Lisa Wynne Smith
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The multiple meanings of an eighteenth-century account of a Caesarean operation
in Early Modern Ireland and the world of medicine
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This chapter comprises a microhistory of the birth of a stone child, or lithopaedion, to Sarah McKinna in Co. Tyrone in the 1730s. It draws upon a number of contemporary reports, including those sent by John Copping from the north of Ireland to Hans Sloane and the Royal Society in London. The chapter carefully situates the episode in the difficult contemporary contexts provided by the occurrence of famine and the operation of the Penal Laws. It also sensitively reconstructs the roles of gender, social status and other factors in shaping the multiple meanings attached to McKinna’s experience.

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