978-0-571-20139-6 / 9780571201396

Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children


Publisher:Faber and Faber



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About the book:

Stories of abandoned children and those children supposedly raised by animals have long fascinated us, as the legend of Romulus and Remus makes clear. More recent stories also capture the imagination. The Wild Boy of Aveyron, caught running naked in woods in provincial France in 1800, has been the subject of biography and fiction and the attempt by the physician Jean Itard to educate the boy formed the basis for a memorable film by Truffaut. The appearance of Kaspar Hauser in the streets of early 19th-century Nuremberg, after a mysterious 16-year imprisonment in a dark and tiny cellar, evoked fantastic tales of a lost prince and rightful heir cruelly shut away. He too was the subject of a film--a visionary and visually inventive masterpiece by the German director Werner Herzog. Michael Newton's Savage Girls and Wild Boys: a History of Feral Children tells these stories and many more like them--wolf-children in 1920s India, a Russian boy living on the streets of Moscow and scavenging with a pack of wild dogs, a boy brought up by monkeys in Uganda. Much more than just a frisson-inducing account of the weird and the bizarre, Savage Girls and Wild Boys is an ambitious exploration of what these stories (and our fascination with them) tell us about the shifting boundary between nature and civilisation.--Nick Rennison

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