The publication some forty years ago of the landmark work by Philippe Ariès, entitled Centuries of Childhood in its widely-read English translation, unleashed decades of scholarly investigation of that once-neglected target, the child. Since then, historians have uncovered the traces of attitudes toward children — were they neglected, exploited, abused, cherished? — and patterns of child-rearing. They have explored such issues, among others, as the varieties of European household structure; definitions of the stages of life; childbirth, wetnursing, and the role of the midwife; child abandonment and the foundling home; infanticide and its prosecution; apprenticeship, servitude, and fostering; the evolution of schooling; the consequences of religious diversification; and the impact of gender. This essay seeks to identify key features and recent trends amid this abundance of learned inquiry.


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pp. 371-407
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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