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© 2016

Adolescent Girlhood and Literary Culture at the Fin de Siècle

Daughters of Today

Benefits

  • Uses diverse materials, from novels and magazines to psychological studies

  • Contextualises adolescent girlhood as a distinct but complex cultural category at the end of the nineteenth century

  • Demonstrates the importance attached to defining, characterising and naming adolescent girlhood at the fin de siècle

Book

About this book

Introduction

This book examines the construction of adolescent girlhood across a range of genres in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. It argues that there was a preoccupation with defining, characterising and naming adolescent girlhood at the fin de siècle. These ‘daughters of today’, ‘juvenile spinsters’ and ‘modern girls’, as the press variously termed them, occupying a borderland between childhood and womanhood, were seen to be inextricably connected to late nineteenth-century modernity: they were the products of changes taking place in education and employment and of the challenge to traditional conceptions of femininity presented by the Woman Question. The author argues that the shifting nature of the modern adolescent girl made her a malleable cultural figure, and a meeting point for many of the prevalent debates associated with fin-de-siècle society. By juxtaposing diverse material, from children’s books and girls’ magazines to New Woman novels and psychological studies, the author contextualises adolescent girlhood as a distinct but complex cultural category at the end of the nineteenth century.

Keywords

New Woman Feminism Victorian Childhood Nineteenth-Century

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and Creative WritingAberystwyth UniversityCeredigionUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Beth Rodgers is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Aberystwyth University, UK. She has published articles on Victorian girls’ literature and culture and is co-editor of Children’s Literature on the Move: Nations, Translations, Migrations (2013), which received the Children’s Literature Association’s honour award in 2015.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“This book makes an interesting and original contribution to the fields of Victorian literature, periodical studies, and girls’ studies. Rodgers makes a compelling argument that adolescent girlhood was a distinct category in late nineteenth-century British literature and print culture by examining a rich variety of sources that are not often examined together.” (Kristine Moruzi, Deakin University, Australia)