights.
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Extra resources for Generating Bodies and Gendered Selves: The Rhetoric of Reproduction in Early Modern England
38 Bio-medical truths were richly imbued with signiﬁcation and value; bio-medicine was a place where questions of identity, of selfhood, of human being, were worried and worked out, as they were equally, if variously, in drama, poetry, theology, law, and politics. To say this is not to unmask some ideology secretly at work, to declare that what passes for truth is constructed by hidden causalities or structures of power, or that the history of the body, studied from a perspective strictly internal to the history of medicine, is startlingly affected by factors external to it.
It is a simple recognition of how thoroughly interwoven the body was with all aspects of creation, how inextricably it was entangled in a network of connections that encompassed equally the constituents of matter and the incarnation of the 1 8 / Introduction divine. ”39 Perhaps the preeminent contemporary theorist of science studies, Latour now ﬁnds himself wanting to evaluate the fruits of decades of social critique. 41 Taken aback by what has become of critique, Latour encourages a return to realism, but to a full-bodied, thick-description realism, in which what are accepted as matters of fact are seen as “only very partial .
The examples here are numerous: lesions in the association cortex of the right hemisphere correlate with an inability to recognize faces; damage to the right parietal lobe is afﬁliated with a condition known as hemineglect, in which a person is aware of only the left side of his visual ﬁeld and thus, for example, will shave only the left side of his face or, when asked to copy a picture presented to him, will draw only its left side; and damage to the parietal cortex of the right hemisphere is associated with limb denial, a condition in which a patient denies that her left arm or leg actually is her own and so might, for example, attempt to toss it out of a hospital bed.
Generating Bodies and Gendered Selves: The Rhetoric of Reproduction in Early Modern England by Eve Keller