Centuries of childhood : a social history of family life / Philippe Aries ; Translated from the French by Robert Baldick Ariès, Philippe

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Ariès, Philippe
Children - France.; France.; Children - Social conditions.
"The theme of this extraordinary book is the evolution of the modern conception of family life and the modern image of the nature of children. The discovery of childhood as a distinct phase of life, M. Aries shows, is a recent event in Western Man's development. Until the end of the Middle Ages, the child was, almost as soon as he was weaned, regarded as a small adult who mingled, competed, worked, and played with mature adults. Only gradually did parents begin to encourage the separation of adults and children and develop a new family attitude, oriented around the child and his education. M. Aries traces this metamorphosis through the paintings and diaries of four centuries, and through the history of games and skills and the development of schools and their curricula. Ironically, he finds that individualism, far from triumphing in our time, has been held in check by the family, and that the increasing power of the tightly-knit family circle has flourished at the expense of the rich-textured communal society of earlier times." -- BOOK JACKET.
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