The Unmarried Mother in German Literature (Volume 19); With Special Reference to the Period 1770-1800

9781151620750: The Unmarried Mother in German Literature (Volume 19); With Special Reference to the Period 1770-1800
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1917. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER II THE HUMANITARIAN REVOLT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 1 Led by Frederick the Great and his contemporaries, the exponents of the Age of Enlightenment, the writers of the last three decades of the eighteenth century turned their attention to the discovery and elimination of the causes of unmarried motherhood and consequent infanticide rather than to devising means of punishing it. Foremost among the causes of so much illegitimacy was the amazing prevalence of prostitution, which went hand in hand with a constant decrease in the number of marriages and an increase of infanticide. One of the contestants for the Mannheim prize suggested that the question should read: "not how can infanticide be prevented, but which are the best means to stop prostitution?"1 Lenz in his essay "Ueber die Soldatenehen" severely scored the attempts to punish illegitimate sexual commerce, for that would only result in "a concealment of sexual irregularities and a consequent inability to judge its dangerousness." "These destructive habits," he wrote, "enervate citizens and soldiers, marriages are becoming rare, and our progeny is miserably poor."2 List in his contest essay asserted that "in our days prostitution is the fashionable vice," and a poem in the Deutsches Museum expresses the same opinion. Part of it runs Ob du junger Unschuld Kranze raubst, Dir Betrug und Ehebruch erlaubst, Ob dich heimlich Neid und Hochmut qualen, Das entehrt dich Erstgebornen nicht; Denn die Mode duldet schwarze Seelen, Aber keine Flecken im Gesicht.3 1 See Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek, 85, 156L Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, "Ueber die Soldatenehen. Nach der Handschrift der Berliner Koniglichen Bibliothek zum ersten Male herausgegeben von Karl Freye." Leipzig, 1914, p. 22f. 'Deutsches Museum, 17...

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