Synopses & Reviews
'Nicholas Orme knows more about medieval childhood than anyone living, and this substantial, hugely enjoyable book is the capstone on thirty years of scholarship.' The Independent 'charming and erudite' The Times 'a triumph of judicious scholarship and common sense ... Orme's is one of the most beautifully and intelligently illustrated academic works I've encountered ... a model of accessible scholarly history.' Atlantic Monthly 'This is one of those pleasingly, absorbingly digressive books ... a book whose subject is of inexhaustible interest.' Financial Times 'Orme's fascinating study reveals medieval society through a keen look at its youngest inhabitants. Meticulous detail and luscious illustrations ... make this an elegant and definitive study.' Publishers Weekly 'informative and entertaining ... this book is a treasure trove, full of gems, even for the non-medievalist.' Literary Review 'What the book identifies again and again in medieval England is an attentiveness to children ... Orme is a clear and persuasive guide to the period.' The Guardian 'a treasure-house of everything to do with medieval children' The Economist Nicholas Orme was professor of history at Exeter University and the author of numerous works on medieval history.
What was childhood like for medieval boys and girls in England? How were children named and brought up, what hazards faced them, what games did they play, and how were they prepared for adulthood? This richly detailed book provides for the first time a complete history of childhood in England from about the year 1000 to the sixteenth century.
Leading medieval historian Nicholas Orme draws together a vast range of sources and disciplines--history, literature, religion, and art--to create a picture of medieval childhood more comprehensive than ever before. Beginning with pregnancy and childbirth, Orme explores the succeeding stages of a child's growth to adulthood. He discusses baptism, the significance of birthdays and ages, and family life, including upbringing, food, clothes, sleep, and the plight of the poor. He also chronicles the misfortunes of childhood, from disablement, abuse, and accidents to illness and death. In a fascinating review of the special culture of children, the author describes their rhymes, toys, and games; their religion and relationship to the Church; and their learning to read the literature for children. The final chapter of the book explains how adolescents grew up and entered the adult world.
In this vivid recreation of childhood in the middle ages, Orme underscores the importance medieval society attached to childhood. Childhood was clearly regarded as a distinct cultural period in life, and children were considered both special and different from adults.
What was childhood like for medieval boys and girls in England? Nicholas Orme draws on a vast range of sources to create the most complete and vivid picture of childhood in the Middle Ages ever written.