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The Woman Reader 1837–1914$
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Kate Flint

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198121855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198121855.001.0001

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Reading at School

Reading at School

(p.118) 6 Reading at School
The Woman Reader 1837–1914

Kate Flint

Oxford University Press

The growth of women’s education during the nineteenth century has been well chronicled. The claim that change at the level of secondary and tertiary study for girls and women was the most marked of all the developments which took place in nineteenth-century education was justifiably advanced in the Preface to one of the earliest of these accounts, Christina Bremner’s Education of Girls and Women in Great Britain (1897). Reading, inevitably, was a central topic when discussing education, whether the education in question took place in the home schoolroom, a private girls’ school, or according to state provision. Debates focused on what knowledge it would or would not be useful for a girl to possess; on how literature should best be studied; and on the relation — indeed the division — within a curriculum between formal and leisure reading. This chapter shows how the issue of reading, and, in particular, the special aptitudes and skills associated with the reading of literature, supplied an arena in which current sociological and medical debates could be seen as having a practical application.

Keywords:   women, reading, education, literature, skills, aptitudes, girls

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