The Girl’s Own
Cultural Histories of the Anglo-American Girl, 1830–1915

Edited by Claudia Nelson and Lynne Vallone


“The diversity of sources cited in this book and its conclusion that “the Girl” is ambiguous, a concept unable to be categorized, make it an important addition to the literature on nineteenth-century women.”
History of Education Quarterly

“Collectively, the essays in this valuable book make a powerful case that the Victorian girl is an important subject for study, one that scholars should not overlook.”
Victorian Studies

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The eleven contributors to The Girl’s Own explore British and American Victorian representations of the adolescent girl by drawing on such contemporary sources as conduct books, housekeeping manuals, periodicals, biographies, photographs, paintings, and educational treatises. The institutions, practices, and literatures discussed reveal the ways in which the Girl expressed her independence, as well as the ways in which she was presented and controlled. As the contributors note, nineteenth-century visions of girlhood were extremely ambiguous. The adolescent girl was a fascinating and troubling figure to Victorian commentators, especially in debates surrounding female sexuality and behavior. The Girl’s Own combines literary and cultural history in its discussion of both British and American texts and practices. Among the topics addressed are the nineteenth-century attempt to link morality and diet; the making of heroines in biographies for girls; Lewis Carroll’s and John Millais’s iconographies of girlhood in, respectively, their photographs and paintings; genre fiction for and by girls; and the effort to reincorporate teenage unwed mothers into the domestic life of Victorian America.
Page count: 312 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $28.95

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Claudia Nelson is a professor of English at Texas A&M University. She is author or editor of numerous books including Family Ties in Victorian England and Little Strangers: Portrayals of Adoption in America, 1850–1929. Lynne Vallone is a professor of childhood studies and English at Rutgers University. She is the author or editor of numerous works including Disciplines of Virtue: Girls’ Culture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and The Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature.