Children and Sexuality
From the Greeks to the Great War
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
Children and Sexuality probes the hidden relations between children and sexuality in case studies from the Greeks to the Great War. The cases revived extend from Alcibiades to Lewis Carroll, from the Ancient Greeks to the Victorians, each recounted with scrupulous vigilance to detail and nuance. The authors do not blindly accept the current cant about rampant child seduction as a recent phenomenon. Nor do they collectively agree that abuse occurred historically primarily in the absence of sufficient protection of childrens' rights. They demonstrate that much scandal of the past indulged adult fantasies about adult sexuality and loss of innocence, especially the quest for possession of perfect bodies.
The book is grounded in history and literature, biography and social relationships, yet also engages with current debates in literary and cultural history, and with the new history of childhood. It goes a long way toward demonstrating that considerations of children and sexuality have moved on from what they were when the American psychohistorian Lloyd deMause wrote about it a generation ago..