COVER

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CONTENTS

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pp. v-7

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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p. vii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-xi

Writing is never as solitary an exercise as it would appear. This book would never have come into the world if it were up to me alone to bring it forth. Rather, my thinking about this topic has benefited from the generosity, kindness, and humor of colleagues and good friends. My largest professional debt is owed to Lenny Cassuto, who, as a mentor and as a friend, has ...

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INTRODUCTION. Suffering Childhood in Early America

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pp. 1-18

Little Eva wrung tears and won hearts because she suffered. Her death at the very heart of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 international best seller, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, inspired thousands of commemorative artifacts, dozens of performances, innumerable sobs, and for many readers, an emotional and political sea change. In the novel, little Eva literally distributes ...

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CHAPTER ONE. Children in the Hands of Satan: Captivity, Witch Trials, and the Dangerous Child

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pp. 19-57

When Henry Spellman, a boy about thirteen years old, finds himself abandoned in an almost unimaginable wilderness in 1609, his reaction seems — to modern readers at least — strikingly understated. “Unknone to me,” he informs the reader, “he [ John Smith] had sold me to him [the little Powhatan] for the town called Powhatan and le[ft] me with him.”1 If the boy expected better treatment than he received at the hands of his protector, it’s difficult to discern from...

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CHAPTER TWO. This Infant State: The Child Nation and Infanticide in the Early Republic

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pp. 58-96

The violence depicted in Maria Kittle’s 1780 Indian captivity narrative clarifies the stakes in a conflict that had been muddied by unreliable promises. The Kittle household had received multiple assurances from their supposedly honorable Indian neighbors that they would not be harmed. Not long into the narrative, those assurances are proven murderously false. ...

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CHAPTER THREE. Pregnancy and the New Birth: Reproduction, Performance, and Infantilizing Republican Mothers

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pp. 97-124

Thomas Paine’s uneasy fusion of mother and child in the 1783 American Crisis XIII reveals anxieties about reproducing the republic: Never, I say, had a country so many openings to happiness as this. Her setting out in life, like the rising of a fair morning, was unclouded and promising. Her cause was good. Her principles just and liberal. Her temper...

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CHAPTER FOUR. The Revolutionary Child: Slavery, Affective Contracts, and the Future Perfect

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pp. 125-164

The previous chapter discussed how pregnancy functioned as a potent site for exploring the possibility of white women’s consent in two popular late eighteenth-century seduction novels. Ultimately, the fatal pregnancies of protagonists Charlotte and Eliza infantilized the women themselves, rendering them utterly at the mercy of bodies they could not control. Infantilizing narratives also helped to articulate the nightmarish ...

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EPILOGUE. The Materials and Metaphors of Schoolwork

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pp. 165-176

Suffering Childhood in Early America has focused on the new meanings that emerge from early American encounters with the suffering child — both material and metaphorical. Throughout this study, I have argued that placing the child at the foreground of literary and cultural analysis forces us to confront the space in between — the space between the literal and the figurative, between the symbol and the person whose experience was ...

NOTES

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pp. 177-203

INDEX

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pp. 205-211