Early Modern Childhood is a detailed and accessible introduction to childhood in the early modern period, which guides students through every part of childhood from infancy to youth and places the early modern child within the broader social context of the period.

Drawing on the work of recent revisionist historians, the book scrutinises traditional historiographical views of early modern childhood, challenging the idea that the concept of ‘childhood’ didn’t exist in this period and that families avoided developing strong affections for their children because of the high death rate. Instead, this book reveals a more intricately detailed character of the early modern child and how childhood was viewed and experienced. Divided into five parts, it brings together the work of historians, art historians and literary scholars to discuss a variety of themes and questions surrounding each stage of childhood, including the household, pregnancy, infancy, education, religion, gender, illness and death. Chapters are also dedicated to the topics of crime, illegitimacy and children’s clothing, providing a broad and varied lens through which to view this subject.

Exploring the evolution in understanding of the early modern child, Early Modern Childhood is the ideal book for students of the early modern family, early modern childhood and early modern gender.

part I|54 pages


chapter 1|13 pages

Locating the early modern child

ByAnna French

chapter 2|17 pages

The early modern family

ByKatie Barclay

chapter 3|22 pages

The household

ByTara Hamling

part II|64 pages


chapter 4|17 pages

Conception, pregnancy and childbirth

ByDaphna Oren-Magidor

chapter 5|20 pages


ByAnna French

chapter 6|25 pages

Schools and education

ByAlan Ross

part III|60 pages


chapter 7|19 pages


ByAlec Ryrie

chapter 8|20 pages


ByLucy Underwood

chapter 9|19 pages


ByMin Ji Kang

part IV|56 pages


chapter 10|15 pages

Crime and disorder

ByPaul Griffiths

chapter 11|21 pages

Illness and death

ByAdriana Benzaquén

chapter 12|18 pages


ByKatie Barclay

part V|69 pages


chapter 13|24 pages


ByKatie Knowles

chapter 14|21 pages


ByMaria Hayward

chapter 15|22 pages


ByJane Eade