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Victorian childhoods.


Victorian childhoods.

Frost, Ginger S.



192 pages



Victorian life and times


It has been said that the Victorians "invented" childhood. For the first time, children were treated as special beings, personifications of innocence and purity. At the other end of the spectrum is the Dickensian view of neglected children, forced to work at backbreaking labor. Frost (history, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama) provides a corrective balance between these two extremes. She examines childhood over the period from 1815-1914, noting efforts to improve the lot of poor children. Dividing the book by aspects most common to children, infancy, school, work and play, Frost shows the wide range of experience that children experienced. She then considers the goals of adults in molding the character of the next generation, the fate of foundlings, the very poor, and disabled children and the, sometimes misguided, efforts of reformers. Over the century, she notices an increase in the marketing of toys and books for children of all economic strata and also more emphasis on public education. Frost gives a multi-faceted presentation of the subject, accessible to scholars and general readers alike.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2009
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