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150 Reviews manuscript material precisely because the printed edition is self-evidently a distortion of the medieval text' (p. 93); when he agrees with Cerquiglini that an edition ecranique would be useful, given the vast amount of detailed information incorporating the visual into a 'literary' view of manuscript texts (pp. 90, 95); when he speaks in such terms, Busby tenders his credentials as a new philologist (lower case) in his own right. For he is actively participating in the process of re-evaluating the relationship between authors, scribes, and editors which lies at the core of the current debate. Here, then, is the nebulous synthesis which this volume aims to achieve. On the whole, this book is hardly seminal, but it is historically interesting in the dubious validity it confers on the 'New Philology'. Bemadette A. Masters Department of French Studies University of Sydney Cadden, Joan, Meanings of sex difference in the Middle Ages: medicine, science, and culture, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993; cloth; pp. xii, 310; 7 illustrations; R.R.P. A U S $ 120.00. There is nothing oblique about this superb study. The medieval medical world was itself directly interested in the differences between women and men and, by examining how questions such as 'Which sex enjoys intercourse more?', 'What dispositions and behaviours distinguish a male from a female?', 'How can you have a son?', 'How can you distinguish a male from a female embryo?' were investigated and answered in the Middle Ages, Cadden explains what meaning sex difference had for those who asked and attempted to answer such questions. This study differs from Foucault's The history of sexuality in that he was not concerned with sex difference as such but predominantly with the history of male sexuality. Of course, in this regard Foucault is like many of the medieval authors treated by Cadden. Writers on anatomy dealt primarily with men's anatomy, and she acknowledges that men as subjects were conceptually central, primary and standard, and women marginal. But such conceptual dependence, once recognized, does not trivialize the investigation of sex difference and gender, but becomes itself a subject of investigation. More importantly, Cadden's work is also distinguished from Reviews 151 Thomas Laqueur's Making sex: body and gender from the Greeks to Freud. Laqueur argues that, until the eighteenth century, male and female were thought of as different manifestations of a single sexual substratum. Though there is much that supports his position, his 'one sex' model, Cadden thinks, cannot account for all the sources. Indeed the sort of ingenious reductivism aimed at by Laqueur is something she deliberately avoids, and she constantly points up the ways in which this history is one of diversity. Her anti-reductivist treatment of the sources enables her to draw without prejudice on the whole range of medieval opinions and arguments, making her book both fascinating simply as reportage, and authoritative as scholarship. What can be gleaned from the sources about 'the significance of the sense of the feminine and the masculine conveyed by medical and scientific sources' is wide for several reasons. First, because the relationships between medicine, natural philosophy, Christian theology and doctrine, secular social concerns, and other dimensions of the medieval world was, as Cadden shows, so conceptually dynamic. Partly this is because science was less isolated than it is today from other intellectual enterprises, and intellectual enterprises themselves were less isolated from the rest of the social world. But, secondly, the sources themselves derive from socially varied backgrounds. Though much of the study naturally concentrates on the Latin texts of learned m e n such as Albertus Magnus and the medical professor Bernard of Gordon, Hildegard of Bingen is also treated at length, and even the 'women of Salerno'. It is not surprising to learn that in the medieval world, as elsewhere, women were thought of as reproductively, physically, and intellectually weaker, more prone to disease and more susceptible to pleasure than men. But Cadden's is a fascinating study of how the sciences and proto sciences of the Middle Ages provided the mechanics of such ideas. Catherine Kovesi Killerby College of Arts and Sciences University of Notre Dame, Australia ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 150-151
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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