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Savage Girls and Wild Boys

A History of Feral Children

Michael Newton

Picador

Savage Girls and Wild Boys is a fascinating history of extraordinary children—brought up by animals, raised in the wilderness, or locked up for long years in solitary confinement.

Wild or feral children have fascinated us through the centuries, and continue to do so today. In this study, Michael Newton investigates a number of infamous cases. He looks at Peter the Wild Boy, who gripped the attention of Swift and Defoe, and Victor of Aveyron, who roamed wild in the forests of revolutionary France. He tells the story of a savage girl lost in the streets of Paris, of two children brought up by wolves in the jungles of India, and of a Los Angeles girl, who emerged from thirteen years locked up in a room to international celebrity. He describes, too, a boy brought up among monkeys in Uganda; and in Moscow, the child found living with a pack of wild dogs.

Savage Girls and Wild Boys examines the lives of these children and of the adults who "rescued" them, looked after them, educated, or abused them. How can we explain the mixture of disgust and envy that such children can provoke? And what can they teach us about our notions of education, civilization, and man's true nature?

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Praise for Savage Girls and Wild Boys

"Newton is a supple, intelligent writer, more an essayist than a scholar."--Laura Miller, Salon.com

"Extraordinary...[shows] great courage." --Rocky Mountain News (Denver)

"Newton is a consummate storyteller...[a] detailed study." --Publishers Weekly

"This is a richly referenced compilation."--Library Journal

"A collection of six, extraordinary individual histories, beautifully navigated."--The Evening Standard (UK)

"[An] absorbing study...he shows a keen and sensitive understanding."--The Sunday Times (UK)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Newton

  • Michael Newton has taught at University College London and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. This is his first book. He currently teaches at Princeton University. He divides his time between London and Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Michael Newton
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    Savage Girls and Wild Boys

    A History of Feral Children

    Michael Newton

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    Picador

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