Girls with ‘go’: female homosociality in L. T. Meade’s schoolgirl novels

Whitney Standlee

in Irish Women'S Writing, 1878-1922

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2016 | ISBN: 9780719097584
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9781526115225 | DOI:
Girls with ‘go’: female homosociality in L. T. Meade’s schoolgirl novels

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Through her promotion of homosocial bonding between females in her schoolgirl novels, L. T. Meade offers a compelling counter-narrative to the rhetoric surrounding denominational schooling that served to divide girls in Ireland in the late nineteenth century. This chapter highlights Meade’s advocacy not only of women’s education but also of equal access to and treatment within education. By promoting homosocial bonds between females and critiquing and punishing dissension, she also posits female solidarity as the most advantageous expedient to a productive and fulfilled life. In doing so, she writes not of lone females who are anomalies in society but of groups of women who are the prospective agents for change.

Keywords: L. T. Meade; Children’s literature; Female Homosociality; Education

Chapter.  8130 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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