Savage Girls and Wild Boys
A History of Feral Children
By Michael Newton
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312300937, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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 a haunting and hugely readable study, Michael Newton deftly investigates a number of infamous cases. He looks at Peter the Wild Boy, who gripped the attention of Swift and Defoe, and at Victor of Aveyron, who roamed wild in the forests of revolutionary France. He tells the story of a savage girl lost on 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 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?
Michael Newton teaches at University College London and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. This is his first book.