"Sucking the Corrupte Mylke of an Infected Nurse": regulating the dangerous maternal body
2015 (English)In: Journal of Gender Studies, ISSN 0958-9236, E-ISSN 1465-3869, Vol. 24, no 5, 574-586 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Drawing on medieval medical encyclopaedias, early modern and Victorian advice books, as well as twentieth scientific advice to mothers, and linking them to present-day mothering discourse in the media, this article discusses cultural attitudes towards breast-milk and nursing mothers. The texts present a paradox in that while breast-milk is claimed as the best food for an infant, and mothers who choose not to nurse are vilified, it is simultaneously discussed as a potential poison and corrupting agent. I argue that the fear of breast-milk is a symptom of a cultural anxiety that periodically resurfaces, constructing the maternal body as threat to the infant, a threat that must be controlled and contained.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015. Vol. 24, no 5, 574-586 p.
breast-milk, breastfeeding, medieval, early modern, Victorian
General Literature Studies
Research subject Literature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93555DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2013.861347ISI: 000361479800008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-93555DiVA: diva2:749548