ENGL 2000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Conduct Book, Fetus

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5 Feb 2017
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Text and Context #2
How the Good Wife Taught the Daughter: common peoples conduct book
- Conduct books were very important in the Middle Ages
- Translated into vernacular English by Trevisa
Trevisa acknowledges different stages of childhood
1. Infancia: time of nourishment and “softkeeping”
- When child (infant) does not speak
- No teeth are present
2. Puercia: 7 14 years old
- Tender age
3. Adholoscencia: adolescent
- 14 20 years of age
o Sometimes dragged on past 20 if parents allow it
Human children were thought to be made via different means than animals
- Because man is held to a higher standard
- Mother is gentle while father is stern
o Mother is matter, father is nature
Mother in Latin is ‘matter’ so therefore mother is the matter (or flesh)
Father provides the spirit (animating part)
If a child is born with deformities the mother is blamed
- Term “bad blood”
o Thought that the mothers blood that fed the fetus also fed the baby when it was
breast fed
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