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  • Published: 10 Jan 2015
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781848935228
  • Set ISBN: 9781848935228

Set Contents

The Girls of Merton College


When the heroine of The Girls of Merton College, Katherine Douglas, is first invited to visit the chapel of St Benet’s College, her response is enthusiastic: ‘Miss Silence will take me to church – to St Benet’s, where the most wonderful choir in the world sings. St. Benet’s! Have I not dreamed of it all my life!’ Katherine’s enthusiastic exclamation mirrors the purpose of The Girls of Merton College, which, more than any other text in this collection, is most clearly designed for a juvenile audience. It is clearly intended to provide both inspiration and information about higher education so that young readers can, like Katherine, begin dreaming about life in Cambridge. However, the phrase ‘have I not dreamed of it all my life!’ also highlights some important tensions surrounding the book and its author. Just like Katherine, Meade’s knowledge of Cambridge was based on a lifelong dream, but unlike her heroine, Meade herself never attended Girton and her knowledge remained aspirational. Unlike Fanny Johnson, however, Meade’s fame as a London-based children’s book writer meant that her lack of a university background was public knowledge. This has led not only to an unfair marginalization of The Girls of Merton College within university fiction, but has also resulted in a lack of attention towards the significance of her juvenile audience, who, like Meade, had not attended university yet and for whom books like The Girls of Merton College and Meade’s other university novels, A Sweet Girl Graduate (1891) and The Chesterton Girl Graduates (1913) served as an importance source of inspirational knowledge.

Volume Contents

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    Front Matter
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    Introduction: The Girls of Merton College
  • The Girls of Merton College
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      I
      Good-Bye!
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      II
      From Liverpool Street to Castlebridge
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      III
      A “D.O.,” and Her Rooms
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      IV
      Jocelyn Silence
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      V
      “I Have Lost the Money!”
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      VI
      An Idle Day at College
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      VII
      Poor Betty Meets with a Friend
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      VIII
      Sally Explains Matters Generally
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      IX
      Betty Comes Out in a New Light
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      X
      “Spiff” and the Lost Notes
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      XI
      Sally Speaks Her Mind and Patty Has a Brilliant Idea
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      XII
      “The Play's the Thing!”
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      XIII
      “Three Blind Mice.”
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      XIV
      Haughty Little Ruth and Her Confidante
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      XV
      The Cost of a Secret
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      XVI
      “It's ‘Bended Honour,’ You Know.”
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      XVII
      Hilary's Hopeless Entanglement; Betty Speaks Out
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      XVIII
      Sweetmeats, and a Confession
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      XIX
      “Dare to Be True!”
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    Back Matter