Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Sally Frampton
    Pages 1-20 Open Access
  3. Sally Frampton
    Pages 21-47 Open Access
  4. Sally Frampton
    Pages 49-91 Open Access
  5. Sally Frampton
    Pages 93-130 Open Access
  6. Sally Frampton
    Pages 131-170 Open Access
  7. Sally Frampton
    Pages 171-212 Open Access
  8. Sally Frampton
    Pages 213-220 Open Access
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 221-267

About this book


This open access book looks at the dramatic history of ovariotomy, an operation to remove ovarian tumours first practiced in the early nineteenth century. Bold and daring, surgeons who performed it claimed to be initiating a new era of surgery by opening the abdomen. Ovariotomy soon occupied a complex position within medicine and society, as an operation which symbolised surgical progress, while also remaining at the boundaries of ethical acceptability. This book traces the operation’s innovation, from its roots in eighteenth-century pathology, through the denouncement of those who performed it as ‘belly-rippers’, to its rapid uptake in the 1880s, when ovariotomists were accused of over-operating. Throughout the century, the operation was never a hair’s breadth from controversy.


ovaries surgery medicine innovation doctor gender nineteenth century ethics human body open access

Authors and affiliations

  • Sally Frampton
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EnglishUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-78610-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-78934-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site