The Birth of Mankind: Otherwise Named, the Woman's Book

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Between 1540 and 1654, The Byrth of Mankynde was a huge commercial success. Offering information on fertility, pregnancy, birth, and infant care, and written in a chatty, colloquial style, it influenced most other literary works of the period bearing on sex, reproduction, and childcare. Until now, this important text has been unavailable except for a microfilm of the 1654 edition. For this new annotated edition of the 1560 version, Elaine Hobby has modernized the spelling and included informative notes. In her critical introduction, she not only traces the development of the book from its German origins, but also shows how early-modern ideas about the reproductive process combined ancient, medieval, and contemporary conceptions. Combining editorial rigour with a concern for the needs of the informed non-specialist, Hobby has made available a text that will be useful to scholars and students in a range of academic disciplines, including literature, history, and women's studies.