ReViews: Restoring Nudity,BAR 40:03.



For a more expansive discussion, see chapter 12, “The First Lady,” in my book, What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden? (New Haven, CT and London: Yale Univ. Press, 2013).


Alan Dundes, “Couvade in Genesis,” in I. Ben-Ami and J. Dan, eds., Studies in Aggadah and Jewish Folklore, Folklore Research Center Studies VII (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1983), pp. 35–53 (see in particular pp. 47–53). Full disclosure: In the late 1960s, while a graduate student at Berkeley, I sat in irregularly on two of Dundes’s courses: “Introduction to Folklore” and “Fairy-Tales.”


Reducing pages of cautious analysis to a few sentences is not fair to Dundes. His conclusion, in context, follows his study of “couvade,” a complex of behaviors in which new fathers or about-to-be fathers experience pregnancy and/or birthing phenomena such as morning sickness, discomfort, weakness and labor pains. Dundes explains this as an expression of the male’s desire to control the whole birthing process and that it marks his complete control over the nature of his offspring (pp. 44–47). Dundes’s work should be consulted by those interested in pursuing the matter in greater detail.