Reports on feral children discovered in several parts ofEuropeattracted high levels of public attention during the eighteenth century. InEngland, the case of Peter the Wild Boy was hotly debated. His discovery in the forests ofHanoverled to the production of numerous pamphlets, sermons, paintings and wax figures. The fascination with the monstrous other also caused intense scientific debates on the topic of human nature, the human mind, or the boundaries between the human and the animal species, often blurring contemporary knowledge of human nature.
This paper discusses the cultural context related to the discovery of feral children in Enlightenment England, the scientific and philosophical debates prompted by Peter’s case, as well as its intense media and artistic representations. These concerns reveal the ways in which the marginalized feral child became a Georgian celebrity, a royal pet and an inhabitant ofKensingtonPalace.