The Wild Boy of Aveyron
by Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard

This is the description of the author's attempt to educate and civilize a boy who had lived alone in the wild until he was about 10 years old. The boy, who the author named Victor, eventually learned to recognize written words and the objects they represent, but he never learned to speak. Victor showed dramatic improvement in his sense of touch. When he arrived, he was impervious to hot and cold. He also learned to discriminate tastes. His sense of smell was apparently more developed then normal people's and he retained it. He also retained a desire to run free in the woods and he always preferred water to any other beverage.

His history before capture is unknown, so any conclusions based on this book are speculative. The author shows a systematic and thoughtful approach to his task, probably more so than a modern psychologist could. The events described took place in France around 1800.

Year Read: 1992

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