Laura J. McGough’s Gender, Sexuality, and Syphilis in Early Modern Venice opens immediately in the dawn of the 16th century, when France invaded Italy. This invasion brought diseases previously foreign to the area that immediately became linked to the French and the destruction of Italian institutions. McGough quickly defines the illness she will examine, which is not necessarily Syphilis as indicated in title. The disease is a more broadly encompassing ‘French disease’ and while frequently considered to be, it is too broad to claim that all cases were syphilis. This book endeavours to describe the social and cultural history of the French disease, and its’ endemic history. Inability to look at the entire situation means the French disease …show more content…
The focus remained on metertice and their role, as unmarried women were most heavily stigmatized for their relationships. This brings McGough to her second study in Chapter 2, looking at how gender affected perception and response to the French disease. (For men, some considered the French disease as a symbol of sexual success, however for the most part society accused diseased men as being undisciplined, unable to resist the temptation of the female body. It was widely understood that women were the cause and carriers of the disease, and able to inflict it upon men. The diseased women were portrayed as promiscuous, and usually beautiful according to folk myths that the disease arrived in the form of a beautiful prostitute, who slept with hundreds of French soldiers. In Chapter 3 stigma is further imposed, as the French disease becomes seemingly more treatable. This thrust the burden of stigma upon ‘incurable’ patients and McGough looks at several case studies to prove this. Incurable women were assumed to be continuing in sexual relations, and not serious about reform. Men occasionally looked for witchcraft as being the cause of incurable disease, or were blamed for continued sexuality and lack of discipline. This lead to differences in aid displayed in Chapter 4. Women were institutionalized to protect virginity or encourage repentance, while men had much more opportunities for medical care. Women’s institutions such as the
Through the study of the records of courts, both secular and ecclesiastical, which exists in thousands of European and American archives and libraries, a patient and careful researcher can reconstruct particular images of “the world we have lost” and of the people who inhabited that world. From this vast, largely untapped repository of judicial records, Gene Brucker uses the notarial protocols of Ser Filippo Mazzei, which contains the transcripts of the litigation in the archiepiscopal court and the catasto records, which provides information about Florentine households, to piece together the dossier of Giovanni and Lusanna. The story of Giovanni and Lusanna explores the love and marriage in renaissance Florence and uncovers the gradation of the city’s social hierarchy and the role of women in society.
The Courtier, originally written as a “courtesy book”, can now be considered to provide significant insight into the norms and practices associated with courtship and gender during the Renaissance era. The book’s third volume is a particularly insightful window into 16th century romantic ideals. Throughout Book Three, Baldassare Castiglione builds an elaborate perspective on what makes the perfect court lady, what sexual and social behavior is acceptable, and how an ideal couple (both courtier and court lady) should function.
During the Renaissance period, sexuality impacted how people, both men and women, were treated and how they behaved. The lives of women were completely defined by the ideals of sexuality that were enforced during that time. Every area of a woman’s life from birth was influenced by outside influences rather than by they themselves. It took a particular type of woman to break past the clearly defined description of what a “Renaissance woman” should be.
Prior to and throughout the late middle ages, women have been portrayed in literature as vile and corrupt. During this time, Christine de Pizan became a well educated woman and counteracted the previous notions of men’s slander against women. With her literary works, Pizan illustrated to her readers and women that though education they can aspire to be something greater than what is written in history. Through the use of real historical examples, Christine de Pizan’s, The Book of the City of Ladies, acts as a defense against the commonly perceived notions of women as immoral.
Throughout history, our society has created gender norms that are followed consistently by members of communities. Though they differ from place to place, we recognize trends that seem almost prescribed to certain genders. Specifically, in the 1600s, men and women had explicit roles that were designated by people of stature. These expectations were followed loyally and people who failed to follow suit were shunned or sometimes even suffered seriously punishment including crude public beatings that were mot only pain inflicting but also status damaging (Rocke, Gender and Sexual Culture, 159). Looking deeper into the novel The Return of Martin Guerre, we identify from the start the expectations that are in place and how they play a role in the story. In comparison of Characters, taking into consideration the standard that had been set for men of this era, we notice that Pansette (Arnaud du Tilh) is an almost faultless example of what is expected for men and in contrast, Martin Guerre fails to meet these standards.
A critical point in European history was the Renaissance period, which took place between 1300-1700. The term Renaissance stands for ‘rebirth’, and in this context refers to the increased interest that was taken in learning from Greek and Roman classical writing. Recent exploration by historians into the Renaissance period has seen a fixation on the discussion of the role of gender during the Renaissance. A variety of historians, such as Joan Kelly and Merry E. Weisner, believe that women didn’t experience any form of a Renaissance during this period. It can be widely acknowledged that during this period society did experience a ‘rebirth’, especially in terms of the role of the men in Europe. Women, on the other hand, weren’t as fortunate.
