The Unwanted Child

The Unwanted Child : The Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany

By (author) Joel F. Harrington


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The baby abandoned on the doorstep is a phenomenon that has virtually disappeared from our experience, but in the early modern world, unwanted children were a very real problem. In The Unwanted Child, Joel F. Harrington skillfully recreates sixteenth-century Nuremberg to explore what befell abandoned children in this period in vivid detail. From the harrowing to the inspiring, this critically acclaimed text paints a gripping picture of life on the streets five centuries ago.

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  • Paperback | 456 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 612.35g
  • 18 Oct 2013
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 64 halftones, 9 line drawings
  • 022610205X
  • 9780226102054
  • 1,624,845

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Author Information

Joel F. Harrington is professor of history and associate provost for global strategy at Vanderbilt University. His books include Reordering Marriage and Society in Reformation Germany.

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Review quote

"Joel F. Harrington breaks new ground with this work.... The Unwanted Child mounts a rich, successful challenge to top-down historical approaches to the subject." (Choice) "In his fascinating study, Joel F. Harrington acquaints the reader with the realities of child abandonment and infanticide and the challenges that early modern social distortions, triggered by wars, economic crisis, and climate change, to name but a few, held for poor families.... Essential for students as well as for researchers." (Journal of Social History)"

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