Early Modern Childhood is a detailed and accessible introduction to childhood in the early modern period, which guides students through every part of childhood from infancy to youth and places the early modern child within the broader social context of the period.
Drawing on the work of recent revisionist historians, the book scrutinises traditional historiographical views of early modern childhood, challenging the idea that the concept of ‘childhood’ didn’t exist in this period and that families avoided developing strong affections for their children because of the high death rate. Instead, this book reveals a more intricately detailed character of the early modern child and how childhood was viewed and experienced. Divided into five parts, it brings together the work of historians, art historians and literary scholars to discuss a variety of themes and questions surrounding each stage of childhood, including the household, pregnancy, infancy, education, religion, gender, illness and death. Chapters are also dedicated to the topics of crime, illegitimacy and children’s clothing, providing a broad and varied lens through which to view this subject.
Exploring the evolution in understanding of the early modern child, Early Modern Childhood is the ideal book for students of the early modern family, early modern childhood and early modern gender.
Table of Contents
Part i: contexts; 1. Locating the early modern child; 2. The early modern family; 3. The household; Part ii: beginnings; 4. Conception, pregnancy and birth; 5. Infancy; 6. Schools and education; Part iii: identities; 7. Protestants; 8. Catholics; 9. Gender; Part iv: adversity; 10. Crime and disorder; 11. Illness and death; 12. Illegitimacy; Part v: representations; 13. Drama; 14. Children’s clothing; 15. Portraiture
Anna French is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Liverpool. She is author of Children of Wrath: Possession, Prophecy and the Young in Early Modern England (2015), general secretary of the European Reformation Research Group and Director of the Liverpool Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.