In Marchionne di Coppo di Stefano Buonaiuti’s, “Florentine Chronicle of Marchionne di Coppo di Stefano Buonaiuti, he provides first-hand documentation of the effect of the Black Plague in Florence, Italy. The muse for his inspiration to record this testimony on the matter, just three decades later, was an attempt to sway the Italian delegations when his political career ran into a predicament the time. In which, he enlightened upon how much the Black Plague shook the morals of the people and the effects. In his testimony, he describes how the act of abandonment became standard for kindred of the infected as shown in one quote from his document, “Sons abandoning fathers, husbands wives, wives husbands, one brother the other, one sister the other.”(Usher,
When the two station attendants try to exploit the men, McMurphy helps them gain the upper hand by posing as criminally insane (Fick). Even though the patients “become men”, adult sexuality is conspicuously absent from the novel. It is mainly the men’s cause to “remain boys on their own terms” (Fick par. 8). McMurphy’s women are boys’ companions. Candy and Sandy are good bad girls. “McMurphy’s sexuality complements a personal consistency that obliterates the distinction between past and present. Returning from the fishing trip, for example, he stops by his childhood house and tells the men of his own sexual initiation” (Fick par. 9).
Nonetheless, Europeans were hardly provided for the dreadful reality of the Black Death. “In men and women alike,” the Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio wrote, “at the beginning of the malady, certain swellings, either on the groin or under the armpits… waxed to the bigness of a common apple, others to the size of an egg, some more and some less, and these the vulgar named plague-boils.”
In Marguerite de Navarre's work The Heptameron, ten travelers share stories with each other while taking refuge in a monastery. Inspired by the work of Boccaccio, Marguerite’s work closely parallels the structure of The Decameron, but with three significant departures: within the group of travelers there is equal representation between men and women, the travelers promise each other to tell only true stories, and the travelers comment on the ethical ramifications of each story that is shared. Through these three stylistic departures from the traditional frame tale, Marguerite is able to challenge her audience with a distinctly proto-feminist dialogue. Because of her proto-feminist ideas, Marguerite and her self-inspired character Parlamente act as what Lewis Hyde would call a trickster, for as Hyde notes, “every group has its edge, its sense of in and out, and trickster is always there.” Within the context of gender roles and sexuality in Medieval European society, Marguerite is pushing against the edge of what is considered acceptable by casting an eye on the hypocrisy of her contemporary society’s view of adultery, making her a boundary crosser through her authorship. Specifically, by analyzing the consequences of adultery for men as opposed to the consequences for women, Marguerite’s trickster nature is revealed through her proto-feminist narrative as she points out the hypocrisy of traditional gender norms in regards to adultery.
Marie de France lived in a time when social graces were paramount to a good reputation, lordships and to securing good marriages. A woman was considered less valuable if she lost her virginity; a wife was subjected to her feudal lord, father, brother or son after her husband’s death. According to Angela Sandison’s article “The Role of Women in the Middle Ages”, this was because in the Middle Ages the Church and the aristocracy controlled public opinion and the legal system. These authorities of the times believed a woman’s place was in a submissive role to a man. In The Lay of the Nightingale, we will see how this social and religious hierarchy will impact the behaviors of the three people involved.
Sex is used in the novel as a representation of total freedom. Its exercise is almost always portrayed by McMurphy who, through his general demeanor and newness to the hospital, is the most free, sexually, of any of the men. He is so free, that it has gotten him into trouble as he only seems to be able to act on impulse. Society is not able to deal with his complete abandon and he is eventually punished for it by having a piece of his brain removed. The rest of the men are all repressed mostly due to some problem they’ve had with the women in their lives. In fact, it is their inability to deal with women that brought them to the hospital in the first place. Women are portrayed throughout the book as the root of all men’s problems. Nurse Ratched is the penultimate figure of sexual repression. She does not acknowledge her femininity but hides it successfully, but for her bosom, beneath her sterile, pressed uniform. She is cold toward the men offering no real compassion and serves only to aggravate the men’s issues with women in general. Her power is finally stripped from her, quite literally, when McMurphy rips open her uniform revealing her breasts, the symbol of femininity; she is a woman after all.
Although it is easily preventable, over 36,000 cases of syphilis are reported annually in the United States alone (“STD Facts-Syphilis” 2010). Treponema pallidum is the bacterium that causes syphilis. Being one of the most common STDs, syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease that acts quite differently from the other common STDs because it acts in stages. Fortunately, there are antibiotics to cure syphilis; however, there are not cures for the other health related problems that it causes.
With each letter in Les Liaisons dangereuses, Choderlos de Laclos advances a great many games of chess being played simultaneously. In each, the pieces—women of the eighteenth-century Parisian aristocracy—are tossed about mercilessly but with great precision on the part of the author. One is a pawn: a convent girl pulled out of a world of simplicity and offered as an entree to a public impossible to sate; another is a queen: a calculating monument to debauchery with fissures from a struggle with true love. By examining their similarities and differences, Laclos explores women’s constitutions in a world that promises ruin for even the most formidable among them. Presenting the reader glimpses of femininity from a young innocent’s daunting debut to a faithful woman’s conflicted quest for heavenly virtue to another’s ruthless pursuit of vengeance and earthly pleasures, he insinuates the harrowing journey undertaken by every girl as she is forced to make a name for herself as a woman amongst the tumult of a community that machinates at every turn her downfall at the hands of the opposite sex. In his careful presentation of the novel’s female characters, Laclos condemns this unrelenting subjugation of women by making clear that every woman’s fate in such a society is a definitive and resounding checkmate.