‘This Girle Hath Spirit’: Rewriting Girlhood Reading
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This chapter interrogates early modern concepts of girlhood through an analysis of how educational reading produced gendered and aged concepts of childhood. It explores the literacy instruction of young women at school and at home through an evaluation of the books recommended to girls and of young women’s responses to their reading in their school exercises. Focusing on the translation exercises of Elizabeth Cary (The Mirror of the World, c. 1597) and Rachel Fane (c. 1620s), it builds on recent theorizations of the creative potential of early modern girls to ask how these authors’ early reading experiences shaped their girlhoods.