mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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holistic manipulative multi-modal musical memetic. (55)

Savage Girls & Wild Boys by Michael Newton.

Fey, without language,
raised in basements, & forests
Feral, pre-modern.

Rather than a discussion about feral children, which is what I thought I was getting into (& wanted) this is more a history of a few cases. In fact, more a series of essays on the various investigators of the wild children. I wasn't a big fan-- dry without being academic, the book is studiously footnoted, but the annotations are largely sources for quotes. Quotations & citations pepper the book, but they lead back to antique notes & musing rather than to scholarly or scientific discussion. Besides that, Newton has a tendency to make wildly unsupportable statements without blinking, things like:

"Burnett suffered from the abiding fault of many overthoughtful men: his life too readily turned into abstractions to shelter him from the blunt sufferings of experience." (68)
"This latter text is really a grant application-- the greatest ever written..." (124)
"However, radicalism traditionally flourishes in more liberal regimes." (174)

Along with him ascribing qualities to the paintings & pictures in the insert, & taking them as assumed. The guy in that painting has "cold, untroubled eyes"? If you say so. The pictures in the middle are the most haunting thing in the book-- while there are turns talking about Tarzan & Mowgli, the philosophical ramifications of the wild children that don't really go anywhere, the marrying of picture to case is well chosen, especially the picture of Genie (a girl kept prisoner in her room). I would perhaps be more charitable if I was reading this book for a particular case, or at least with the knowledge that it was more an exploration of the cases themselves than the subject of those cases-- viz, the kids. Still, a very pretty book.
Tags: books, haiku

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