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Parenting in England 1760-1830Emotion, Identity, and Generation$
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Joanne Bailey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565191

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565191.001.0001

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The Embodied and Providing Parent

The Embodied and Providing Parent

(p.48) 2 The Embodied and Providing Parent
Parenting in England 1760-1830

Joanne Bailey

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses upon the corporeality and materiality of representations of parental care. Mothers were associated with physically caring for their infants and sick children, though fathers’ bodies were also the medium of their love through tears, hugs and embraces during the age of sensibility. This was celebrated in the popular cultural motif of the labourer's return home to his family. The parental bosom was frequently evoked through maternal breastfeeding and the nursing father. Society also praised labouring fathers and mothers who worked hard for their children, seeing their children's love as suitable reward. Men's provision for their families was demanded, but this chapter shows that provision was difficult to fulfil for many fathers. Also it was considered to be a maternal obligation in several social ranks.

Keywords:   fathers, mothers, children, parental care, sensibility, labourer's return, breastfeeding, nursing father, provision

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