BREAST PRACTICE

Alla pregiatissima Signora Domenica Schiavon Menato nella fausta occasione del suo primo parto, in argomento di sincera congratulazione l’amico obbligatissmo Antonio Gabaro. 

Padua, ‘Nella Tipografia del Seminario’, 1820. 

12mo, pp. 15, [1 (colophon)]; occasional light foxing, but a very good copy; pamphlet-stitched in contemporary blue wrappers; a few ink-spots to wrappers.

£380

Approximately:
US $484€446

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Alla pregiatissima Signora Domenica Schiavon Menato nella fausta occasione del suo primo parto, in argomento di sincera congratulazione l’amico obbligatissmo Antonio Gabaro. 

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First and only edition, very rare, of a scathing and sexist condemnation of ‘inhuman’ women who do not breastfeed their own children, dedicated to Domenica Schiavon Menato, ‘an example to all women’, on the occasion of the birth of her first child. 

Proudly attesting to having been nursed by his own mother, Gabaro considers passing a newborn to a wet nurse to be nothing short of ‘detestable abuse’ and an affront to nature, writing that ‘neither bear, tiger, nor any other cruel beast refuses to suckle its young’.  Gabaro refers to cultural mores around nursing in China, Scotland, and Sparta, and cites the authority of Gregory the Great, Aulus Gellius, Augustine, Virgil, Tasso, and Erasmus, ‘who, in one of his dialogues, calls those mothers who do not nurse their young doubly cruel: both to their children and to themselves’ (p. 11 trans.).  He does, however, pointedly exclude from his tirade those mothers who cannot nurse for medical reasons. 

The work is dedicated to Domenica Schiavon Menato, whose praiseworthy decision to nurse her child is sanctioned by ‘all of the most learned people’ and should serve as an example to other women. 

We have found only one other work by Gabaro, an 1826 Italian translation of Il giudizio di Paride di Coluto from the Greek. 

Not on OCLC or Library Hub; ICCU records a single copy, in Bologna. 

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