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A History of Childhood

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Colin Heywood's classic account of childhood from the early Middle Ages to the First World War combines a long-run historical perspective with a broad geographical spread.

This new, comprehensively updated edition incorporates the findings of the most recent research, and in particular revises and expands the sections on theoretical developments in the 'new social studies of childhood', on medieval conceptions of the child, on parenting and on children’s literature. Rather than merely narrating their experiences from the perspectives of adults, Heywood incorporates children’s testimonies, 'looking up' as well as 'down'. Paying careful attention to elements of continuity as well as change, he tells a story of astonishing material improvement for the lives of children in advanced societies, while showing how the business of preparing for adulthood became more and more complicated and fraught with emotional difficulties.

Rich with evocative details of everyday life, and providing the most concise and readable synthesis of the literature available, Heywood's book will be indispensable to all those interested in the study of childhood.

Author: Heywood Colin
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780745651668
Cover: Paperback
Edition Number: 2
Release Year: 2018



Part I: Changing Conceptions of Childhood

1 Conceptions of Childhood in the Middle Ages

2 The Quest for a Turning Point

3 Some Themes in the Cultural History of Childhood

Part II: Growing up in the Family

4 The Start of a New Life

5 A Precarious Infancy

6 Early Childhood, Age Two to Seven

7 Later Childhood, Age Seven to Fourteen

Part III: Children in a Wider World

8 Children at Work in Agricultural Societies

9 Child Labour and Industrialization

10 Children's Leisure Activities

11 Children's Health

11 The Child and the School



Select Bibliography


Colin Heywood is Emeritus Professor of Modern French History at the University of Nottingham.

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