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Child-killing and emotion in early modern England and Wales

Walker, Garthine ORCID: 2017. Child-killing and emotion in early modern England and Wales. Barclay, Katie, Reynolds, Kimberley and Rawnsley, Ciara, eds. Death, Emotion and Childhood in Premodern Europe, Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 151-172. (10.1057/978-1-137-57199-1_8)

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This chapter explores emotional responses to infanticide and concealed deaths of bastard children which were prosecuted under the 1624 Concealment Act in early modern England and Wales. The chapter not only revises our view of contemporary attitudes to women suspected of killing infants but also draws attention to the range of emotions experienced by those who discovered infant corpses. The chapter ends by considering the nature of any subjectivity we might have access to in primary sources concerning infanticide, and suggests that individuals occupied multiple subject positions. Emotional reactions to child-killing were complex and variable, and cannot be reduced to a narrative in which premodern harshness was replaced by modern empathy.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9781137571984
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 21 September 2015
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 09:40

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