[Milton-L] source

Margaret Thickstun mthickst at hamilton.edu
Thu Jan 29 14:31:54 EST 2004


Anne Bradstreet wrote poems on the deaths of various grandchildren; 
Katherine Philips wrote at least two poems on the death of her infant 
son; the anthology Kissing the Rod has many "dead baby" poems. 
Edward Taylor doesn't name names in "On Wedlock and the Deaths of 
Children," but he   Although people did not necessarily name 
stillborn babies or babies who died shortly after birth, they did 
name babies for baptism. Bradstreet's poems are about toddlers, 
mostly.  The poem to "Elizabeth" addresses the toddler directly, with 
"Farewell." Philips's son, named Hector, lived a little more than a 
month.  Jonson's daughter was six months old by the time she died, so 
long enough for parents to expect/hope that she would last.

I know Louis Schwartz is supposed to be writing a book, but since 
he's been contributing to this list as a way of playing hookey, maybe 
he has more info.

There was a very interesting piece in Natural History about ten years 
ago about maternal bonding to infants depending on the mother's 
assessment of the baby's survivability (research done in a Brazilian 
slum).--Margie

>My understanding is that in cultures with high infant mrotality, that
>parents commonly do not name or address mortal infants.  Jonson's poems
>have always struck me as odd for that reason.  But the pattern of not
>addressing the deaths of close relatives may be an echo of that
>distancing.
>
>Boyd Berry
>

-- 
Margaret Thickstun
Professor of English
Hamilton College
198 College Hill Rd
Clinton, NY 13323
(315)859-4466


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