Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
"Sucking the Corrupte Mylke of an Infected Nurse": regulating the dangerous maternal body
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7243-0059
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
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
breast-milk, breastfeeding, medieval, early modern, Victorian
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93555DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2013.861347ISI: 000361479800008OAI: diva2:749548
Available from: 2014-09-24 Created: 2014-09-24 Last updated: 2015-10-20Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(313 kB)39 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 313 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Åström, Berit
By organisation
Department of language studies
In the same journal
Journal of Gender Studies
General Literature Studies

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 43 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 112 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link