Conceptualizing Cruelty to Children in Nineteenth-Century by Monica Flegel

By Monica Flegel

Relocating nimbly among literary and historic texts, Monica Flegel presents a much-needed interpretive framework for figuring out the categorical formula of kid cruelty popularized by means of the nationwide Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to young children (NSPCC) within the overdue 19th century. Flegel considers a variety of famous and extra vague texts from the mid-eighteenth century to the early 20th, together with philosophical writings through Locke and Rousseau, poetry through Coleridge, Blake, and Caroline Norton, works via reporters and reformers like Henry Mayhew and Mary chippie, and novels through Frances Trollope, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Morrison. taking on the most important themes corresponding to the linking of kids with animals, the determine of the kid performer, the connection among trade and baby endangerment, and the matter of teen delinquency, Flegel examines the emergence of kid abuse as a subject matter of felony and social difficulty in England, and its connection to past, basically literary representations of endangered youngsters. With the emergence of the NSPCC and the recent crime of cruelty to childrens, new professions and genres, reminiscent of baby defense and social casework, supplanted literary works because the authoritative voices within the definition of social ills and their treatment. Flegel argues that this improvement had fabric results at the lives of kids, in addition to profound implications for the position of sophistication in representations of soreness and abused little ones. Combining nuanced shut readings of person texts with persuasive interpretations in their affects and barriers, Flegel's ebook makes an important contribution to the background of formative years, social welfare, the relations, and Victorian philanthropy.

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Extra resources for Conceptualizing Cruelty to Children in Nineteenth-Century England (Ashgate Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present)

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Behlmer, Child Abuse and Moral Reform, 175). Furthermore, he notes that “Of the 754,732 children on whose behalf the society intervened between mid-1889 and mid-1903, only 1,200—far less than 1 percent—were removed from Creating Cruelty to Children 37 therefore, as suggested by its place in “Courts and Children’s Cases,” is the result: the parents are indicted, the case against them is “proved,” and the sentences are handed down, all through the Society’s efforts. ” The Rochester case is not a “story” of abuse, it is a narrative of the NSPCC’s casework, and as such, it does not include the novelistic elements of the Shrewsbury case.

Only the Society’s inspectors follow the “vocation” that develops the particular “habits of sight” required for that work. The shift in the Society’s narrative of abuse from something that was known, yet not addressed, to something that it alone had the skills and abilities to investigate and to ameliorate, provided ample justification for the Society’s reconstitution of itself from the London SPCC to the NSPCC in 1889. Following the passage of the “Children’s Charter,” Waugh rejoiced that the new legislation “is an embodiment of the large spirit of the Society that promoted it.

88 Just how such narratives evolved was very much dependent, of course, on the genre in which they were found. The dilemma of how to represent social ills so as to provide an accurate depiction of a particular problem and of its solution plagued social reformers, writers, and the English government throughout the nineteenth century. ”89 In Victorian England, the “two Englands” debate constituted such a crisis; the perception that “distinct social blocks lived completely ignorant of each other” and that “the social sphere, spatially conceived, had grown thoroughly divided between segments that were known and familiar and those that were designated hidden”90 inspired numerous discursive interventions, from the literary to the social-scientific.

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