Learning to laugh: children and being human in early modern thought

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

112 Citations (Scopus)


This volume of fourteen original essays written by historians and literary scholars explores childhood and children's books in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800. The collection contributes towards repositioning childhood as a compelling presence in early modern imagination - a ready emblem of innocence, mischief and playfulness. The essays present a wide-ranging basis for reconceptualizing the development of a separate literature for children as central to evolving early modern concepts of human development and socialization. Topics covered include: constructs of literacy as revealed by the figure of "Goody Two Shoes"; notions of pedagogy and academic standards; a reception study of children's reading based on book purchases made by Rugby school boys in the late eighteenth century; an analysis of the first international bestseller for children, the Abbe Pluche's "Spectacle de la nature"; and the commodification of child performers in Jacobean comedies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildhood and children's books in early modern europe, 1550 - 1800
EditorsAndrea Immel, Michael Witmore
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • childhood
  • early modern europe
  • children's books
  • early modern imagination


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning to laugh: children and being human in early modern thought'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this