Consumerism and American Girls' Literature, 1860-1940 by Peter Stoneley

By Peter Stoneley

Why did the determine of ''the girl'' come to dominate the yank mind's eye from the center of the 19th century into the 20th? Peter Stoneley appears to be like at how girls have been fictionalized for the lady reader as methods of accomplishing a robust social and cultural presence. masking a variety of works and writers, this booklet is of curiosity to cultural and literary students.

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Sample text

While it would be easy to overstate the importance of these literary performances to the novel, their presence confirms the sense of the adolescent girl’s insurrectionary potential. 15 Perhaps the liberatory potential of performance is circumvented, in that Jo tries to conform – she tries to perform correctness. But how complete is this resolve on the part of author and character? Certainly the novel maintains some level of ambivalence with regard to the possibility of a transformed and pleasured self, and this is clear in the different fates of the sisters.

The journals did not print many reviews, but many of those that did appear were to “puff” books by the magazine’s own contributors, and often books that had already been serialized in the magazine. Similarly, letters columns tended to reprint letters from girls who wrote to praise an author or story from a previous issue. Even more ignominiously, the magazines actively sought to commercialize the very children they had pretended to protect, in that they made sales people out of their subscribers.

In her journal for 1 September 1843, the ten-year-old Alcott recorded that she had risen at five, taken a bath (“I love cold water”) and spent the rest of the day in lessons, chores, and exercise. She also mentions being read a story called “The Judicious Father,” which she then summarizes: How a rich girl told a poor girl not to look over the fence at the flowers, and was cross to her because she was unhappy. The father heard her do it, and made the girls change clothes. The poor one was glad to do it, and he told her to keep them.

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