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Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India

The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness

Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India by Ruby Lal
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In this engaging and eloquent history, Ruby Lal traces the becoming of nineteenth-century Indian women through a critique of narratives of linear transition from girlhood to womanhood. In the north Indian patriarchal environment, women's lives were dominated by the expectations of the male universal, articulated most clearly in household chores and domestic duties. The author argues that girls and women in the early nineteenth century experienced freedoms, eroticism, adventurousness and playfulness, even within restrictive circumstances. Although women in the colonial world of the later nineteenth century remained agential figures, their activities came to be constrained by more firmly entrenched domestic norms. Lal skillfully marks the subtle and complex alterations in the multifaceted female subject in a variety of nineteenth-century discourses, elaborated in four different sites - forest, school, household, and rooftops.
Cambridge University Press; February 2013
248 pages; ISBN 9781139854375
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Title: Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India
Author: Ruby Lal
  • News
Opening new horizons - Calcutta Telegraph
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 15:04:37 -0800
Calcutta TelegraphOpening new horizonsCalcutta TelegraphRuby Lal's engaging new book is an experiment in history writing. ...