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Women's Secrets
A Translation of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus' De Secretis Mulierum with Commentaries
Women's Secrets
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Helen Rodnite Lemay - Author
SUNY series in Medieval Studies
Hardcover - 200 pages
Release Date: October 1992
ISBN10: 0-7914-1143-5
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-1143-8

Out of Print
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 200 pages
Release Date: October 1992
ISBN10: 0-7914-1144-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-1144-5

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Women's Secrets provides the first modern translation of the notorious treatise De secretis mulierum, popular throughout the late middle ages and into modern times. The Secrets deals with human reproduction and was written to instruct celibate medieval monks on the facts of life and some of the ways of the universe. However, the book had a much more far-reaching influence. Lemay shows how its message that women were evil, lascivious creatures built on the misogyny of the work's Aristotelian sources and laid the groundwork for serious persecution of women.

Both the content of the treatise and the reputation of its author (erroneously believed to be Albertus Magnus) inspired a few medieval scholars to compose lengthy commentaries on the text, substantial selections from which are included, providing further evidence of how medieval men interpreted science and viewed the female body.

"The book is to be commended for making accessible an extremely influential medieval and Renaissance text." -- Linda Ehrsam Voigts, University of Missouri-Kansas City

"This is a smooth translation of an interesting and significant document. The introductory material is of high quality; Lemay is well aware of the interplay between philosophers and medical writers on a number of issues." --A. Synan, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the University of Toronto

Helen Rodnite Lemay is Associate Professor of History at State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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Table of Contents



Authors, Dates of Composition, and the Text
Human Generation
The Secrets of Women

De Secretis Mulierum (On the Secrets of Women)


I: On the Generation of the Embryo
II: On the Formation of the Fetus
III: Concerning the Influence of the Planets
IV: On the Generation of Imperfect Animals
V: On the Exit of the Fetus from the Uterus
VI: Concerning Monsters in Nature
VII: On the Signs of Conception
VIII: On the Signs of Whether a Male or Female Is in the Uterus
IX: On the Signs of Corruption of Virginity
X: On the Signs of Chastity
XI: Concerning a Defect of the Womb
XII: Concerning Impediments to Conception
[XIII]Last: On the Generation of the Sperm




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