How Mothers Shaped Successful Sons and Created World History: The School of Infancy

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This is the first book to address the urgency of a mother’s desire to convey to her child what matters most to her and in particular to her son. It is by this vehicle of cultural transmission that women have principally acted in history to convey to their sons the legacy of their cultural experience.In tracing the cultural formation of sons by their mothers, this book opens a window on the intergenerational transmission of culture.


“This is a remarkable work in that, (as it makes clear from the onset), its raison d’être is that somehow, “the maternal contribution to the cultural formation of sons has been overlooked”. It reins in this lapse on the part of psychologists, sociologists and other social scientists, those who have merely tinkered with this context in the past…Her study is highly illuminating and bold, and advances scholarship profoundly with its conclusions and analysis.”
-Dr. Glen Reynolds,
University of Sunderland, UK

Table of Contents


NOTES to the Introduction

Chapter One: The Mother’s Legacy
The Maternal Monopoly
The School of Infancy
Maternal Circles
Cruel Mothers
Conclusion: Forgotten Voices
NOTES to Chapter One

Chapter Two: Songs Their Mothers Taught Them
Conclusion: The Songs They Sang
NOTES to Chapter Two

Chapter Three: The Maternal Muse
Seneca and Marcus Aurelius
Castiglione and Kepler
Bacon and Herbert
Madame de Staël and Joanna Schopenhauer
Engles and Turgenev
Wilde and Whitman
Williams, Proust, and Nabokov
Freud and Scholem
Conclusion: Maternal Muses
NOTES to Chapter Three

Chapter Four: Saintly Sons, Holy Mothers
Maternal Spirits
Saintly Sons
Holy Mothers
Conclusion: Mothers and Spirits
NOTES to Chapter Four

Chapter Five: Hearts and Heroes
Dismembered Poland
Patriot Games
Italy Resurgent
Sons of Mother India
Conclusion: Holy Grails
Notes to Chapter Five

Chapter Six: Survival of the Fittest
Struggles in the Harem
Son Promotion in Rome: from Republic to Empire
The Battle for Sons in the Latin Middle Ages
Royal Mothers and Sons from Renaissance to Revolution
Nobles and Burghers: Preparation for Power
Conclusion: Power Through the Family
NOTES to Chapter Six

Chapter Seven: Pathways to Power
Old World Rulers
American Moms
Code Pink
Conclusion: A Different Legacy
NOTES to Chapter Seven

Conclusion: Lights Off in the Nursery
NOTES to Conclusion

Appendix: The Mother and Son Dyads

Appendix: Bibliographical Notes
Themes and Contexts
Mothers and Sons

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