Socialising the Child in Late Medieval England, c. 1400-1600

November 2012
284 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
York Medieval Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS054000, HIS015000

Socialising the Child in Late Medieval England, c. 1400-1600

Merridee L. Bailey

An investigation into a variety of texts providing guidance for teachers, parents, and children themselves.
The question and procedures of integrating children into wider society during the medieval and early modern period are debated across a wide range of contemporary texts, in both print and manuscript form. This study takes as its focus the ways in which vernacular literature (including English courtesy poems, incunabula and sixteenth-century printed household books, grammar school statutes, and pedagogic books) provided a guide to socialising children. The author examines how the transmission and reception of this literature, showing how patterns of thought changed during the period for parents, teachers, and young people alike; and places children and family reading networks into the context of debates on the history of childhood, and the history of the book.

Merridee L. Bailey is a social and cultural historian of late medieval and early modern England. She is an Associate Member of the Faculty of History, University of Oxford.

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Table of Contents

Courtesy Poems
Virtue and Vice
Sixteenth-Century Books
The School
Appendix A: English Vernacular Courtesy Poems
Appendix B: Incunabula
Appendix C: Sixteenth-Century Books
Appendix D: Educational Sources


A very useable overview and well-thought-out interpretation of a large corpus of texts very important to the history of English literature and elite culture. SPECULUM

This is an excellent continuation of the recent interest in the history of the child. ... A well-researched and solidly argued study. MEDIAEVISTIK 26

Bailey's mastery of the didactic and proscriptive texts she has studied is exhaustive and commendable, made even more impressive by the sheer number of manuscripts and incunabula she consulted. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

[The author's] comprehensive research provides a foundation for future scholars to work in a rich field that rewards close analysis. MEDIUM AEVUM

Offers important new ways of understanding the construction of late medieval and early modern society from childhood into adulthood. PARERGON

An important study of continuities and shifts in the literature that shaped children and attitudes toward children and young people in Late Medieval and sixteenth-century England. CHILDHOOD IN THE PAST

[M]akes a number of significant contributions to the existing historiography. [...] a well-researched and thoughtfully argued monograph which I hope receives significant attention from social and cultural historians of late medieval and early modern England. REVIEWS IN HISTORY

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