APHRODISIACS, FOX GENITALS, AND RECOVERING LOST VIRGINITY

‘De morbis mulierum’. 

Italy, 1779.

Manuscript on paper, in Latin, small 4to (21 x 15.5 cm), pp. [77], neatly written in black ink in a single hand, c. 25 lines per page, dated 1779 at end; some marginal damp staining and light foxing; well preserved in recent half vellum and marbled paper over stiff boards.

£950

Approximately:
US $1059€1080

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A most interesting unpublished manuscript on diseases in women, examining their causes, symptoms, and cure. 

The anonymous author discusses interrupted menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea, anaemia, hypersexuality, hysteria, uterine inflammation and cancer, hydrometra, and prolapse of the uterus and vagina.  The text also examines sterility, pregnancy, difficult births, postnatal illness, and inflammation of the breasts, ending with a postscript on recovering one’s lost virginity. 

Along the way the reader learns that hypersexuality can be prompted by chocolate, coffee, or reading poetry; that some women wear dried fox genitals around their neck to ward off hysteria; and that female sterility can be caused by a wife hating her husband.  In addition to ancient authorities including Hippocrates and Galen, the author refers to more contemporary physicians, such as Lorenz Heister, Andrea Pasta, Lazare Rivière, Richard Mead, Samuel-Auguste Tissot, and Herman Boerhaave. 

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