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Records of Girlhood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Women's Childhoods (The Nineteenth Century Series) Hardcover – 26 Oct 2000


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Review

'As well as being a useful resource for scholars of the nineteenth century in general, and of women's autobiography in particular, Records of Girlhood is a consistently entertaining and illuminating volume which deserves to be widely read.' Journal of Victorian Culture

About the Author

Valerie Sanders, Department of English, University of Hull, UK

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x917ab018) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x918134c8) out of 5 stars Middle-Class Girlhoods 20 April 2001
By Tanja M. Laden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In an effort to comprehend the practice of writing memoirs as modern women, we must reflect upon and understand the climate of those women who have written near-forgotten personal histories, splendidly resurrected in this anthology of nineteenth century girlhoods. This compilation of recollections stands in direct contrast to those of nineteenth century male writers, for whom the practice of writing autobiographies was more acceptable. Among the varied female voices in this volume- from Amelia Opie to Sara Coleridge to Fanny Kemble- one dominant theme emerges, that of the Victorian feminine generation's unsatisfied emotions inevitably channeled through creative media, mainly fiction. Male contemporaries frowned upon women's practice of writing autobiographies. However, as this volume suggests, this did not preclude women from recording their girlhoods in vivid prose, arguably more imaginative and colorful than the writing of their male counterparts. Frustrations with schooling, familial tensions, and a banquet of fears emerge through these women's words, and they offer a peculiar kind of consolation for modern-day aspiring female writers in that the problems are not so different from those plaguing female diarists today. The uniformity of class and status of the women included in this volume is occasionally a disadvantage, for it prevents the reader from understanding what the experiences of women of other ethnicities and class may have been like in comparison. But the difficulty in the project of retrieving mere upper-middle class women's writings is evidenced in this anthology, which may hopefully be used as a platform to archive the writings of further underrepresented voices in volumes to come.
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