Women Writers and Educators during the Long Eighteenth Century
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This chapter outlines the portrayal of education for poor girls in fictional works of the time. Society’s sanction of female philanthropic endeavour in the area of education extended to women’s literary output. Some female writers were seen as authorities, on girls’ schooling particularly. Many championed education, admittedly rudimentary, for poor children. Some women’s work enjoyed large circulation, was widely used in schools and the work of several female writers was translated for sale overseas. Though much of the women’s work is either undervalued or ignored completely today, the women were in a strong position to influence their female readership regarding education. Their writing spanned several genres. Of interest to this study are improvement discourse and fictional works. It is under these headings that some of the women’s work is discussed in this chapter.