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Consumerism and American Girls' Literature, 1860-1940

Overview

Why did the figure of "the girl" come to dominate the American imagination from the middle of the nineteenth century into the twentieth? In Consumerism and American Girls' Literature, Peter Stoneley looks at how women fictionalized for the girl reader ways of achieving a powerful social and cultural presence. He explores why and how this scenario of buying into womanhood became, between 1860 and 1940, one of the nation's central allegories, one of its favorite means of negotiating social change. From Jo March to ...
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Overview

Why did the figure of "the girl" come to dominate the American imagination from the middle of the nineteenth century into the twentieth? In Consumerism and American Girls' Literature, Peter Stoneley looks at how women fictionalized for the girl reader ways of achieving a powerful social and cultural presence. He explores why and how this scenario of buying into womanhood became, between 1860 and 1940, one of the nation's central allegories, one of its favorite means of negotiating social change. From Jo March to Nancy Drew, girls' fiction operated in dynamic relation to consumerism, performing a series of otherwise awkward maneuvers: between country and metropolis, "uncouth" and "unspoilt," modern and anti-modern. Covering a wide range of works and writers, this book will be of interest to cultural and literary scholars alike.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] thoughtful study of how the image of the girl was used in late 19th and earul 20th century American culture.... Stoneley's thoughts on girls and consumerism are noteworthy." Choice

"A worthwhile and useful exploration of an important subject." American Historical Review

"Peter Stoneley's study of fiction written for and about girls makes a significant contribution to the ongoing investigation of the role that American literature played in the rise of a consumer culture between the last few decades of the nineteenth century and the middle of the twentieth." Journal of the Midwest MLA

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Peter Stoneley is Lecturer in the School of English at Queen's University, Belfast. He is the author of Mark Twain and the Feminine Aesthetic (Cambridge, 1992).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: "Buying into womanhood" 1
Pt. I Emergence
1 The fate of modesty 21
2 Magazines and money 37
3 Dramas of exclusion 52
Pt. II Fulfillment
4 Romantic speculations 61
5 Preparing for leisure 71
6 Serial pleasures 90
Pt. III Revision
7 The clean and the dirty 107
8 "Black Tuesday" 122
Conclusion 141
Notes 145
Index 165
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