Gender roles from the 17th century

BATTLE OF  THE SEXES:  The 17th century book up for auction

BATTLE OF THE SEXES: The 17th century book up for auction

First published in Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

IT’S A MAN’S WORLD A RARE book discussing the differences between the sexes in the 17th century is going on sale in Dorchester.

The book entitled The Art How to Know Men, which was translated into English from the original French version by John Davies in 1665, is expected to fetch up to £300 when it goes on sale at Duke’s auctioneers on Thursday, April 10.

The volume had been gathering dust on a bookshelf before the vendor decided to check if it could be worth something.

Amy Brenan of Duke’s said: “This small brown leather bound book is an excellent portrayal of how men and women were thought of so differently in the 1600s and was clearly written for both sexes to help them understand each other.

“I suppose it is simply the three hundred year old version of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”

Amy added: “There are chapters in the book dedicated to the physical, mental and emotional differences between the sexes.

“When we read this book from a 21st century perspective, where women are equal to men, the author’s description of either sex is almost comedic, even though it was always intended as a serious text.

“This book is a primary source of information about social depictions of the sexes in the 17th century, making it very important.”

The pages of the book have yellowed with age and are showing some signs of worm infestation, but the original brown covers are present and it is perfectly readable.

Auctioneers estimate the book will see for between £200 and £300.

For more information contact Duke’s on 01305 265080 or email

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