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By Clare Hanson

Hanson explores the various ways that being pregnant has been developed and interpreted in Britain during the last 250 years. Drawing on a variety of assets, together with obstetric texts, being pregnant recommendation books, literary texts, well known fiction and visible photos, she analyzes altering attitudes to key matters similar to the relative rights of mom and fetus and the measure to which scientific intervention is appropriate in being pregnant. Hanson additionally considers the consequences of scientific and social adjustments at the subjective adventure of pregnancy.

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How does Charlotte do? ’30 Her pregnancy progresses without any difficulties and she is eventually delivered of a son and heir, an event which is ‘very satisfactory’ to all concerned. While Charlotte waxes, however, Marianne wanes. After Willoughby’s rejection of her she descends into anorexia, which is described as a symptom of her ‘nervous irritability’ (p. 150). Her decline can be read as a kind of shadow or reverse-image of Mrs Palmer’s pregnancy. As Maud Ellmann has pointed out, many anorexics see food and impregnation as identical, for each involves the invasion of the body and a violation of self-identity.

E. the proposition that maternal emotions could affect the health of the developing child), they deployed the concept in their fiction to interrogate the contexts of such responsibility. Their fiction thus foregrounds the conditions under which a pregnant woman might come to suffer ‘excessive’ emotion, and often depicts the situation of the pregnant woman as an extreme case of the social and legal exploitation of all women. While women could at this time, exceptionally, have their property protected for their own use under the system of equity, the provisions of common law entailed the loss of a woman’s legal identity upon marriage.

21 None the less, when a year later she became involved with Gilbert Imlay and subsequently became pregnant with his child, she Advice to the Fair Sex 29 wrote miserably to him of what she saw as her own frequent yielding to sensibility and failure to control her emotions in pregnancy: It is time for me to grow more reasonable, a few more of these caprices of sensibility would destroy me. 22 Three days later, referring to the fact that she had allowed herself to be upset by Imlay’s coldness to her, she wrote that she had been ‘seriously alarmed and angry with myself, dreading continually the fatal consequence of my folly’ (p.

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