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The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe From Late Antiquity to the Renaissance By John Boswell,

  • Title: The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe From Late Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Author: John Boswell
  • ISBN: 9780808138440
  • Page: 416
  • Format: Paperback
  • A pioneering inquiry into an unexplored corner of Western history the widespread abandonment of children throughout classical antiquity and the Middle Ages A learned and lively book, which iskely to prove controversial Boston Globe.
    The Kindness of Strangers The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe From Late Antiquity to the Renaissance A pioneering inquiry into an unexplored corner of Western history the widespread abandonment of children throughout classical antiquity and the Middle Ages A learned and lively book which iskely to p

    One thought on “The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe From Late Antiquity to the Renaissance”

    1. Western societies today recoil in horror, mostly, at the idea of abandoning a child The exception is safe haven laws the U.S has decriminalized baby abandonment or relinquishment, as the safe haven people prefer to call it in all 50 states and the District of Columbia you can leave a newborn at a hospital, and in many states other places such as fire stations or police stations, and in Vermont and New Hampshire, churches In some states the infant can t be than 3 days old in other states, 10 day [...]

    2. Using old records and tales, Boswell traces one of the main fates of unwanted children abandonment From antiquity through the end of the Middle Ages, European parents of every social standing, in every circumstance from rape to incest to adultery to married couples , abandoned or sold their children, in expectation that they would be adopted or raised elsewhere The rates were highest from the late Roman Empire beginning around 250 AD through the eleventh century, dipped during the next two prosp [...]

    3. John Boswell writes From Roman times to the late Middle Ages, children were abandoned throughout Europe great numbers, by parents of every social standing, in a great variety of circumstances If this passage evokes images of suffering, despair and death, Boswell postulates that from the standpoint of the family and social contexts if not from the standpoint of children from their social niche and limiting their chances of marriage and reproduction, it curtailed the number of heirs without actual [...]

    4. Boswell examines the abandonment of children in ancient times through the Middle Ages He relates that he assumed that the ancient references to exposing children meant they were left to die as did I But he discovered that children were usually left in a public place where they would be found and claimed by others They might be found by childless people wanting a family or someone who would bring them up as a slave or prostitute And there were the legends of children abandoned, like Oedipus or Ro [...]

    5. A marvelous education about child abandonment in the West from the Roman period till the modern and an amazing feat that Boswell could get it all into one fairly readable book.But a caveat is in order Boswell s scholarship and facts have generally been accepted by scholars However, his overarching interpretive thesis, reflected in the title of his book, that abandoned children were often rescued out of kindness, and his supposition that a substantial fraction of abandoned children survived, is o [...]

    6. One suspects that the four star of five rating this book is receiving is a result of the disturbing topic We probably do not like very much what a long, long history of abandoning unwanted children we have Boswell is remarkably positive about the practice at least until after the 13th century, when the church and its religious were supplanted by the secular foundling hospital.

    7. This is a book with so much information, layers and layers of it and all well done, that you need time to step back, once in a while, in order to process it so that you might have a fighting chance when you return to it And I am not a novice in this field I can see that this book, 28 years old as it is, could well be the pillar around which other works dealing with a much smaller premise in the subject of abandonment and exposure of children and the contingent subjects that are attached to this [...]

    8. My only complaint with this book involve the use of extensive annotations and notes While I m a huge fan of that type of research and diligence in regards to source material, on several occasions, the content within the notes clearly should have just remained in the actual body of the monograph I do not understand why some pages only had 2 sentences, followed by notes that were not source material, but additional information I would just prefer it remain as part of the argument, itself Despite t [...]

    9. I am still reading, so these are preliminary thoughts I was intrigued by the topic of this book when I came across it at a used book store In the introduction the author goes into helpful detail regarding how he used a combination of literary and historical records to reach conclusions about a subject where not a lot of empirical data exists However when I got to the section of the book regarding the early church, his conclusions in that section made me doubt his conclusions in the other parts o [...]

    10. This was a very interesting book However, the author needs to seriously consider rewriting the work to include the information in the footnotes I mean seriously, pages that were 1 2 to 3 4 footnote were not uncommon The footnotes often had interesting tidbits, but I had to force myself to stop reading them otherwise my reading became too disjointed and flow was lost.

    11. this book is all footnote seriously, when your footnotes take up 2 3 of the page, just put it in the text otherwise, pretty interesting for facts here and there, but the gist of it is people abandoned their children during all times and usually weren t punished for it if i owned a copy of this book, i would finish it, but it s such a tome that i gave up halfway through.

    12. read in July 1994very interesting rebuttal of the folklore about children abandoned on dung heaps and how most were not eaten by wolves, etc , but taken in by strangers and about the laws that covered such adoptions

    13. This was the book I d been looking for while planning my masters paper it hadn t quite been published yet or my subject might have been different I d sensed Philip Arles was out of date but had no other proof well this was what I d wanted.

    14. This would seem to be a poorly written doctoral dissertation that, unfortunately for the lay reader, bypassed its committee review and went straight to press It s doubly unfortunate because the subject is of inherent interest, especially if it were followed into modern times.

    15. This book is like a can opener for opening your mind as to new ways of looking at things Its an incredibly original study at least from my limited experience of ordinary people choosing to take in abandoned children Boswell argues this was common than we would think

    16. Really poorly written The information provided is so interesting but written in a very wordy burdensome way.

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