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Growing Up in England: The Experience of Childhood 1600-1914 Paperback – April 20, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300163967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300163964
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,584,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Fletcher has written an important synthesis of the rearing of elite English children in the modern period. Using a wide variety of sources including diaries and letters, Fletcher details a continuity in parenting that has been generally overlooked. Recommended. All academic levels/libraries."—Choice
(Choice 2009-05-01)

"Growing Up in England is a valuable contribution to the histories of gender, families, education, and children. His simple argument: "gendered parenting. . . produced gendered children" should spur new inquiries into the gendered nature not only of childhood, but of adulthood and the institutions they created and inhabited." —Amy Harris, Journal of British Studies
(Amy Harris Journal of British Studies 2009-04-01)

"For Fletcher, children were instructed in class-specific masculinity and femininity in order that they could perform their gendered roles as adults. . . . Fletcher draws on extensive existing scholarship, as well as archival and printed source material, to demonstrate this thesis copiously. . . . Fletcher is intimately acquainted with the extraordinary relics of the Trench family, the twelve volumes of Lucy Lyttelton's lyrical diary, and many other gems dug up from county record offices."—Aysha Pollnitz, Journal of Modern History
(Aysha Pollnitz Journal of Modern History 2010-03-01)

"Meticulously documented...[Growing up in England draws] on a wealth of firsthand accounts of parents and children in letters and diaries."--Andrew O'Malley, 1650-1850
(Andrew O'Malley 1650-1850)

About the Author

Anthony Fletcher has been professor of history at the Universities of Sheffield, Durham, and Essex, and director of the Victoria County History at London University. His previous books include Gender, Sex, and Subordination in England, 1500–1800. He lives in the UK.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EJJ on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Fletcher's book on childhood is meticulously researched, and though it is a scholarly examination of changing modes of childrearing and attitudes towards gender, it is also delightfully readable. It should appeal to anyone who enjoys good, solid social history. Illustrations, examples, and photographs in this riveting work include material from his own fascinating family archives, as well as many others.
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Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this book in the library one day, picked it up, and couldn't stop reading. Fletcher examines aristocratic and upper-middle-class childhood in meticulous detail, and some of his subjects, such as Lucy Lyttleton and Clare Howard, are simply unforgettable. The book begins with a short section on "Prescription" and continues through a lengthy "Parenting" section that examines specific aspects of childrearing in detail, but Fletcher's most original contribution lies in the third section, which focuses on children's personal testimony about home, school, travel, friendship and love, class, nation, and gender. As anyone who studies the history of childhood knows, it is extraordinarily difficult to find sources that reveal children's own experiences, unmediated by adult reporting. Fletcher has done yeoman's work in digging up so many rich diaries and frank letters to siblings.

Fletcher's decision to survey the entire period from 1600 to 1914 in one volume was an interesting one, given how fundamentally English society changed in those centuries. Fletcher tends to elide some pivotal social changes, including urbanization and declining child mortality; he emphasizes families that were larger than average, rural rather than urban, noticeably religious in tone, and socially rather conservative. But as long as one remembers that Fletcher is writing about England's landed gentry, and that his findings don't necessarily reflect the experiences of commercial or professional families, that's not a problem. His storytelling is seductive, and general readers and scholars alike will find this a fascinating book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gromer on March 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I saw this on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood in London. I believe it is a fascinating subject, and would really like to read it, but wish that the publishers would release a paperback for the layman reader. The hardback ($35-$45) appears priced for academics or researchers, but I believe this book will be very readable for normal moms and dads and people who love to read about the English "cult of childhood". I also wish that it is available for a more reasonable price on Kindle.
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