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The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster – Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster: Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment

Julia V. Douthwaite


This study looks at the lives of the most famous “wild children” of eighteenth-century Europe, showing how they open a window onto European ideas about the potential and perfectibility of mankind. The book recounts reports of feral children such as the wild girl of Champagne (captured in 1731 and baptized as Marie-Angélique Leblanc), offering a fascinating glimpse into beliefs about the difference between man and beast and the means once used to civilize the uncivilized. A variety of educational experiments failed to tame these feral children by the standards of the day. After telling their st ... More

Keywords: wild children, Europe, civilization, progressive childrearing, animated statues, Rousseau, Sade, Defoe, Mary Shelley, enlightenment

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780226160559
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226160573.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Julia V. Douthwaite, author