Childhood and Loss in Early Modern Life Writing


Memories of childhood seldom appear in early modern life writing, and nostalgia is not a primary mode of recollection. Where childhood does figure, it is often troubled: difficult memories, of loss, death, and displacement, make themselves insistently felt. However, nostalgia registers not only idealisation, but also a sense of connection to a continuingly resonant past. This article considers the representation of childhood memory in six seventeenth-century narratives, examining how these texts negotiate a relation to the past, and tracing elements of the emotional structures of nostalgia in early modern subjects.