Compromised Idylls

in The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780226160559
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226160573 | DOI:
Compromised Idylls

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The subject of human development and instruction inspired thousands of competing theories, manuals, and schemes to improve on existing practices. This chapter sheds light on how some writers defined and addressed new techniques to raise children, and it also pulls into the light of day some of the internal paradoxes, contradictions, and infelicities embedded in these writings that went more or less unseen by the writers. It reveals the existence of a literary corpus that embraces some of the period's most “progressive” anti-traditional ideas about human nature and yet projects an increasingly inhumane attitude toward the means required to reach their goals. Some writings present a relatively sanguine attitude about protecting people's natural freedoms from the inroads of social pressures, perhaps because of their faith in religion's capacity to comfort the oppressed.

Keywords: human development; children; religion; anti-traditional ideas; inhumane

Chapter.  16905 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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