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Childhood and the ClassicsBritain and America, 1850-1965$
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Sheila Murnaghan and Deborah H. Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199583478.001.0001

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Ancient History for Girls

Ancient History for Girls

(p.167) 5 Ancient History for Girls
Childhood and the Classics

Sheila Murnaghan

Deborah H. Roberts

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the strategies used to make history texts and works of historical fiction set in antiquity appealing to girl readers of the first half of the twentieth century, who were increasingly exposed to books with active girl heroines. Despite the severe constraints on ancient women and girls, such writers as Dorothy Mills, Caroline Dale Snedeker, Erick Berry, and Naomi Mitchison contrive to provide their readers with independent, resourceful ancient counterparts. They achieve this by filling in the silences of the ancient record, setting their stories on the spatial and temporal margins of the classical world, and devising plots in which girls act in the place of absent or inadequate brothers.

Keywords:   girls’ reading, historical fiction, Dorothy Mills, Caroline Dale Snedeker, Erick Berry, Naomi Mitchison

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