How To Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians

Paperback

byRudolph M. Bell

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How to Do It shows us sixteenth-century Italy from an entirely new perspective: through manuals which were staples in the households of middlebrow Italians merely trying to lead better lives. Addressing challenges such as how to conceive a boy, the manuals offered suggestions such as tying a tourniquet around your husband's left testicle. Or should you want to goad female desires, throw 90 grubs in a liter of olive oil, let steep in the sun for a week and apply liberally on the male anatomy. Bell's journey through booklets long dismissed by scholars as being of little literary value gives us a refreshing and surprisingly fun social history.

"Lively and curious reading, particularly in its cascade of anecdote, offered in a breezy, cozy, journalistic style." —Lauro Martines, Times Literary Supplement

"[Bell's] fascinating book is a window on a lost world far nearer to our own than we might imagine. . . . How pleasant to read his delightful, informative and often hilarious book." —Kate Saunders, The Independent

"An extraordinary work which blends the learned with the frankly bizarre." —The Economist

"Professor Bell has a sly sense of humor and an enviably strong stomach. . . . He wants to know how people actually behaved, not how the Church or philosophers or earnest humanists thought they should behave. I loved this book." —Christopher Stace, Daily Telegraph

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How to Do It shows us sixteenth-century Italy from an entirely new perspective: through manuals which were staples in the households of middlebrow Italians merely trying to lead better lives. Addressing challenges such as how to conceive a boy, the manuals offered suggestions such as tying a tourniquet around your husband's left testic...

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How to Do It shows us sixteenth-century Italy from an entirely new perspective: through manuals that were staples in the households of middlebrow Italians merely trying to lead better lives. Addressing various challenges such as how to conceive a boy, or what to do should you want to goad female (or male) desires, these booklets give u...

Rudolph M. Bell is a professor of history at Rutgers University. His previous books include Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom, 1000-1700 and Holy Anorexia, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:389 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226042006

ISBN - 13:9780226042008

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1. Readers
2. Conception
Boy or Girl
Frequency of Intercourse
Positions during Intercourse
Setting
Male Impotence
Infertility in Women
Menstruation
Are You Pregnant?
3. Pregnancy and Childbirth
Boy or Girl?
Maybe Twins?
Due Date
Miscarriage
Diet and Daily Activity
Midwives
Anatomy
Labor
Postpartum Care
4. Raising Your Child
Nursing: Who Should Do It?
Nursing: How to Do It
Child Rearing: Physical Health
Child Rearing: Good Character
Children's Books
5. Adolescence
Who Was an Adolescent?
The Sins of Adolescence
Making Fun
Choosing a Spouse
6. Marital Relations
From the Humanists
From the Church
From the Gentlemen
Widows
7. Then and Now
Female Authorship
The Internet
Notes
Index