Skip to main content
Thumbnail for Mother : an unconventional history

Mother : an unconventional history

Knott, Sarah2019
What was mothering like in the past? When acclaimed historian Sarah Knott became pregnant, she asked herself this question. But accounts of motherhood are hard to find. For centuries, historians have concerned themselves with wars, politics and revolutions, not the everyday details of carrying and caring for a baby. These details matter: they shape our feelings and give structure to our hours. But they leave little historical trace. Much to do with becoming a mother, past or present, is lost or forgotten. Using the arc of her own experience, from miscarriage to the birth and early babyhood of her two children, Sarah Knott explores the ever-changing habits and experiences of motherhood across the ages. Drawing on a disparate collection of fascinating material - interrupted letters, hastily written diary entries, a line from a court record or a figure in a painting - Mother vividly brings to life the lost stories of ordinary women. From the labour pains felt by a South Carolina field slave to the triumphant smile of a royal mistress pregnant with a king's first son; from a 1950s suburban housewife to a working-class East Ender taking her baby to the factory; from a Pioneer with eight children to a 1970s feminist debating whether to have any; these remarkable tales of mothering create a moving depiction of an endlessly various human experience.
Main title:
London : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2019.
xv, 336 pages ; 21 cm.
Simultaneously published in the USA by Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019 with the title of: "Mother is a verb".Includes bibliographical references and index.
Machine generated contents note: 1.Mothering by Numbers -- 2.Generation -- 3.Finding Out -- 4.Week Ten, or Eight Weeks Gone -- 5.Quickening -- 6.The Rising of the Apron -- 7.This Giving Birth -- 8.Hello, You -- 9.Tears and Anecdotes -- 10.Staying the Month -- 11.Damp Cloth -- 12.Time, Interrupted -- 13.The Middle of the Night -- 14.Pent Milk -- 15.Uncertainty, or a Thought Experiment -- 16.Queer Ideas at the Clinic -- 17.Back and Forth -- 18.Paper Flowers -- 19.An Oak Dolly Tub -- 20.Yard Baby, Lap Baby -- 21.Navigating the Times.
978024119860597802411986299780241972755 (invalid)
Dewey class:
View my active saved list
0 items in my active saved list