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The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900Girls and the Transition to Womanhood$
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Sarah Bilston

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272617

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272617.001.0001

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‘Coming out‘

‘Coming out‘

Passages to Womanhood in British and Anglo-Indian Fiction, 1880–1894

Chapter:
(p.126) 4 ‘Coming out‘
Source:
The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900
Author(s):

SARAH BILSTON

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272617.003.0005

This chapter begins by discussing several didactic writings that simultaneously accepted and even sympathized with girls' yearnings for greater freedom of action; signalling a break with the attitudes of the past, however, by questioning the value of conventional feminine past times. It then shows how other writers increasingly searched for a way of reconciling family-based ideals of womanhood with advice on how actually to enter a wider sphere, whether through education and employment or through travel and work within the empire. It discusses the anxieties inflicted by a number of ways in which girls in the transition to womanhood are represented. It discusses how travelling changes the social status of a young woman.

Keywords:   wider-sphere, womanhood, family-based ideals, travelling, education, Britain, Anglo-Indian

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