Kindness of Strangers

John Boswell

Published by Pantheon, 1989
ISBN 10: 0394572408 / ISBN 13: 9780394572406
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Synopsis: In The Kindness of Strangers, John Boswell argues persuasively that child abandonment was a common and morally acceptable practice from antiquity until the Renaissance. Using a wide variety of sources, including drama and mythological-literary texts as well as demographics, Boswell examines the evidence that parents of all classes gave up unwanted children, "exposing" them in public places, donating them to the church, or delivering them in later centuries to foundling hospitals. The Kindness of Strangers presents a startling history of the abandoned child that helps to illustrate the changing meaning of family.

From Library Journal: The author of the widely acclaimed Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (LJ 6/1/80) has now given us this original and fascinating work on abandoned children. It should be made available to every student of medieval and early modern Europe. And at a time when abortion, child abuse, and abandonment are much in the news, the book should have broad general interest. Abandonment of children--by leaving them, selling them, or consigning them to someone else--was practiced from Greek antiquity to early modern times by parents of all social classes, because of poverty, incest, shame, self-interest, inheritance, or to improve the child's future. Most children were rescued and survived due to "the kindness of strangers." Based on a careful exploration of ancient and medieval sources, this book will deservedly win a wide audience.
- Bennett D. Hill, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Title: Kindness of Strangers
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: 1989
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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