Children Remembered

BookChildren Remembered

Children Remembered

Responses to Untimely Death in the Past


September 1st, 2006

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Children Remembered discusses the relationship between parents and children in the past. It focuses on the ways in which adults responded to the untimely deaths of children, whether and how they expressed their grief. The study engages with the hypothesis of ‘parental indifference’ associated with the French cultural historian Philippe Ariès by analysing the changing risk of mortality since the sixteenth century and assessing its consequences. It uses paintings and poems to describe feelings and emotions in ways that are not only highly original, but also challenge traditional disciplinary conventions. The circumstances of infant and child mortality are considered for France and England, while example portraits and poems are selected from England and America. While the work is firmly grounded in demography, it is especially concerned with current debates in social and cultural history, with the history of childhood, the way pictorial images can be ‘read’, and the use as historical evidence to which literature may be put. This is a wide- ranging and ambitions multi-disciplinary study that will add significantly to our understanding of demographic structures; the ways in which they have conditioned attitudes and behaviour in the past.

This is an exceptional book.
Richard M. Smith

Author Information

Bob Woods was Professor of Academic History in the Department of Geography, University of Liverpool. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy. Previous publications include 'An Atlas of Victorian Mortality' (Liverpool University Press, 1997) and 'The Demography of Victorian England and Wales' (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
List of Tables9
List of Figures10
List of Illustrations11
1: Introduction: ‘the lines of life’13
2: Après la mort des enfants19
Ariès, parental indiff erence and l’histoire de la mort19
Vovelle and la longue durée36
Representing mentalities41
3: Mortality, Childcare and Mourning45
The risk of dying at an early age47
Childcare in France and England67
Mourning practices69
4: Children in Pictures and Monuments73
Historians, pictures and the deceased73
The changing representation of children, and what it signifies79
Funeral memorials to departed children and their mothers116
Pictorial ambiguities?121
5: Emotions and Literature123
Grief and other emotions124
Reception and contextual literary history129
Autobiographical writing132
6: Poems, Mainly of Child Loss159
7: The Vocabulary of Grief197
Emotion lexicons198
How language changed203
Death without grief228
8: Parallel Histories: Experience and Expression237
Notes on the Sixty-Nine Poems247
Select Bibliography298