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Hippocrates' Woman: Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece [Paperback]

Helen King
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 12, 1998 0415138957 978-0415138956
Hippocrates' Woman demonstrates the role of Hippocratic ideas about the female body in the subsequent history of western gynaecology. It examines these ideas not only in the social and cultural context in which they were first produced, but also the ways in which writers up to the Victorian period have appealed to the material in support of their own theories.
Among the conflicting tange of images of women given in the Hippocratic corpus existed one tradition of the female body which says it is radically unlike the male body, behaving in different ways and requiring a different set of therapies. This book sets this model within the context of Greek mythology, especially the myth of Pandora and her difference from men, to explore the image of the body as something to be read.
Hippocrates' Woman presents an arresting study of the origins of gynaecology, an exploration of how the interior workings of the female body were understood and the influence of Hippocrates' theories on the gynaecology of subsequent ages.

Frequently Bought Together

Hippocrates' Woman: Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece + Hippocratic Writings (Penguin Classics) + Soranus' Gynecology
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Editorial Reviews


'King's eye for detail turns an intellectual feast into scintillating entertainment.' - Times Literary Supplement

'This is a fine contribution which is interesting whether approached from a localised interest in the history of science or from a broader concern with gender and social change.' - London Review of Books

'King provides a scholarly elucidation of the central importance of social and cultural factors in shaping medical practice and, conversely of medical practice in shaping the very definition - and experience - of what it is to be human.' - Sibyl

'It will nevertheless appeal to...medical historians and in particular to those wiith an interest in Women's Studies.' - C F Salazar, University of Cambridge

About the Author

Helen King is Lecturer in the Departments of Classics and History at the University of Reading. She is a co-author of Hysteria Beyond Freud (1993).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (November 12, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415138957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415138956
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,037,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I studied Ancient History and Social Anthropology at UCL, graduating in 1980. I gained my doctorate in 1985 with a thesis on ancient Greek concepts of menstruation, and have continued to work on ancient medicine and its cultural context, while also exploring the reception of ancient medical ideas about the female body, menstruation and birth up to the nineteenth century. It still amazes me that ancient ideas about women survived for so long, despite changes elsewhere in how the body was understood. I have held research fellowships in Cambridge and Newcastle, worked for 8 years in Liverpool, and then for 14 years at the University of Reading. In 2011 I became Professor of Classical Studies at the Open University. I've been a visiting lecturer at Mount Allison University, University of Victoria BC, and University of Texas, as well as a Fellow at the Netherland Institute for Advanced Studies. In addition to my 'day job', I am a Visiting Professor at the Peninsula Medical School, where I teach the history of dissection to medical students.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well researched but a chore to read May 17, 2000
Helen King presents us with a vast array of evidence about women and medicine and the use of the body in the ancient Greek world. However, she moves beyond the title of her piece and that is when the book loses focus and becomes difficult to follow. This is not a book for the layperson regardless of this, it requires a basic understanding of at least ancient Greek society and better yet some medical or gender studies background.
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