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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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‘A scant but quite ponderable germ‘

‘A scant but quite ponderable germ‘

Girls’ Growth in Henry James’s The Awkward Age

Chapter:
(p.212) 6 ‘A scant but quite ponderable germ‘
Source:
The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900
Author(s):

SARAH BILSTON

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272617.003.0007

This chapter demonstrates that James's The Awkward Age may be placed within a much longer tradition of writing about adolescence and girlhood, a tradition that also comprises an intriguing prehistory to the famous theories of adolescence advanced by Hall and Freud at the beginning of the twentieth century. It suggests that the interval between girlhood and womanhood had to be bridged in order to explain the process of physical and psychological change that girls undergo during their teens. It demonstrates how a girl's growth, especially during her awkward age, might be affected by the people surrounding her.

Keywords:   awkward age, adolescence, girlhood, womanhood, growth, Henry James

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