Sensibilité à la vie et à la mort des enfants en bas âge dans les mentalités et la littérature du XVIe siècle

Abstract : This article deals with sensitivity to young children's lives and deaths during the Renaissance, from both an anthropological and chronological point of view. We will make a comparison with Antiquity in which Emperor Nero mourned for the loss of his three month old baby, which Roman historians found excessive, as well as with the twentieth century, based on Camille Laurens's book, Philippe, recalling the mourning of a young child who was only a few hours old. We will study the parents' natural suffering, particularly the mother's. Then, making use of historical research, we will recall how children became more and more important to adults during the Renaissance, but that mothers rarely expressed their own grief in that time. One may be surprised by Montaigne's relative insensitivity to this phenomenon, even though demographic facts may explain part of it ; however, this is the paternal discourse of a man who is concerned with his children, especially male, when they become old enough. In contrast to this attitude we find – in the first part of the century – the much more sensitive wonder, tenderness, and enthusiasm expressed by Clément Marot and Rabelais about the young child's first steps and first words.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 10:47:10 AM
Last modification on : Friday, December 6, 2019 - 1:38:12 AM

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Isabelle Dubois. Sensibilité à la vie et à la mort des enfants en bas âge dans les mentalités et la littérature du XVIe siècle. Histoire culturelle de l'Europe, ERLIS, MRSH-Université de Caen Normandie, 2017, Regards portés sur la petite enfance en Europe. ⟨hal-02395005⟩

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