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Growing Up in Nineteenth-Century IrelandA Cultural History of Middle-Class Childhood and Gender$
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Mary Hatfield

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198843429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198843429.001.0001

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Schooling Young Gentlewomen

Schooling Young Gentlewomen

Girlhood Education and the Experience of Boarding School

(p.126) 4 Schooling Young Gentlewomen
Growing Up in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Mary Hatfield

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers educational provision for Irish girls and the origins of Catholic female religious teaching orders in Ireland. The purpose and content of female education was based on a construction of the Irish girl as a vain and excitable creature. Her education was intended to curb the supposedly innate character flaws of girlhood. This chapter considers a selection of Loreto, Ursuline, and Dominican boarding schools to examine how institutions implemented the ideal of Catholic girlhood in practice. From academic curricula, disciplinary measures, daily schedules, and uniforms, the boarding school experience contained a variety of mechanisms for forming the behaviour of girls. Debates over female education and the convent boarding school offer an excellent example of how ideas of class, femininity, and religion interacted with evolving views of childhood.

Keywords:   boarding school, Catholic education, femininity, feminism, girlhood, respectability, Irish nuns, Loreto, Dominican, Ursuline, Irish education, religious education, class distinction

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