This book investigates the relationship between ideas about childhood and the actual experience of being a child, and assesses how it has changed over the span of five hundred years. Hugh Cunningham tells an engaging story of the development of ideas about childhood from the Renaissance to the present, including Locke, Rosseau, Wordsworth and Freud, revealing considerable differences in the way western societites have understood and valued childhood over time. His survey of parent/child relationships uncovers evidence of parental love, care and, in the frequent cases of child death, grief throughout the period, concluding that there was as much continuity as change in the actual relations of children and adults across these five centuries.
For undergraduate courses in History of the Family, European Social History, History of Children and Gender History.
Professor Hugh Cunningham is based at the University of Kent, Canterbury. His publications include The Volunteer Force: A Social and Political History 1859-1908 (Croom 1975), Leisure in the Industrial Revolution (Croom 1980) and The Children of the Poor: Representations of Childhood since the Seventeenth Century (Blackwell, 1991). He is also the author of our recent title The Challenge of Democracy.