Shurlee Swain
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Margot Hillel
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The gospel of child rescue
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The gospel of child rescue was a discursive creation, the impact of which would be felt for generations to come. The child rescue movement was largely coincident with the reign of Queen Victoria, and used her jubilees and death to reflect on its achievements with pride. The child rescue message was developed in so-called 'waif novels', the most famous of which was Hesba Stretton's Jessica's Last Prayer. The plight of childhood was a familiar topic, embraced by popular novelists and writers producing material specifically for children. The childhood of Christ as detailed in the gospels, and the special attention he paid to children during his ministry, also provided valuable material. The child rescue magazines provided the child rescuers with an outlet through which they could define and redefine the services they were delivering.

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Child, nation, race and empire

Child rescue discourse, England, Canada and Australia, 1850–1915


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