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Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. This collection of chapters, which I co-edited with my University of Hertfordshire colleague Jennifer Evans, is written by members of the Perceptions of Pregnancy Researchers’ Network. Jen and I co-founded this network in summer 2014 following our hugely successful three-day conference by the same name.

This multi-disciplinary collection brings together work by scholars from Britain, America and Canada on the popular, personal and institutional histories of pregnancy. It follows the process of reproduction from conception and contraception, to birth and parenthood. The contributors explore several key themes: narratives of pregnancy and birth, the patient-consumer, and literary representations of childbearing. This book explores how these issues have been constructed, represented and experienced in a range of geographical locations from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Crossing the boundary between the pre-modern and modern worlds, the chapters reveal the continuities, similarities and differences in understanding a process that is often, in the popular mind-set, considered to be fundamental and unchanging.

Table of Contents

Introduction

JENNIFER EVANS AND CIARA MEEHAN

Part I

Narratives of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood

  1. ‘Breeding’ a ‘little stranger’: Managing Uncertainty in Pregnancy in Late Georgian England

JOANNE BEGIATO

  1. ‘Bound to be a troublesome time’: Canadian Perceptions of Pregnancy, Parturition and Pain, 1867-1920

WHITNEY WOOD

  1. Families, Vulnerability and Sexual Violence During the Irish Revolution

JUSTIN DOLAN STOVER

  1. Audible Birth, Listening Women: Storytelling the Labouring Body on Mumsnet.com

ANIJA DOKTER

Part II

Literary Pregnancies

  1. Feminine Value and Reproduction in Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin

SANNER GAROFALO

  1. ‘Pregnant Women Gaze at the Precious thing their Souls are Set on’: Perceptions of the Pregnant Body in Early Modern Literature

SARA READ

  1. Babies Without Husbands: Unmarried Motherhood in 1960s British Fiction

FRAN BIGMAN

Part III

Consumers, Participants and Patients

  1. The Birth of the Pregnant Patient-Consumer? Payment, Paternalism and Maternity Hospitals in Early Twentieth-Century England

GEORGE CAMPBELL GOSLING

  1. “Closer Together”: Durex Condoms and Contraceptive Consumerism in 1970s Britain

BEN MECHEN

You can order the book from the Palgrave website.

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