Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 9474
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Demaitre , Luke.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Domesticity in Middle Dutch "Secrets of Men and Women"
  • Source: Social History of Medicine 14, 1 (April 2001): Pages 1 - 25.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Domesticity Dutch Literature Dutch Translations of the Trotula and the Secreta Mulierum (Secrets of Women) Gynecology Man Woman Relationships Medicine Secrecy Sexuality
  • Geographic Area: Low Countries
  • Century: 14- 15
  • Related Resources:
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  • Table: One table. Table One Comparisons of three texts concerning the causes of miscarriage: "Secreta Mulierum" in Latin, "Der vrouwen heimelijcheit" in Dutch, and a fifteenth-century German translation. The author also includes an English translation of the Latin text.
  • Abstract: This is an introductory analysis of a group of Middle Dutch texts about the "Secrets" of female health and human procreation, which date from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Although at first sight little more than translations and adaptations of two Latin treatises widely known as "Trotula" and "Secreta mulierum," the texts afford glimpses of their cultural context. They reveal a variety of traits which converge on the ordinary home, rather than on the castle, church, or university. The notion of secrecy was not a mere cliché but connected, perhaps, more deeply than in other languages, with the intimacy of the family. In their phraseology as well as in their manipulations of the sources, by which they shaped the treatment of sexual issues, the writers appeared relatively unencumbered by gender polarities, heavy moralizing, and scholastic rationalization. They addressed women and men, not only readers but also illiterate listeners, and they seemed particularly attuned to the household both in the practicality of gynaecological guidelines and in the earthiness of sexological information. Many hints yield a cumulative impression--inviting further thought--that the Middle Dutch "Secrets" illuminate a special appreciation for the "domestic" values of sexual harmony, enjoyment, and privacy. [Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For more information, see the publisher's journal page].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Virginia, School of Medicine
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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