Mary Fissell will give the Brownell Lecture at the University of Iowa, at their Center for the History of the Book:

“Making Babies: A Look at an Early Sex Manual”

Thu, 11/05/2015 – 7:30pm

Aristotle’s Masterpiece was the bestselling book about making babies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from the late 17th to the early 20th century—but the book isn’t by Aristotle, and it’s not usually considered a masterpiece. First printed in London in 1684, it became a steady seller, going into hundreds of editions in Britain and America. The book provided basic information about sex, pregnancy, childbirth, and infant care to generations of readers, and because it was so popular, references to it abound in the historical record. In this talk, Prof. Mary Fissell explores some of the reasons for the book’s long-lived success, and tells stories about individual readers of the text.