Deviant Maternity : Illegitimacy in Wales, c. 1680–1800 book cover
1st Edition

Deviant Maternity
Illegitimacy in Wales, c. 1680–1800

ISBN 9780367896805
Published February 21, 2020 by Routledge
274 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This is the first-ever book to explore illegitimacy in Wales during the eighteenth century. Drawing on previously overlooked archival sources, it examines the scope and context of Welsh illegitimacy, and the link between illegitimacy, courtship and economic precarity. It also goes beyond courtship to consider the different identities and relationships of the mothers and fathers of illegitimate children in Wales, and the lived experience of conception, pregnancy and childbirth for unmarried mothers. This book reframes the study of illegitimacy by combining demographic, social and cultural history approaches to emphasise the diversity of experiences, contexts and consequences.

Table of Contents


Part I: Prevalence and Causes

1. Illegitimacy, Paternity, Courtship, and Poverty

2. Complicated Relationships and Diverse Identities – Moving Beyond Courtship and Poverty

Part II: The Mortality Penalty

3. Illegitimate Infant and Maternal Mortality

4. Fatal Violence Against Illegitimate Children and Unmarried Pregnant Women

Part III: The Experience of Pregnancy and Childbirth for Unmarried Mothers

5. Reading and Regulating Reproductive Bodies

6. The Provision of Care for Unmarried Mothers


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Angela Joy Muir is a Lecturer in British Social and Cultural History at the University of Leicester.