Important acquisitions

Ausfuehrliches Leben und besondere Schiksale eines wilden Knaben

Author "Dr Milsintown"
Title Ausfuehrliches Leben und besondere Schiksale eines wilden Knaben
Imprint Frankfurt und Leipzig: s.n.
Date of Publication 1759
Language German
Notes This German work is supposedly by a 'Dr Milsintown', an Edinburgh physician, who records how, in the summer of 1756, while on the Hebridean island of Barra, he discovered a feral African boy on a beach, who he presumes to have been a survivor of a shipwreck off the northern Irish coast. Milsintown endeavoured, without success, to humanise the boy and turn him into a Christian. He also operated on the boy's cleft palate but the child died soon after the operation. Shortly before his death he was baptised and given the name Edward. The text of the work is supposedly translated via French from the original Scots ("even more difficult to understand than English"), but no such source texts have been identified. There were a number of examples of feral children being discovered in Europe in the 18th and early 19th century. Their behaviour and the attempts to turn them into civilised human beings formed the subject of books and scholarly articles. The apparent existence of wild human beings, completely unaware of the norms of civilised society, was a subject which fascinated Enlightenment readers, who at the time were questioning traditional values and educational practices. It is not clear whether the Barra boy was the product of someone's imagination or was a real person.
Shelfmark AP.1.217.28
Reference Sources Bookseller's notes
Acquired on 29/04/17
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