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Abstract

Book review by Edward Malin.

Shattuck, Roger. The Forbidden Experiment. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1980.

A mysterious boy emerged from a forest in southern France in early 1800. Although he was human in form and walked upright, his habits were those of a young male animal. Roger Shattuck offers an account of this fascinating episode in intellectual history. He examines the relationships that developed among the boy, soon named Victor, Madame Guerin, the woman who fed and washed him, and Itard, the tutor who defied his colleagues who believed the boy was hopelessly retarded. Shattuck helps readers form many of the questions that still haunt parents, special education teachers, guidance counselors, and all students of human behavior to this day: How do children acquire language? How do deaf and mute children learn? Can children who have been neglected or abused ever learn to trust the world? Like a true-life tale of adventure rolled into a detective story, Roger Shattuck's account of the Wild Boy of Aveyron is a sensitive account.

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