Dixon, Laurinda S., Perilous Chastity, Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995), 320 pp. $ 55.00 ISBN 0 8014 8215 1

Dixon, Laurinda S., Perilous Chastity, Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine... BOOK REVIEWS Dixon, Laurinda S., Perilous Chastity, Women and Illness in Pre-Enlighten- ment Art and Medicine (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995), 320 pp. $ 55.00 ISBN 0 8014 8215 1. Until the early eighteenth century women's mental and physical diseases were often thought to be related to 'furor uterinus', or the so-called 'wandering womb'. The womb, wandering freely through the body, was considered the main cause of women's instability, and, as a consequence, of their vulnerability to hys- teria, and hysteric behaviour. Laurinda Dixon tries to show that a reflection of this traditional medical belief is found in seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, usually referred to as 'The lovesick maiden' or 'The doctor's visit'. "My inten- tion is", she writes in the introduction, "to show how the art of this period revealed, justified, and perpetuated an ancient medical belief in the innate insta- bility of the female sex, thereby reinforcing traditional notions concerning women's societal roles and intellectual capabilities" (p. 3). The book is divided in seven chapters. First she gives a brief history of the uterine disorders (Chapter I). She then shows how the disease was recognised and diagnosed (Chapter II), what caused the disease (Chapter III), http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early Science and Medicine Brill

Dixon, Laurinda S., Perilous Chastity, Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995), 320 pp. $ 55.00 ISBN 0 8014 8215 1

Early Science and Medicine, Volume 2 (3): 353 – Jan 1, 1997

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1997 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1383-7427
eISSN
1573-3823
D.O.I.
10.1163/157338297X00186
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS Dixon, Laurinda S., Perilous Chastity, Women and Illness in Pre-Enlighten- ment Art and Medicine (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995), 320 pp. $ 55.00 ISBN 0 8014 8215 1. Until the early eighteenth century women's mental and physical diseases were often thought to be related to 'furor uterinus', or the so-called 'wandering womb'. The womb, wandering freely through the body, was considered the main cause of women's instability, and, as a consequence, of their vulnerability to hys- teria, and hysteric behaviour. Laurinda Dixon tries to show that a reflection of this traditional medical belief is found in seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, usually referred to as 'The lovesick maiden' or 'The doctor's visit'. "My inten- tion is", she writes in the introduction, "to show how the art of this period revealed, justified, and perpetuated an ancient medical belief in the innate insta- bility of the female sex, thereby reinforcing traditional notions concerning women's societal roles and intellectual capabilities" (p. 3). The book is divided in seven chapters. First she gives a brief history of the uterine disorders (Chapter I). She then shows how the disease was recognised and diagnosed (Chapter II), what caused the disease (Chapter III),

Journal

Early Science and MedicineBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1997

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