Transforming Girls: The Work of Nineteenth-Century Adolescence

Author:   Julie Pfeiffer
Publisher:   University Press of Mississippi
ISBN:  

9781496836274


Pages:   158
Publication Date:   15 September 2021
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   In Print   Availability explained
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Transforming Girls: The Work of Nineteenth-Century Adolescence


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Overview

Transforming Girls: The Work of Nineteenth-Century Adolescence explores the paradox of the nineteenth-century girls' book. On the one hand, early novels for adolescent girls rely on gender binaries and suggest that girls must accommodate and support a patriarchal framework to be happy. On the other, they provide access to imagined worlds in which teens are at the center. The early girls' book frames female adolescence as an opportunity for productive investment in the self. This is a space where mentors who trust themselves, the education they provide, and the girl's essentially good nature neutralize the girl's own anxieties about maturity. These mid-nineteenth-century novels focus on female adolescence as a social category in unexpected ways. They draw not on a twentieth-century model of the alienated adolescent, but on a model of collaborative growth. The purpose of these novels is to approach adolescence-a category that continues to engage and perplex us-from another perspective, one in which fluid identity and the deliberate construction of a self are celebrated. They provide alternatives to cultural beliefs about what it was like to be a white, middle-class girl in the nineteenth century and challenge the assumption that the evolution of the girls' book is always a movement towards less sexist, less restrictive images of girls. Drawing on best-selling novels in the United States and Germany (where this genre is referred to as Backfischliteratur), Transforming Girls reframes our understanding of the history of the girls' book and provides insightful readings of forgotten bestsellers. It also outlines an alternate model for imagining adolescence and supporting adolescent girls. The awkward adolescent girl-so popular in mid-nineteenth-century fiction for girls-remains a valuable resource for understanding contemporary girls and stories about them.

Full Product Details

Author:   Julie Pfeiffer
Publisher:   University Press of Mississippi
Imprint:   University Press of Mississippi
ISBN:  

9781496836274


ISBN 10:   1496836278
Pages:   158
Publication Date:   15 September 2021
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   In Print   Availability explained
This item will be ordered in for you from one of our suppliers. Upon receipt, we will promptly dispatch it out to you. For in store availability, please contact us.

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Transforming Girls has the potential to shift the way we think about girlhood reading and adolescence while carving out a different kind of conceptual space for adolescent girls-one that fosters growth while embracing the 'messiness' of the transition to adulthood. By situating the backfisch into a backdrop of well-established texts and critical lenses, Pfeiffer gently but insistently asks scholars to reconsider many of the critical assumptions our understandings of adolescent and nineteenth-century literature have been built upon.


Author Information

Julie Pfeiffer is professor of English at Hollins University. She is editor of Children's Literature, the annual of the Children's Literature Association.

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