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Centuries Of Childhood [Paperback]

Philippe Aries
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 July 1996
In this pioneering and important book, Philippe Aries surveys children and their place in family life from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century. The first section of the book explores the gradual change from the medieval attitude to children, looked upon as small adults as soon as they were past infancy, to the seventeenth and eighteenth century awareness of the child as the focal point of family life. Aries goes on to examine the schooling of children and the development of modern educational methods. In the second section, he describes the metamorphosis of the family: at first the family was a unit in which everything was open and public and children mingled with adults in the social life of the community; eventually the family become a closed or private society, within which children had a unique and important status.

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Centuries Of Childhood + The Invention of Childhood + The Disappearance of Childhood
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (4 July 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712674586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712674584
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 13.5 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"If this is a book - indeed the book - about the history of childhood, it is also a book about how things, like childhood, or the family, come to seem important: worth talking about, or writing about, or painting... Centuries of Childhood shows us, in vivid and dramatic detail, why the past is never finished - that we can never get over it because it is never over." (Adam Phillips)

Book Description

A hugely influential, classic study of childhood and the place of children within the family.

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still The Defining Study 25 Aug 2009
As a discipline, History has never been more accurate. The depths of careful research and referencing the modern historian must delve into to see his monograph published, are quite staggering. Sadly, this level of stringency has also led to inflexibility, most notably in the art of prose. Once filled with moralistic lessons and amusing anecdotes, the studies of today are instead unintelligible from one and other, replete with an academic tone characterised by the mandatory turns of phrase that seem to occur throughout all at an uncommon rate.

Ariès, in this skilful translation courtesy of the unfortunately named Robert Baldick, finds himself caught between two eras. Here, seeks to combine the meticulous, mechanical research slowly becoming the fashion at time of publication, with the personable, episodic based touch of the early modern historian prior to the twentieth century. His chapter on child modesty, then, not only contains references to seventeenth century views on decency, but fleshes them out with a tales of the young Louis XIII of France, `in high spirits...making everybody kiss his cock'. It is uproarious finds such as this which save the text as a work of enjoyment, with Ariès reaching an excellent balance between readability and credibility throughout.

In by far the most influential work on an impossibly neglected subject, our author controversially argues throughout that childhood as we perceive it did not exist until the early modern period.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Centries of Childhood 20 Dec 2011
the book was dirty, smelly and it had a lot of library labels. I an not going to buy a pre-owned book again.
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