Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Unwanted ChildThe Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joel F. Harrington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226317274

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226317298.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 October 2021

The Unmarried Mother

The Unmarried Mother

(p.21) One The Unmarried Mother
The Unwanted Child
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the story of the unmarried Apollonia Vöglin, who, early in the morning of Saturday, January 18, 1578, gave birth in secret to a baby girl, which she later admitted strangling. Seventeen days later she was arrested for the crime and thereupon began the fight to save herself from the executioner's axe. Apollonia's sad tale is a variation on a familiar literary topos: an unmarried girl, impregnated and jilted by a young cad, is forced by shame to hide her pregnancy, and finally, in desperation, murders her newborn child. In early modern Germany, a confluence of several demographic and social developments threatened to make infanticide a more common reality than at any time since antiquity. Most notably, an economic downturn from the mid-sixteenth century on exacerbated the late marriage tendency already common among Western Europeans.

Keywords:   unmarried women, pregnant women, unwanted pregnancies, unwed mothers, infanticide

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.