English midwife who was the first to author a text for the instruction of other english midwives, entitled the midwives book, or the whole art of midwifery discovered. When a new baby was expected in the village, the midwife helped it into the world. Drawing on works by her male contemporaries and weaving together medical information and lively anecdotes, she produces a book that is instructive, accessible, witty, and constantly surprising. The name is innocuous enough, but this seventeenthcentury midwife was undeniably a pioneer of womens involvement in the dissemination of printed textual knowledge concerning obstetrics and the practice of midwifery in the seventeenth century. Jane sharp was a midwife in the 1600s who wrote one of the bestknown english textbooks on midwifery. Although jane sharp published her the midwives book in 1671, it re mains a fresh and engaging work. Nothing is known about jane sharp other than what she wrote in her book. The midwifes apprentice karen cushman winner of the newbery medal. Or the whole art of midwifry discovered women writers in english 501850 1st edition. The midwifery texts, if used, probably included jane sharps the midwives book of 1761 and one written almost a century later by another famous british mid wife, elizabeth nihell, a treatise on the art of mid wifery. Jane sharps the midwives book offers her sisters, medical men, young maids and their beaus, and england at large a powerful feminized vision of midwifery tradition. Since sharps book was published in london, we might also conclude that her work was londonbased, though in her entry on sharp in the oxford dictionary of national biography, ornella moscucci notes that some of sharps westcountry phrases suggest that sharp may not have been from london at all, and may instead have been from. When midwife jane sharp wrote the midwives book in 1671, she became the first british woman to publish a midwifery manual.
The midwives book, or, the whole art of midwifry discovered directing childbearing women how to behave themselves in their. The midwifes apprentice is a historical fiction about a young, abandoned, povertystricken girl who finds herself apprenticed to a harsh midwife after the midwife, jane sharp, finds her huddled in a dung heap and recognizes the girls smarts and. In return for her labor, beetle receives scraps of food and a place to sleep. The midwives book or the whole art of midwifery discovered by jane sharp, edited by elaine hobby. What is particularly interesting about jane sharp s midwives book 1671 is that it both provides a compendium of current beliefs concerning reproduction, and indicates the authors ironic perception of the misogyny that underpinned accepted ideas about the female reproductive body. Birdy, her first book, which was runnerup for the 1995 newbery medal and. Brat calls the midwife jane sharp, because she has a sharp nose and a sharp glance. Beetle would not have been able to read them even if she could.
Her book is the swaddling, and, finally, the act of swaddling represents how sharps text rhetorically molds and shapes midwifery. The midwifes apprentice questions and answers discover the community of teachers, mentors and students just like you that can answer any question you might have on the midwifes. Get a printable copy pdf file of the complete article 393k, or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Elaine hobby has given us all a wonderful gift by providing us with a modern edition of the first english midwifery manual written by a woman. The midwives book or the whole art of midwifry discovered. Because of the womans sharp nose and sharp glance, beetle always thought of her as jane sharp. It provided a muchneeded female voice in what had been a maledominated area of writing. Midwifery manuals and the history of pregnancy advice. The exact date and place of jane sharp s birth is unknown. Auto suggestions are available once you type at least 3 letters.
Twice the midwife refused to come to laboring mothers who had nothing to pay and so the unfortunate women had to bring forth their babies with none but a neighbour to help. When the midwife jane sharp wrote the midwives book in 1671, she became. As she helps the sharptempered jane deliver babies, bratwho renames herself alycegains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life. Karen cushman likes to write with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, and her feisty female characters firmly planted in history. While sharps text is addressed to her midwife read more.
A note on the seventeenthcentury midwife jane sharp. The name is innocuous enough, but this seventeenthcentury midwife was undeniably a pioneer of womens involvement in the dissemination of printed textual knowledge. Like her awardwinning book catherine, called birdy, the story takes place in medieval england. The midwives book, by jane sharp, published in 1671, is discussed in this episode of secrets of the archives from the university of minnesota libraries.
The midwives book or the whole art of midwifery discovered. Jane sharp s the midwives book offers her sisters, medical men, young maids and their beaus, and england at large a powerful feminized vision of midwifery tradition. On an icy winter night in an isolated house in rural vermont, a seasoned midwife. Full text full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. The midwives book, or, the whole art of midwifry discovered directing childbearing women how to behave themselves in their conception, breeding, bearing, and nursing of children in six books, viz. So beetle, as she is now called, becomes her apprentice, soaking up the schooling that jane provides. In the midwifes apprentice, which earned the 1996 newbery medal, this makes a winning combination for children and adult readers alike. The author was jane sharp, a practitioner in the art of midwifery for over 30 years. Or the whole art of midwifry discovered women writers in english 501850 1st edition by jane sharp author, elaine hobby editor. The midwives book paperback jane sharp oxford university. The midwives book, or, the whole art of midwifry discovered. From the author of catherine, called birdy comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval england. Alyce knocked at the midwifes door, surprised at how the french roseshad grown since last she was there.
The exact date and place of jane sharps birth is unknown. When in 1671 mrs jane sharp published the midwives book the first english manual for midwives written by a woman the genre was already. When the midwife jane sharp wrote the midwives book in 1671, she became the first british woman to publish a midwifery manual. Jane sharp, the midwives book or the whole art of midwifry discovered, edited by elaine hobby, new york and oxford, oxford university press, 1999, pp. Drawing on works by male contemporaries and weaving together medical information and lively anecdote, she produced a lively book that is. When the midwife jane sharp wrote the midwives book in 1671, she became the. The midwife calls her beetle and takes her in to work as her servant. The girl known only as brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets jane the midwife and becomes her apprentice. From the day back in the 60s when sibyl danforth stepped forward in an emergency to help a pregnant friend give birth, she fell in love with. A contemporary classic that has sold more than two million copies and was a selection of oprahs original book club, midwives is a compulsively readable novel that explores questions of human responsibility that are as fundamental to our society now as they were when the book was first published twenty years ago. Hobbys carefully annotated edition is far superior to the. Directing childbearing women how to behave themselves london, 1671. However, her words allow us to partially enter not only the world of this extraordinary, erudite, professional woman, but. Little is known about the life of 17th century midwife, jane sharp, but her book on pregnancy and childbirth was nothing short of groundbreaking.
I know about babies and birthing, singing songs andcooking chickens, crying and laughing and reading. Catherine morphis university of texas, arlington in 1671, when jane sharp published the midwives book, she became the first english woman to trespass upon the maledominated world of medical publication. Mary fissell elaine hobby has given us all a wonderful gift by providing us with a modern edition of the. Join facebook to connect with jane sharp and others you may know. Women writers in english 50 1850, and edited by elaine hobby.
That woman, jane sharp, happens to be the midwife of the area, plying her craft with herbs and drawing on vast experience delivering babies. Because of her sharp nose and sharp glance, beetle always thought of her as. She published the first wellknown textbook on midwifery, the midwives book. Jane sharp practitioner in the art of midwifry above thirty years. What is particularly interesting about jane sharps midwives book 1671 is that it both provides a compendium of current beliefs concerning reproduction, and indicates the authors ironic perception of the misogyny that underpinned accepted ideas about the female reproductive body.1044 359 692 545 795 1161 769 113 480 330 1299 358 1586 202 930 922 538 19 337 619 893 1360 1608 119 154 596 820 420 1341 1497 1276 210 1528 1567 529 1476 993 1253 1409 1094 100 1364