Reading Transatlantic Girlhood in the Long Nineteenth Century: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Reading Transatlantic Girlhood in the Long Nineteenth Century

1st Edition

Edited by Robin L. Cadwallader, LuElla D’Amico


264 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367274962
pub: 2020-05-15
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This collection is the first of its kind to interrogate both literal and metaphorical transatlantic exchanges of culture and ideas in nineteenth-century girls’ fiction. As such, it initiates conversations about how the motif of travel in literature taught nineteenth-century girl audiences to reexamine their own cultural biases by offering a fresh perspective on literature that is often studied primarily within a national context. Women and children in nineteenth-century America are often described as being tied to the home and the domestic sphere, but this collection challenges this categorization and shows that girls in particular were often expected to go abroad and to learn new cultural frames in order to enter the realm of adulthood; those who could not afford to go abroad literally could do so through the stories that traveled to them from other lands or the stories they read of others’ travels. Via transatlantic exchange, then, authors, readers, and the characters in the texts covered in this collection confront the idea of what constitutes the self. Books examined in this volume include Adelaide Trafton’s An American Girl Abroad (1872), Johanna Spyri’s Heidi (1881), and Elizabeth W. Champney’s eleven-book Vassar Girl Series (1883-92), among others.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Little Women" in a Transatlantic World

Section 1: Transatlantic Girlhood

Travel Girl: The Value of Physical Fitness in Susan Warner’s The Wide, Wide World Christiane E. Farnan

A Swiss-American Merger: Reading Johanna Spyri’s Heidi Within and Beyond the Canon of Nineteenth-Century American Sentimental Fiction

LuElla D’Amico and Tanja Stampfl

Anne’s Transatlantic Imagination: Reading as Travel in Anne of Green Gables

Amanda L. Anderson

Section 2: American Girls Abroad

"The delightful story was first in their minds": Dispelling Stereotypes While Indulging in Fictions in Elizabeth W. Champney’s Three Vassar Girls in England

Joyce E. Kelley

Girls’ Travel Fiction as Portable College: Elizabeth W. Champney’s Vassar Girls Series

Kathleen Chamberlain

"Is she a princess or only an American?": Transatlantic Travel and Identity Formation in Kate Douglas Wiggin’s PenelopeSeries

Brittany Biesiada

A World of Possibilities: Travel and Maturation in the Novels of Mary Jane Holmes

Lee Ann Elliott Westman

"everything, so indescribable, so never-to-be-forgotten": Reading Adeline Trafton’s An American Girl Abroad as a Cautionary Tale

Robin L. Cadwallader

Dreams of Youth: The Girl, the Writer, and the Nation in Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Letters from Abroad

Jordan L. Von Cannon

Section 3: Girlhood, Humane Offerings, and the Transatlantic Nature of Ideas

"Our humble words have gone over the seas": The Transatlantic Circulation of The Lowell Offering

Amber Shaw

A Transatlantic Queering of Kindness: Animality, Natural Childhood, and the Gendering of Humane Education

Kathryn Yeniyurt


About the Editors

Robin L. Cadwallader is a Professor of English and the Director of the Women’s Studies Program at Saint Francis University, Pennsylvania, where she teaches American literature, women’s literature, young adult literature, and theory.

LuElla D’Amico is an Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Women