By James Kincaid
The query ``What is a child?'' is on the center of the area the Victorians made. through the 19th century, there constructed a picture of the kid as a logo of purity, innocence, asexuality--the angelic baby probably now not thoroughly actual. but whilst, the kid can be a determine of myth, obsession, and surpressed wishes, as with regards to Lewis Carroll's Alice (or later, James Barrie's Peter Pan). This photograph of the kid as either natural and surprisingly erotic is a part of the mythology of Victorian tradition. Now to be had in paper, baby Loving lines for the 1st time the expansion of the Victorian--and modern--conceptions of the physique, the kid, sexuality, and the tales we inform approximately them. facing essentially the most intimate and troubling notions of the fashionable period--how the Victorians (and we, their descendents) think young children in the continuum of human sexuality--this paintings compels us to re-examine simply how we like the kids we like.
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Additional info for Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture
84 Clearly, silence can operate not as an opposite of what is said and done but in complex cooperation with them. It is just as possible that silence indicates indifference, ease, or an unwillingness to be drawn into arenas defined by others. It is in the nature of cranks to hog almost all of the discourse, when no one cares to issue rebuttals. Those who loudly claim that Elvis lives or that millions are worshipping Satan go largely unanswered; will future historians suppose that we were consumed with such things and thought alike on them?
52 But Freud's zeal cannot by itself explain our almost manic resistance, our fierce denial. For these, there are at least two quite plausible explanations advanced from within the power paradigm: first, that recognizing children as sexual beings means recognizing one's own children that way, which in turn may force us far too close to incestuous ponderings S3 ; second, that pedophiles respond to the politeness and helpfulness of children, attitudes, ironically, that we strive to promote. 54 In both these explanations, pedophilia emerges as a basic and subtly embedded threat to the power of parents, to the institution of the family, and to implicit hierarchies within the culture.
We were tempted to assume that "even the refusal to talk about it [sex] ... " 78 There is no reason to center sexuality in this way, to assume that it is the secret just because someone doesn't talk about it. Plenty of things are not talked about without necessarily qualifying as the secret, the metaphoric center of a field of discourse. Right now, for instance, I am not talking about my weight problems, deeply interesting, but, not even to me, the secret. But this centering of sex, even or especially when it does not seem to be present, has been occupying us for so long that its tie to silence can hardly be waived aside.
Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture by James Kincaid