The Awkward Age in Womens Popular Fiction, 1850-1900: Girls and the Transition to Womanhood

Hardcover | December 21, 2004

bySARAH BILSTON

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This book demonstrates that 'the awkward age' formed a fault-line in Victorian female experience, an unusual phase in which restlessness, self-interest, and rebellion were possible. Tracing evolving treatments of female adolescence though a host of long-forgotten women's fictions, the bookreveals that representations of the girl in popular women's literature importantly anticipated depictions of the feminist in the fin de siecle New Woman writing; conservative portrayals of girls' hopes, dreams, and subsequent frustrations helped clear a literary and cultural space for the NewWoman's 'awakening' to disaffected consciousness. The book thus both historicises the evolution and mythic appeal of the female adolescent and works to receive suggestive exchanges between apparently diverse female literary traditions.

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This book demonstrates that 'the awkward age' formed a fault-line in Victorian female experience, an unusual phase in which restlessness, self-interest, and rebellion were possible. Tracing evolving treatments of female adolescence though a host of long-forgotten women's fictions, the bookreveals that representations of the girl in pop...

Sarah Bilston is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer, Yale University..

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:268 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.8 inPublished:December 21, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199272611

ISBN - 13:9780199272617

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. 'Launched into the ocean of life': navigating the transition to womanhood in 1850s fiction2. 'At the very turn of life' in 1860s fiction3. The transitional stage: theatrical girlhood in 1870s fiction4. 'Coming out': passages to womanhood in British and Anglo-Indian fiction, 1880-18945. On the threshold: female adolescent experience in fiction of the fin de siecle6. 'A scant but quite ponderable germ': girls' growth in Henry James's The Awkward AgeConclusion