Coming of Age in Elite Families, c. 1200-c. 1650

Wilkinson, Louise (2021) Coming of Age in Elite Families, c. 1200-c. 1650. In: Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture. Oxford Handbooks Online . Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190920753

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Abstract

A lively and vibrant aristocratic youth culture existed in Western Europe in the medieval and early modern periods. As a time of life for elite adolescents, “Youth” was characterized by their first experiences of responsibility, but also elements of new-found freedom from direct parental control, especially for those who moved away from home to experience life, and finish their education in great households and courts, and at schools and universities. For the landed aristocracies of England, France, and Germany, who formed the wealthy echelons of medieval and early modern society, the expectation and, in some cases, realisation of access to property and inheritance exercised profound influences on young men and women, as did instruction and training for adulthood, growing authority over the lives of others, and opportunities for social exchanges with their peers. In this chapter, youth culture is explored via the shared experiences and interests common to young adults. In spite of their growing responsibilities and continuing education, young lords and ladies were allowed, and found, time to interact with one another, form friendships with their social equals, bond through certain rites of passage, enjoy communal leisure pursuits and recreational activities, and undergo courtship and preparations for marriage. These were the key characteristics of elite youth culture as it was enjoyed by young elite men and women, all of which helped to shape the adults whom they later became.

Keywords:Aristocracy (social class), Medieval aristocracy, Medieval and early modern youth culture, Medieval and early modern education, Medieval and early modern upbringing
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V142 Modern History 1600-1699
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V141 Modern History 1500-1599
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:45246
Deposited On:18 Jun 2021 09:31

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