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Napoleon and the Woman Question: Discourses of the Other Sex in French Education, Medicine, and Medical Law, 1799-1815
     

Napoleon and the Woman Question: Discourses of the Other Sex in French Education, Medicine, and Medical Law, 1799-1815

by June K. Burton
 

Women under the Napoleonic regime have been largely neglected by historians. Through recovered discourses and other primary sources, in Napoleon and the Woman Question June K. Burton uncovers the strategies that Napoleonic women employed to control their lives. She begins with an analysis of Napoleon’s personal attitudes about the nature of women. He did not

Overview

Women under the Napoleonic regime have been largely neglected by historians. Through recovered discourses and other primary sources, in Napoleon and the Woman Question June K. Burton uncovers the strategies that Napoleonic women employed to control their lives. She begins with an analysis of Napoleon’s personal attitudes about the nature of women. He did not view them as weak vessels, but rather as industrious and strong, with an important role: as wives and mothers. She discusses France’s first national system of midwifery education, women’s issues in Napoleonic textbooks, the infanticide controversy, and the prevailing view of the relationship between the physical and the moral in feminine bodies and minds. In addition, she explores women’s medicine and surgery of the time with narratives from two patients, Adrienne Noailles Lafayette and Francis Burney d’Arblay. By clarifying the tensions and ambiguities of the Napoleonic period, Burton provides a nuanced approach to late-eighteenth-century and Napoleonic studies.The Emperor did not consider women the weaker sex. In fact, they were strong, perhaps too strong. With their tears or their allure, they could control a man. . . . They were autonomous beings who could move around the system, interject themselves into it at the right moment, and further the cause of women without being unduly noticed. For woman’s nature, what mattered was la différence. —Susan P. Conner, from the foreword

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780896725591
Publisher:
Texas Tech University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2007
Series:
Fashioning the Eighteenth Century Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

June K. Burton is associate professor emerita of history at the University of Akron and an associate editor of Historical Dictionary of Napoleonic France, 1799–1815. Napoleon and Clio (1979) established her reputation as an expert on Napoleonic historiography and bibliography.

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