The Unwanted Child: The Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany

The Unwanted Child: The Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany

by Joel F. Harrington
     
 

"The baby abandoned on the doorstep is a phenomenon that has virtually disappeared from our experience, but in the early modern world, unwanted children were a very real problem for parents, government officials, and society. The Unwanted Child recreates sixteenth-century Nuremberg to explore what befell abandoned, neglected, abused, or delinquent children in this

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Overview

"The baby abandoned on the doorstep is a phenomenon that has virtually disappeared from our experience, but in the early modern world, unwanted children were a very real problem for parents, government officials, and society. The Unwanted Child recreates sixteenth-century Nuremberg to explore what befell abandoned, neglected, abused, or delinquent children in this critical period." Joel F. Harrington tackles this question by focusing on the stories of six individuals. He recounts the experiences of an unmarried mother-to-be, a roaming mercenary who drifts in and out of his children's lives, a civic leader handling the government's response to problems arising from unwanted children, a homeless teenager turned prolific thief, and orphaned twins who enter state care at the age of nine. Braiding together these compelling portraits, Harrington uncovers and analyzes the key elements that link them, including the impact of war and the vital importance of informal networks among women. From the harrowing to the inspiring, The Unwanted Child paints a gripping picture of life on the streets four centuries ago.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226317274
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
12/01/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
456
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Note on Usage

Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION

ONE / The Unmarried Mother

TWO / The Absconding Father

THREE / The Beleaguered Magistrate

FOUR / The Street Orphan

FIVE / The State Wards

SIX / From Micro- to Macro-: Individuals and the Big Picture

Appendix 1 / The Findelkinder Database

Appendix 2 / Known Infanticides in Nuremberg, 1384–1806

List of Abbreviations

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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