Excessive Children: Textual Filiation and the Command of the Other

  • D. C. Teel
Part of the Studies in Literature and Religion book series (SLR)

Abstract

It could be said that the study of the child as a subject of discourse is in its infancy. With literary representations only arising in the last two hundred years and scientific discourse only giving focused treatment of the child in the last one hundred years, children seem to have had a marginal existence at best within the Western textual tradition. Peter Laslett’s familiar quote bears repeating: ‘these crowds and crowds of little children are strangely absent from the written record& There is something mysterious about the silence of all these multitudes of babes in arms, toddlers and adolescents, in the statements men made at the time about their own experience’.2

Keywords

Corn Europe Posit Defend Dial 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality, vol. II, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990) pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost, p. 104. Quoted in John Boswell’s, The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988) p. 6.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Joseph Hawes and N. Ray Hiner, Children in Historical and Comparative Perspective (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991) pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Two fine examples of this area of study are Lloyd de Mause, ‘The Evolution of Childhood’, in Tire History of Childhood (London: Souvenir Press, 1976) pp. 1–73Google Scholar
  5. Linda Pollock’s Forgotten Children: Parent-Child relations from 1500–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). While de Mause stresses the discontinuity of the cruel treatment of children in the past compared with the modern experience, Pollock suggests a historical continuity in parental sentiment towards children.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    John Boswell, The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance (New York: Pantheon Books) pp. 26–7. Hereafter cited in text as (KS). Also, see, David Archard Children: Rights and Childhood (New York: Routledge, 1993) pp. 23–5.Google Scholar
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    Lévinas, ‘Diachrony and Representation’, in Richard A. Cohen (trans.) Time and the Other (Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1987) p. 99ff.Google Scholar
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    See also, Emmanuel Lévinas, Time and the Other, trans. Richard A. Cohen (Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1987) pp. 39ff. Hereafter cited in text as (TO).Google Scholar
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  20. 42.
    Steven G. Smith, The Argument To the Other: Reason Beyond Reason in the Thought of Karl Barth and Emmanuel Lévinas (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983) p. 170.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 205. Emmanuel Lévinas, ‘The Trace of the Other’, in Mark C. Taylor (ed.), Deconstruction in Context: Literature and Philosophy (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983) p. 358.Google Scholar
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    Emmanuel Lévinas, Totalité et Infini (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1961) p. 195.Google Scholar
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • D. C. Teel

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