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Free Thinking Essay: Kids With Guns

New Generation Thinker Emma Butcher looks at what we learn about war from the writing of child soldiers in The Battle of Trafalgar and the childhood writings of the Bronte family.

New Generation Thinker Emma Butcher looks at what we learn about war from the writing of child soldiers in The Battle of Trafalgar and the childhood writings of the Bronte family who were avid readers of newspaper accounts of battles and memoirs of soldiers. Does their fantasy fiction show an understanding of PTSD and the impact of battle on fighters before such conditions were diagnosed?

Dr Emma Butcher, literature historian at the University of Leicester, uncovers the history of Robert Sands, a powder monkey in the Battle of Trafalgar,. Does his experience muddy our sense of what childhood is ?

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio

Recorded with an audience at Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

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21 minutes

Podcast