Pregnant Fictions: Childbirth and the Fairy Tale in Early Modern France

Overview

How male medical authorities and female literary authors struggled to describe the inner workings of the unseen—and competed to shape public understanding of it—is the focus of this engaging work by Holly Tucker. In illuminating the gender politics underlying dramatic changes in reproductive theory and practice, Tucker shows just how tenuous the boundaries of scientific "fact" and marvelous fictions were in early-modern France.

On the literary front, Tucker argues, women used ...

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Overview

How male medical authorities and female literary authors struggled to describe the inner workings of the unseen—and competed to shape public understanding of it—is the focus of this engaging work by Holly Tucker. In illuminating the gender politics underlying dramatic changes in reproductive theory and practice, Tucker shows just how tenuous the boundaries of scientific "fact" and marvelous fictions were in early-modern France.

On the literary front, Tucker argues, women used the fairy tale to rethink the biology of childbirth and the sociopolitical uses to which it had been put. She shows that in references to midwives, infertility, sex selection, and embryological theories, fairy-tale writers experimented with alternative ways of understanding pregnancy. In so doing they suggested new ways in which to envision women, knowledge, and power in both the public and the private spheres.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814330425
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Pages: 213
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly Tucker is an associate professor in the Department of French and Italian at Vanderbilt University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Note on Translations and Editions
Embarkment 1
1 Uterine Legends 17
2 Fairy Tales and the Facts of Life 43
3 Fairies and Midwives 55
4 It's a Girl! 77
5 Like Mother, Like Daughter 99
6 The Chicken and the Egg 119
Mal de Mere 141
Notes 149
Works Cited 185
Index 201
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