by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, 1726
Book Condition : Good
Leiden : Chez Theodore Haak, 1726. Wear to extremities and light soiling, as seen in photos, Binding: tight and secure vellum binding. Set complete with all 1350 pages; plus indexes, prefaces, and such. Size: ~7in X 4.25in (18cm x 11cm)
French work. Full title : “Sur la noblesse, & excellence du sexe feminin, de sa preeminence sur l’autre sexe, & du sacrement du mariage : avec le traittè Sur l’incertitude, aussi bien que la vanitè des sciences & des arts : ouvrage joli, & d’une lecture tout a fait agreable”
“Originally published in 1529, the Declamation on the Preeminence and Nobility of the Female Sex argues that women are more than equal to men in all things that really matter, including the public spheres from which they had long been excluded. Rather than directly refuting prevailing wisdom, Agrippa uses women’s superiority as a rhetorical device and overturns the misogynistic interpretations of the female body in Greek medicine, in the Bible, in Roman and canon law, in theology and moral philosophy, and in politics. He raised the question of why women were excluded and provided answers based not on sex but on social conditioning, education, and the prejudices of their more powerful oppressors.”
Indeed, Stenton (p. 127) calls this “the first modern treatise designed to prove the excellence of the female sex .” Erdmann quotes Wood: “By presenting the extreme notion that women are superior to men, Agrippa seriously undermined established notions about the relationship between the sexes. While it would be anachronistic to attribute twentieth-century views to a sixteenth century scholar, Agrippa’s strong support of women and his belief in their inherent abilities make him a kindred spirit of those in our era who continue to struggle against forces that suppress women”. “His work became a classic quoted by seventeenth-century English writers in behalf of women . Agrippa’s treatise has been described as `a monument of varied learning.'”Agrippa “was to a large extent a dabbler and trifler who did not adhere to any given interest for long, just as he did not stay in any one place. Except that always he kept coming back to occult science. Even in De incertitudine he gives information and reveals his knowledge of the field of occult science, devoting a score of its 85 chapters to occult arts and listing past writers on such subjects as chiromancy and natural science,” -Thorndike V, 133..