Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England by Jennifer Evans (review)

Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England by Jennifer Evans (review) Reviews 293 Evans, Jennifer, Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England (Royal Historical Society Studies in History), Woodbridge, Boydell, 2014; hardback; pp. 225; 3 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. £50.00; ISBN 9780861933242. Oysters, artichokes, and new-laid eggs: provokers of venery or medicaments for infertility? Jennifer Evans explores the role of aphrodisiacs in early modern England. According to early modern medical and popular understandings, various consumables could both stimulate lust and enhance the generative body. Evans's study focuses on how the consumption of aphrodisiacs was considered one of the viable treatments for infertility, with others including soft beds and hot baths, from 1550 to 1780. Through the analysis of printed and manuscript sources, the author argues that, though restricted within the sphere of marriage, early modern England had both a knowledge of what constituted `provoker[s] of lust', and a belief that such foods and other substances affected the body's reproductive processes. Early modern knowledge of the sexual body and generation was disseminated through a diverse range of literary genres, from erotic literature to household recipe collections. The author asserts that an understanding of how views on sexual and reproductive bodies were inextricably intertwined is essential to historicising aphrodisiacs. In a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Parergon Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)

Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England by Jennifer Evans (review)

Parergon, Volume 32 (2) – Mar 2, 2015

Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England by Jennifer Evans (review)


Reviews 293 Evans, Jennifer, Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England (Royal Historical Society Studies in History), Woodbridge, Boydell, 2014; hardback; pp. 225; 3 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. £50.00; ISBN 9780861933242. Oysters, artichokes, and new-laid eggs: provokers of venery or medicaments for infertility? Jennifer Evans explores the role of aphrodisiacs in early modern England. According to early modern medical and popular understandings, various consumables could both stimulate lust and enhance the generative body. Evans's study focuses on how the consumption of aphrodisiacs was considered one of the viable treatments for infertility, with others including soft beds and hot baths, from 1550 to 1780. Through the analysis of printed and manuscript sources, the author argues that, though restricted within the sphere of marriage, early modern England had both a knowledge of what constituted `provoker[s] of lust', and a belief that such foods and other substances affected the body's reproductive processes. Early modern knowledge of the sexual body and generation was disseminated through a diverse range of literary genres, from erotic literature to household recipe collections. The author asserts that an understanding of how views on sexual and reproductive bodies were inextricably intertwined is essential to historicising aphrodisiacs. In a statement alluding to Galen's twoseed theory of sex and humoral theory, early modern theologian, Isbrand van Diemerbroeck, observed that `there is in the Seed of all Creatures, that which renders the Seed fruitful, and is called Heat' (pp. 56­57). Without an initial sexual desire `heating' the body and thereby stimulating the sexual organs, it was believed that conception would be unsuccessful. While the use of aphrodisiacs did not neatly conform to either Galen's two-seed or Aristotle's one-seed theory of reproduction, the practice did highlight the...
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Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
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Copyright © The author
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1832-8334
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Abstract

Reviews 293 Evans, Jennifer, Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England (Royal Historical Society Studies in History), Woodbridge, Boydell, 2014; hardback; pp. 225; 3 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. £50.00; ISBN 9780861933242. Oysters, artichokes, and new-laid eggs: provokers of venery or medicaments for infertility? Jennifer Evans explores the role of aphrodisiacs in early modern England. According to early modern medical and popular understandings, various consumables could both stimulate lust and enhance the generative body. Evans's study focuses on how the consumption of aphrodisiacs was considered one of the viable treatments for infertility, with others including soft beds and hot baths, from 1550 to 1780. Through the analysis of printed and manuscript sources, the author argues that, though restricted within the sphere of marriage, early modern England had both a knowledge of what constituted `provoker[s] of lust', and a belief that such foods and other substances affected the body's reproductive processes. Early modern knowledge of the sexual body and generation was disseminated through a diverse range of literary genres, from erotic literature to household recipe collections. The author asserts that an understanding of how views on sexual and reproductive bodies were inextricably intertwined is essential to historicising aphrodisiacs. In a

Journal

ParergonAustralian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)

Published: Mar 2, 2015

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