Save the mothers? Representations of pregnancy in the 1930s

Hanson, Clare (2003) Save the mothers? Representations of pregnancy in the 1930s. Literature and History, 12, (2), 51-61.


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This article explores a range of representations of pregnancy in the context of the increasing importance of eugenic thought. Two major changes are identified in medical and popular discourses of pregnancy, both of which are linked with the rise of eugenics. The first of these is an increasing concern with the selection of mothers `fit' to breed, the second a shift of emphasis away from the health of the mother to that of the foetus. Both these shifts are related to the specifically British strand of eugenic thought which held that social class was heritable, the pauper class being (re)produced through the transmission of genetic flaws.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0306-1973 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Pregnancy, eugenics, class, 1930s
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > English
ePrint ID: 42143
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:14

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