Column: ‘I began to perceive I was with Child’: Pregnancy and Prostitution


The Early Modern Medicine blog — run by Perceptions of Pregnancy co-organiser Jennifer Evans — features a post today that will be of interest to those attending our conference. Sara Read writes on pregnancy and prostitution:

Professor David Lodge famously wrote that ‘Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way round’. This seems to be especially true of the erotic literature produced in Restoration England in which prostitute narratives are filled with sexual encounters but very few pregnancies. In the anonymous novel The London Jilt (1683), exotically subtitled, The Politick Whore Shewing the Artifices and Stratagems which the Ladies of Pleasure make use of for the Intreaguing and Decoying of Men, interwoven with Several Pleasant Stories of the Misses Ingenious Performances. The protagonist Cordelia has two pregnancies: one real and one feigned during the course of part one. This book was published at the height of what Roger Thompson has termed ‘the 1680s festival of filth’. Prostitute Cordelia, who narrates her own tale, tell us that she is most surprised to discover that she has fallen pregnant.

To read the post in full, visit the Early Modern Medicine blog.

Dr Read will be presenting on perceptions of miscarriages at our conference next month.  Join the conversation between 16 and 18 July by using the twitter hashtag #pregconf


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