"A Midwife's Tale" on PBS
Posted by Carolyn B on December 31, 1997 at 22:39:08:
I wasn't sure whether to post this the Library board or on VirtViews so I'm doing both. (It's a book - it's a movie- it's both!)
On January 19th on most PBS stations, The American Experience will be showing the docudrama "A Midwife's Tale" based on Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Pulitzer-prize winning history "A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary 1785-1812. (Same time period as JA but rather different social setting: US/Maine.)
I have not seen this film but I have read the book, as well as Ulrich's earlier work "Goodwives" about women in Colonial New England, and I recommend them to anyone interested in the everyday life of women in this time period. ( I will warn readers that while Ulrich writes much more accessible histories, they are still academic works, not novels, and do take a little more effort to read.)
For "A Midwife's Tale," Ulrich researched a long overlooked document, the daily diary of a midwife and healer, and analyzed it in detail, finding clues from other sources to develop a very vivid picture of this woman's life. Apparently the film intercuts re-enactments of Ballard's life with a documentary treatment of Ulrich's research. Ulrich now teaches history at the University of New Hampshire but I think she started working on her PhD later in life after doing the mom/housewife thing, and she brings an understanding of women's routine to her research that the average male historian cannot (no offense, guys!)
Anyway, I was very excited to see this is airing, and I thought others here might be interested as well! (After this rave for something I have not yet seen, I hope it's good) Happy New Year!
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