By Clare Hanson (auth.)
Read or Download A Cultural History of Pregnancy: Pregnancy, Medicine and Culture, 1750–2000 PDF
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Additional resources for A Cultural History of Pregnancy: Pregnancy, Medicine and Culture, 1750–2000
It was thus possible to develop a specifically uterine 'causal' model for female instability, in the same way that a hormonal model could be developed and deployed in the twentieth century. Valuing pregnancy As a social function, reproduction is laden with social and economic meanings, and in this context some pregnancies are always considered more valuable, both economically and ideologically, than others. An examination of a range of texts from this period reveals two specific and related discourses which attempt to discriminate between 'good' and 'bad' pregnancies.
In (re)producing a daughter, Maria has provided another piece of valuable property for her husband, who manages to abduct the child and then confines Maria to a lunatic asylum. Despite these rather Gothic plot embellishments, the text reflects the reality of the fact that a woman in Maria's position would have had little redress against a husband who acted against her interests, but was still her primary legal protector. If Wollstonecraft reworked aspects of her own experience in Maria, she also had the dubious privilege of having another novelist posthumously reworking the material of her life.
The dispute drew a considerable amount of attention: two more pamphlets followed from Blondel and Turner and provoked several interventions by others. Those who supported the idea of maternal impressions thought that the mother's imagination could be so strongly affected by longing or loathing for particular objects that the physical form of these objects could be imprinted on the Advice to the Fair Sex 27 developing embryo/foetus. However, the consensus among manmidwives/obstetricians by the late eighteenth century was against a belief in maternal impressions in such a literal sense, however beguiling stories about them might be.