This anthology brings together for the first time a collection of autobiographical accounts of their childhood by a range of prominent nineteenth-century literary women. These are strongly individualised descriptions by women who breached the cultural prohibitions against self writing, especially in the attention given to psychologically formative incidents and memories. Several offer detailed accounts of their inadequate schooling and their keen hunger for knowledge: others give new insights into the dynamics of Victorian family life, especially relationships with parents and siblings, the games they invented, and their sense of being misunderstood. Most contributors vividly describe their fears and fantasies, together with obsessive religious practices, and the development of an inner life as a survival strategy. This collection makes vital out-of-print material available to scholars working in the field of women’s autobiography, the history of childhood, and Victorian literature. The volume will also appeal to general readers interested in biography, autobiography, the history of family life, education, and women’s writing: read alongside Victorian women’s novels it offers an intriguing commentary on some of their key themes.
'As well as being a useful resource for scholars of the nineteenth century in general, and of women's autobiography in particular, Records of Girlhood is a consistently entertaining and illuminating volume which deserves to be widely read.' Journal of Victorian Culture
Contents: Introduction; Amelia Opie; Dorothea Herbert; Mary Martha Sherwood; Mary Somerville; Lady Caroline Lamb; ’Charlotte Elizabeth’; Anna Jameson; Mary Howitt; Sara Coleridge; Harriet Martineau; Fanny Kemble; Elizabeth Sewell; Frances Power Cobbe; Charlotte M. Yonge; Annie Besant; Index.
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.