In histories of infant welfare, public assistance, child labour legislation, education, juvenile delinquency, adolescence, and youth movements, adults figured as major protagonists, the young themselves relegated to background roles. (Autobiographical novels are included because Heywood accepts the arguments of literary scholar Richard N. Coe that authors felt freer to explore the "truth" about childhood in fiction than in autobiography.) Analyzing these "ego documents" from historical, literary, and theoretical perspectives, he surveys the multiple reasons why such sources should not be taken as "a straightforward 'window on reality.'" Diaries were associated with young women and often invested with religious purposes in the nineteenth century, while the extensive correspondence produced contemporaneously in many middle- and upper-class families omitted discussion of taboo subjects.
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"Growing Up in France: From the Ancien Rgime to the Third Republic"Please download to view full document