James A Schultz has brought a historiographic approach to nearly two hundred Middle High German texts—narrative, didactic, homiletic, legal, religious, and secular. He explores what they say about the nature of the child, the role of inherited and individual traits, the status of education, the remarkable number of disruptions these children suffered as they grew up, the rites of passage that mark coming of age, the various genres of childhood narratives, and the historical development of such narratives.
"This engaging interdisciplinary study succeeds well in its ambition of interpreting texts from the distant past through the lens of cultural studies."—Speculum
"Two important conclusions . . . seem to be secure. First Ariès's view that the Middle Ages had no concept of childhood is simply no longer tenable. Second, Schultz provides strong evidence which confounds any normative view of 'Western' childhood; concepts of childhood are culturally conditioned and historically transient."—Times Literary Supplement