Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies, Vol 14, No 1 (2009)

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Fast and Fashionable: The Girls in the Girl of the Period Miscellany

Kristine Moruzi

Abstract


The Girl of the Period Miscellany is particularly interesting in that it reworked the Girl of the Period from an object of disdain into a figure who might be humorous, but who was also engaging and sympathetic. Rather than being easily categorized and dismissed, the Girl of the Period found in the Miscellany has some characteristics that invite satire but she is also capable, entertaining, and attractive. Moreover, there is a significant difference between thinking about the article that spawned the phenomenon and the Miscellany itself. Appearing in the conservative Saturday Review, the article was provocative and seemingly intended to be so. In contrast, the Miscellany was designed to attract and retain a readership. This article will examine how and why the Miscellany is able to resist Linton’s simplistic construction of the Girl of the Period and instead depicts a variety of different girls who, although their behaviour might be more “modern,” are nonetheless worthy of respect and attention as pure, virtuous, middle-class girls. In addition, the publication of the Miscellany demonstrates the challenges of attracting as readers a group of girls and young women whose self-conception was rapidly shifting at the end of the 1860s.

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