Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3320
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Green , Monica H.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Hard-Core Philology: Notes from the Trenches of the History of Women's Medicine
  • Source: Seeing Gender: Perspectives on Medieval Gender and Sexuality. Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, King's College, London, January 4-6, 2002.. 2002.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Gender Gynecology Medicine Philology
  • Geographic Area:
  • Century:
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Over the course of the last twenty years, I have been working to reconstruct the corpus of medieval gynecological literature.* Although trained as a historian of science (and so with an emphasis on intellectual and cultural history), I have spent most of these years doing philological “excavation” work: delineating a corpus of close to 175 different medieval texts on women’s medicine, two-thirds of which have never been edited or studied in any way. This paper will summarize some of the general findings of these researches. More importantly, it will argue why, far from being an indulgence in technical medievalist obscurantism, philological analysis is indispensable if we are to reclaim these texts for the study of medieval notions of gender and sexuality. From the problem of authorial sex to questions of gendered audiences, from issues of women’s morbidity to paranoias about the sexual and generative powers of the female body, medical and natural philosophical texts are our most important resource for reconstructing this history. Yet until we have a firm grasp on the genesis of these texts as texts, we run the risk of misconstruing and overgeneralizing from a handful of perhaps unrepresentative and poorly edited works. A reconceived philology – one that both searches for an Urtext and celebrates the mouvance of later forms of the text – can yield for us a highly dynamic picture of the ways in which gender was continually being remapped onto the sexed female body. *General surveys of these findings can be found in Monica H. Green, Women’s Healthcare in the Medieval West: Texts and Contexts, Variorum Collected Studies Series, CS680 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000); and Monica H. Green, ed. & trans., The “Trotula”: A Medieval Compendium of Women’s Medicine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001). [Reproduced by permission of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
  • Author's Affiliation: Harvard University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: