1st Edition

Early Modern Childhood An Introduction

Edited By Anna French Copyright 2020
    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    1. Locating the Early Modern Child

    Anna French

    2. The Early Modern Family

    Katie Barclay

    3. The Household

    Tara Hamling


    4. Conception, Pregnancy and Birth

    Daphna Oren-Magidor

    5. Infancy

    Anna French

    6. Schools and Education

    Alan Ross


    7. Protestants

    Alec Ryrie

    8. Catholics

    Lucy Underwood

    9. Gender

    Min Ji Kang


    10. Crime and Disorder

    Paul Griffiths

    11. Illness and Death

    Adriana Benzaquén

    12. Illegitimacy

    Katie Barclay



    13. Drama

    Katie Knowles

    14. Clothing

    Maria Hayward

    15. Portraiture

    Jane Eade


    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.