Parents and Children in History; the Psychology of Family Life in Early Modern France

Parents and Children in History; the Psychology of Family Life in Early Modern France

Parents and Children in History; the Psychology of Family Life in Early Modern France

Parents and Children in History; the Psychology of Family Life in Early Modern France

Excerpt

This is a study in history and psychology. To some extent, the project grows out of trends already at work among social scientists. The French historian, Philippe Ariès, has recently argued that the evolution of old regime society was significantly related to changes in family structure and in the treatment of children. By demonstrating that "private" transactions, like those between parents and infants, are linked to the "public" events on which historians have tended to focus their attention, Ariès has broadened our notion of history to include specifically psychological themes. Concurrently, in his book Young Man Luther, Erik Erikson has shown that psychoanalytic thinking, although developed in clinical work with individual patients during the last century, can be usefully applied to personal and social problems drawn from the history of early modern Europe. From very different starting points, Ariès and Erikson move toward a fusion of history and psychology. In Chapters I and 2, I explain how their work serves as the foundation for my own research.

The major part of this study has to do with childhood and family life in seventeenth-century France. My objectives are, on the one hand, to add to our understanding of the social history . . .

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