Adolescent Girlhood and Literary Culture at the Fin de by Beth Rodgers

By Beth Rodgers

This publication examines the development of adolescent girlhood throughout a number genres within the last many years of the 19th century. It argues that there has been a preoccupation with defining, characterising and naming adolescent girlhood on the fin de siècle. those ‘daughters of today’, ‘juvenile spinsters’ and ‘modern girls’, because the press variously termed them, occupying a borderland among adolescence and womanhood, have been obvious to be inextricably hooked up to past due nineteenth-century modernity: they have been the goods of adjustments occurring in schooling and employment and of the problem to standard conceptions of femininity provided by way of the lady query. the writer argues that the transferring nature of the fashionable adolescent lady made her a malleable cultural determine, and a gathering element for plenty of of the time-honored debates linked to fin-de-siècle society. via juxtaposing various fabric, from children’s books and women’ magazines to New girl novels and mental stories, the writer contextualises adolescent girlhood as a special yet advanced cultural type on the finish of the 19th century.

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Extra resources for Adolescent Girlhood and Literary Culture at the Fin de Siècle: Daughters of Today

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25. A selection of articles from this debate in the Nineteenth Century are reprinted in Nelson’s A New Woman Reader (2001). 32 B. RODGERS 26.  Pearsall Smith, ‘A Reply from the Daughters II’, Nineteenth Century 35 (1894): 443. 27.  5. 28.  228. 29.  115. 30.  234. 31.  122. 32. G.  Appleton and Company, 1914, originally published in 1904), vol. I, p. xv. 33. Hall, Adolescence, vol. I, p. xviii. 34. Hall, Adolescence, vol.  574. 35. Hall, Adolescence, vol.  624. 36.  13. 37. Ferrall and Jackson’s book produces some illuminating readings of adolescence, but in this study I suggest that the particular symbolic value of the modern girl, together with the specificities of the contexts associated with girlhood, mean that adolescent girlhood needs to be considered on its own terms and not together with boyhood, which is the approach taken by Ferrall and Jackson.

81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. CHAPTER 2 Classifying Girlhood, Creating Heroines: Aspiration, Community and Competition in the Girl’s Own Paper and the Girl’s Realm In the ranks of the middle-class girls the most varied types are to be found. There is the daughter of the millionaire, preparing herself to lead the brilliant, many-sided life of the wealthy, and there, too, is the wage-earning girl beginning in her teens the struggle with life. 1 Much of the above excerpt from Marian Leslie’s ‘All Sorts and Conditions of Girlhood’, published in Girl’s Realm in 1899, resonates with the debates about what constitutes girlhood raised so far in this book, as well as those yet to come.

21 at this time? Some of the texts under discussion attempt to euphemize the challenging physical aspects of adolescent girlhood rather than confront them directly. In Chap. 2, for example, I explore how images of Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne read, in many ways, as an allegory for the onset of menarche. Victorian girls’ magazines tend not to speak directly about the physical and biological realities of puberty (although they may hint more explicitly towards them in correspondence columns), but nevertheless we may wonder to what extent these factors also play a role in determining the beginning and end points of girlhood, and to what extent some contemporary texts at least attempt to reflect this.

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