Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children

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9780312300937: Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children

Savage Girls and Wild Boys is a fascinating history of extraordinary children---brought up by animals, raised in the wilderness, or locked up for long years in solitary confinement.

Wild or feral children have fascinated us through the centuries, and continue to do so today. In a haunting and hugely readable study, Michael Newton deftly investigates a number of infamous cases. He looks at Peter the Wild Boy, who gripped the attention of Swift and Defoe, and at Victor of Aveyron, who roamed wild in the forests of revolutionary France. He tells the story of a savage girl lost on the streets of Paris, of two children brought up by wolves in the jungles of India, and of a Los Angeles girl who emerged from thirteen years locked in a room to international celebrity. He describes, too, a boy brought up among monkeys in Uganda; and in Moscow, the child found living with a pack of wild dogs.

Savage Girls and Wild Boys examines the lives of these children and of the adults who “rescued” them, looked after them, educated, or abused them. How can we explain the mixture of disgust and envy that such children can provoke? And what can they teach us about our notions of education, civilization, and man’s true nature?

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for Michael Newton’s Savage Girls and Wild Boys

“Newton’s thoughtful and crisply written book...tells [the stories] confidently, clearly, and with great humanity.”
---Richard Davenport-Hines, author of The Pursuit of Oblivion and Gothic

“Newton’s style and tone set out to entertain. He is scholarly, playful, and very slightly mad.”
---Ian Sansom, author of The Truth About Babies

“A fascinating, truly thought-provoking book, written with passionate intelligence.”
---Melissa Murray, author of Changelings

“The stories, which Michael Newton has collected and analyzed, are parables about what it means to be human, and they demonstrate how flimsy our definition of ourselves as superior creatures actually is.”
---Peter Conrad, author of The Hitchcock Murders

“A collection of six extraordinary individual histories, beautifully navigated.”
---Francis Spufford, author of The Child That Books Built

About the Author:

Michael Newton teaches at University College London and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. This is his first book.

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