History of Childbirth: Fertility, Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern Europe / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $25.90
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 25%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $25.90   
  • New (9) from $25.90   
  • Used (3) from $47.07   


Highly detailed and clearly written, this book is the first full-length study of the complex system of practices, beliefs and taboos which surrounded conception and childbirth in early modern Europe.

In a rich and scholarly study, Jacques Gelis reconstructs the activities and attitudes of the midwives and mothers, and the sufferings they had to endure. He continues with an examination of the role of the Church, the herbalist and the mineral world (touchstones and talisman) in the explanation of the mysteries of procreation.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With great erudition and an enviable feeling for the material,Gélis recovers the world of beliefs concerned with fertility,pregnancy, childbirth and infancy ... from medieval times down tomodernity ... This book will surely become the standard scholarlytext on the history of childbirth in pre-modern time." RoyPorter, Wellcome Institute

"A moving record of women's lives." Times LiterarySupplement

"It is immensely valuable that Gélis brings back theforgotten importance of symbolic meanings and therefore theawareness of an integration with nature." Times Higher EducationSupplement

"Much fascinating information and many anecdotes ... it is sucha good book." History Today

"The variety and detail make compulsive reading." MedicalHistory

"A significant work ... it offers a wealth of new material andpoints to many rich areas for further research." FrenchHistory

"A breathtaking view of pre-modern rural and urban life ... thisbook successfully conjures up the world of our foremothers andtheir daily lives and beliefs." Medical Women

"Enjoyable, informative and very readable." Journal ofBiosocial Science

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745618401
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/26/1996
  • Edition description: New
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacques Gélis is Maitre-Assistant in History at theUniversity of Paris VIII.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Part I: The Rhythms of the Earth: The Mother of allThings:.

1. Man, the Earth and the Cosmos.

2. Daughter, Wife and Mother.

3. What if No Child Appears?.

4. The Cycle of Life.

Part II: Pregnancy: A Time of Hope, Suffering andAnxiety:.

5. The Body in Pregnancy.

6. The Experience of Pregnancy.

Part III: The Woman Giving Birth:.

7. The Society of Birth.

8. Hastening the Hour of Deliverance.

Part IV: Between Mother and Child:.

9. Birth: A Double Liberation.

10. Suffering to Give Life.

11. Stages in the Delivery.

12. The Placenta: Double of the Child.

13. The Governance of Mother and Child.

Part V: The Socialization of the Child:.

14. Welcoming the New Baby.

15. Socializing the Child: Giving a Name.

Part VI: The Divagations of Nature:.

16. The Falling of the Flower.

17. The Unripe Fruit.

18. Unnatural Delivery.

19. Death, the Greatest Aberration.

20. Where does the Beast End and Man Begin?.



Further Reading.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)