Fashioning Childhood in the Eighteenth Century: Age and Identity, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Fashioning Childhood in the Eighteenth Century

Age and Identity, 1st Edition

By Anja Müller


260 pages

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This innovative collection of essays re-examines conventional ideas of the history of childhood, exploring the child's increasing prominence in eighteenth-century discourse and the establishment of the category of age as a marker of social distinction alongside race, class and gender. While scholars often approach childhood within the context of a single nation, this collection takes a comparative approach, examining the child in British, German and French contexts and demonstrating the mutual influences between the Continent and Great Britain in the conceptualization of childhood. Covering a wide range of subjects, from scientific and educational discourses on the child and controversies over the child's legal status and leisure activities, to the child as artist and consumer, the essays shed light on well-known novels like Tristram Shandy and Tom Jones, as well as on less-familiar texts such as periodicals, medical writings, trial reports and schoolbooks. Articles on visual culture show how eighteenth-century discourses on childhood are reflected in representations of the child by illustrators and portraitists. The international group of contributors, including Peter Borsay, Patricia Crown, Bernadette Fort, Brigitte Glaser, Klaus Peter Jochum, Dorothy Johnson and Peter Sabor, represent the disciplines of history, literature and art and reflect the collection's commitment to interdisciplinarity. The volume's unique range of topics makes it essential reading for students and scholars concerned with the history and representation of childhood in eighteenth-century culture.


'This engagingly accessible volume brings eighteenth-century children alive in their historical contexts. Its essays on infant feeding, psychology, law, medicine, painting, fashion, schoolbooks, and leisure reading make it the place to start for learning about British, French, and German childhoods in the eighteenth century.' Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Stony Brook University, USA 'These essays make a valuable contribution to our understanding of childhood in Europe in the long eighteenth century' Hugh Cunningham, author of Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500, 2nd edn, 2005 ’… contains as much intellectual depth as it does interdisciplinary breadth… Fashioning Childhood is an interesting and illuminating volume. I both enjoyed reading it and learned much from it. Müller's essay collection, which covers Anglo-European cultural topics and literary texts from a wide range of disciplines, makes many worthwhile contributions to the study of Western conceptions of the 'the child' and the cultural phenomenom of 'childhood'.' Eighteenth-Century Fiction ’Taken together the articles collected in this volume present a wealth of fascinating material about what can be called British eighteenth-century children's culture.’ Anglia ’What we have are sixteen really stimulating essays on various different aspects of children's culture in Europe in the 'long' eighteenth-century… I commend it. It provides important contexts for the study of early children's books. Three of this year's Darton Award shortlist have come from Ashgate's rapidly expanding list, and Müller's volume is another very welcome addition to their 'Studies in childhood, 1700 To the Present' series.’ Children's Books History Society ’This collection of seventeen essays edited by Anja Müller is a most welcome addition to the growing scholarship on the construction and experience of childhood in the eighteenth century… Müller and her contributors are to be commended for the

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Anja Müller. Part 1 Cultural Contexts: The doctor and the child: medical preservation and management of children in the 18th century, Adriana S. Benzaquén; Children as patients in German-speaking regions in the 18th century, Iris Ritzmann; Observing children in an early journal of psychology: Karl Philipp Moritz's (Know Thyself), Anthony Krupp; The legal status of children in 18th-century England, Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos; Children, adolescents and fashionable urban society in 18th-century England, Peter Borsay; The child in the visual culture of consumption 1790-1830, Patricia Crown; Locke's education or Rousseau's freedom: alternative socializations in modern societies, Christoph Houswitschka. Part 2 Literary and Visual Representations: Fashioning age and identity: childhood and the stages of life in 18th-century English periodicals, Anja Müller; Engaging identity: portraits of children in late 18th-century European art, Dorothy Johnson; Greuze and the ideology of infant nursing in 18th-century France, Bernadette Fort; Childhood and juvenile delinquency in 18th-century Newgate Calendars, Uwe Böker; Tales of miracle or lessons of morality? School editions of Ovid's Metamorphoses as a means of shaping the personalities of British schoolboys, Sonja Fielitz; Defoe's children, Klaus Peter Jochum; Fictionalizing foundlings: social tradition and change in Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, Jan Hollm; Winding up the clock: the conception and birth of Tristram Shandy, Dirk Vanderbeke; Gendered childhoods: on the discursive formation of young females in the 18th century, Brigitte Glaser; Fashioning the child author: reading Jane Austen's juvenilia, Peter Sabor. Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Anja Müller, Universität Siegen, Germany

About the Series

Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present

Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present

This series recognizes and supports innovative work on the child and on literature for children and adolescents that informs teaching and engages with current and emerging debates in the field. Proposals are welcome for interdisciplinary and comparative studies by humanities scholars working in a variety of fields, including literature; book history, periodicals history, and print culture and the sociology of texts; theater, film, musicology, and performance studies; history, including the history of education; gender studies; art history and visual culture; cultural studies; and religion.

Topics might include, among other possibilities, how concepts and representations of the child have changed in response to adult concerns; postcolonial and transnational perspectives; "domestic imperialism" and the acculturation of the young within and across class and ethnic lines; the commercialization of childhood and children's bodies; views of young people as consumers and/or originators of culture; the child and religious discourse; children's and adolescents' self-representations; and adults' recollections of childhood.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature