University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018


This investigation considers a key motif for early modern religious writing - the saintly or morally exemplary child - as depicted in both the narratives of actual children’s lives as well as in Defoe’s The Family Instructor. Its function in dissenters’ writing poses fundamental questions concerning the spiritual ‘usefulness’ of reading about others’ lives and the interrelationship between ‘religious’ writing and more imaginative or ‘literary’ texts. The question of authenticity in depictions of children’s piety, and the profiles of influential and prolific dissenting ministers who deploy the saintly child motif, including James Janeway and Thomas Brooks, are also considered.


© 2018 British Society for Eighteenth‐Century Studies.

ID: 11877091