This book presents an entirely fresh view of the upbringing of English children in upper and professional class families over three centuries. Drawing on direct testimony from contemporary diaries and letters, the book revises previous understandings of parenting and what it was like to grow up in the period between 1600 and 1914.
Using advice literature which set out developing ideologies of childhood, gender and parenting, the book explores the separate but complementary roles of mothers and fathers in raising their children. Male upbringing is discussed in terms of schooling, female through the moral and social context of a domestic schoolroom dominated by a governess. Boys were trained for the world, girls for society and marriage. Rare teenage diaries surviving from the Georgian and Victorian periods show teenagers speaking for themselves about education; relationships with parents, siblings and friends; and their social, class and gender identity.
Anthony Fletcher has been professor of history at the Universities of Sheffield, Durham, and Essex, and director of the Victoria County History at London University. His previous books include Gender, Sex, and Subordination in England, 1500-1800. He lives in the UK.