How to Do It

How to Do It

4.11 - 1251 ratings - Source

How to Do It shows us sixteenth-century Italy from an entirely new perspective: through manuals which were staples in the households of middlebrow Italians merely trying to lead better lives. Addressing challenges such as how to conceive a boy, the manuals offered suggestions such as tying a tourniquet around your husband's left testicle. Or should you want to goad female desires, throw 90 grubs in a liter of olive oil, let steep in the sun for a week and apply liberally on the male anatomy. Bell's journey through booklets long dismissed by scholars as being of little literary value gives us a refreshing and surprisingly fun social history. qLively and curious reading, particularly in its cascade of anecdote, offered in a breezy, cozy, journalistic style.q a€”Lauro Martines, Times Literary Supplement q[Bell's] fascinating book is a window on a lost world far nearer to our own than we might imagine. . . . How pleasant to read his delightful, informative and often hilarious book.q a€”Kate Saunders, The Independent qAn extraordinary work which blends the learned with the frankly bizarre.q a€”The Economist qProfessor Bell has a sly sense of humor and an enviably strong stomach. . . . He wants to know how people actually behaved, not how the Church or philosophers or earnest humanists thought they should behave. I loved this book.q a€”Christopher Stace, Daily TelegraphOther prescriptions provide fascinating glimpses into the writing and reading habits of a burgher wife. ... a€œWhat is built in a year of reading good books crumbles in a week of reading bad onesa€ (144) , so stay away from love stories and battle epics. ... On this lugubrious note, his comportment manual for Delia ends, to be shared with other newly married women in a 1 583 ... whatever you allow, do not let her stop off at your childa#39;s godfather so she can cuckold you in the Boccaccio style.

Title:How to Do It
Author:Rudolph M. Bell
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2000-09-01


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