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The hospital as scene of childbirth

Abstract : Up until the 20th century, childbirth as an event was rarely represented in literature. Because it was so closely related to sex, as well as female bodily functions, it was confined to ellipsis or metaphor. But with the emergence of autobiographical expression from female writers, it started being represented in the first person. This coincided with the evolution of chilbirth practices and the medicalisation of the event. The scene of birth now happens at hospital, which has replaced the home as the place where babies get born. As a result, the representation of chilbirth is deeply linked with the hospital and its attending ideology: the superiority of medical knowledge, the power play between the mother-to-be and the medical staff, the intrusion of the male gaze, etc. Using the works of Adrienne Rich, Rachel Cusk, Maggie Nelson and others, I will try and study the effect that the hospital as a place and as an ideology has had over the representation of childbirth in self-life-writing by women.
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Contributor : Alice Braun Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 12:47:38 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 3:24:02 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03592490, version 1


Alice Braun. The hospital as scene of childbirth. Congress of the European Society for the Study of English, Aug 2021, Lyon, France. ⟨hal-03592490⟩



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