The English Girl Schools' Story: Subversive and Imaginative Constructs of a Traditional Conservative Literary Text


Humphrey, Judith


PhD, D/Literature, (Open University)UK

This research monograph is an analysis of the English girls’ school-story, not mainly as an aspect of children’s literature, but as a genre which, despite the conservatism of the surface text, deeply challenges and subverts traditional societal constructs and provides images of liberation and self creation for girls and women. The work examines the alternative life-views, role–models and “possibilities of becoming” offered by the texts. It also explains why they have assumed such an importance (as Orwell pointed out in regards the English boys’ school literature in the lives of boys and men) in the lives of so many adult women. Dr. Humphrey also discusses the effect of war, shortages, sport/games, imperial decline and evolving notions of love and passion in these texts. This is the one of the few studies that provides a wide ranging discussion on so many aspects of this subject and it speaks to the power and possibility of this often dismissed, predictable and risible literature as no other research work has done.

Chapter 1:’Third-Rate Literature’: A Review of the Critical Literature
Chapter 2: ‘A Passion for Learning’: The Intellectual Women: Education in the texts
Chapter 3: ‘A Rattling Good Yarn’: The Active Woman: Plot in the texts
Chapter 4: ‘Who is Sylvia?’: The Questioning Woman: Character in the texts
Chapter 5: ‘Playing the Game’ : The Strong Woman: Games in the texts
Chapter 6:‘My God---It’s the Head!’: The God-Woman: Images of Deity and Re-Visions of Power in the texts
Chapter 7:’Love…Love…Love’: The Woman-Loving Woman: Female Friendships in the texts

English Literature, 19thc-20thc,Periodical literature, Children’s’ Literature, Gender and Sexuality, Popular Culture Studies,
Release Date: 
Cloth: 978-1-933146-50-8 / 193314650-8
Trim Size: 
6 x 9

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