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Look Inside The Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages

The Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages
Medicine, Science, and Culture

Part of Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine

  • Date Published: August 1995
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521483780

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  • In describing and explaining the sexes, medicine and science participated in the delineation of what was 'feminine' and what was 'masculine' in the Middle Ages. Hildegard of Bingen and Albertus Magnus, among others, writing about gynecology, the human constitution, fetal development, or the naturalistic dimensions of divine Creation, became increasingly interested in issues surrounding reproduction and sexuality. Did women as well as men produce procreative seed? How did the physiology of the sexes influence their healthy state and their susceptibility to disease? Who derived more pleasure from intercourse, men or women? This book explores how scientific ideas about sex differences in the later Middle Ages participated in the broader culture's assumptions about gender. Cadden discusses how medieval natural philosophical theories and medical notions about reproduction and sexual impulses and experiences intersected with ideas about such matters as the social roles of men and women, and the purpose of marriage.

    •  A multi-disciplinary appeal in history, women's studies, medieval studies and cultural studies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1995
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521483780
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. Seeds and Pleasures: The Evolution of Learned Opinions:
    1. Prelude to medieval theories and debates: Greek authorities and their Latin transformations
    2. The emergence of issues and the ordering of opinions
    3. Academic questions: female and male in scholastic medicine and natural philosophy
    Part II. Sex Difference and the Construction of Gender:
    4. Feminine and masculine types
    5. Sterility: the pursuit of progeny and the failure of reproductive function
    6. Is sex necessary? The problem of sexual abstinence
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Joan Cadden, Kenyon College, Ohio

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