Bleeding flowers and waning moons : a history of menstruation in France, c. 1495-1761
McClive, Cathy (2004) Bleeding flowers and waning moons : a history of menstruation in France, c. 1495-1761. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
WRAP_THESIS_McClive_2004.pdf - Submitted Version - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1750471~S1
This thesis explores early modem perceptions of menstrual bleeding, demonstrating that
attempts to understand menstrual bleeding extended beyond the early modem medical
world and captured the imagination of an entire cross-section of French society
revealing culturally- embedded concerns about marriage, progeny, the family,
patrilineage and state formation.
The thesis draws on diverse sources including medical, casuistic and judicial
texts, court records and private documents. Chapter One outlines the database of
medical texts which forms a cornerstone of the thesis. The database includes texts
printed between 1495, with the French edition of a medieval Latin work by Bernard de
Gordon, and 1761, with Montpellier physician Jean Astruc's treatise on women's
diseases which introduced the term 'menstruation' into French medical vocabulary.
Chapter Two examines medical notions of menstrual bleeding within the context of
attitudes to blood, blood-related fluids and the humoral and mechanical bodies.
Sixteenth-century casuistic interpretations of Biblical taboos surrounding sex during
menstrual bleeding and notions of menses as polluting are cross-referenced with
medical notions of the relationship of menses to conception demonstrating the
overriding concern for healthy progeny. Chapter Three explores the significance of
concepts of time and periodicity, in the context of the merging of blood-related fluids in
the humoral body, as a key to early modem perceptions of menstrual bleeding. Chapter
Four examines early modern debates on the length of gestation and the calculation of a
woman's time on the basis of the monthly menstrual cycle relating these to Sarah
Hanley's model of the 'marital regime'. In Chapter Five, the ambivalent nature of
menstrual bleeding in the medico-legal arena is investigated and the different cultural
meanings ascribed to various bloody discharges emanating from the living female body
are analysed. In the sixth and final chapter the role of menstrual bleeding in issues of
sexual difference and hermaphroditism is discussed.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Menstruation -- France -- History, Menstruation -- Folklore, Reproduction -- France -- History|
|Official Date:||April 2004|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of History|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Jones, Colin, 1947- ; Roberts, Penny ; Marland, Hilary|
|Sponsors:||Arts and Humanities Research Board (Great Britain) (AHRB) ; France. Ambassade (Great Britain) ; Society for the Study of French History ; Society for the Social History of Medicine|
|Extent:||vii, 371 p.|
Actions (login required)