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Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

English - American Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Carlin

Second Advisor

Randall Knoper

Third Advisor

Joyce Avrech Berkman

Subject Categories

American Literature | American Studies | Women's Studies

Abstract

Chapter Four begins to detail the shift from postbellum activism to consumerism as the prevalent ideology for girls by examining Edward Stratemeyer's innovations in the series book market. Stratemeyer combined the traditional series format with production techniques borrowed from story paper and dime novel publishers. He was also one of the first to recognize adolescents as a distinct market group with money to spend. Finally, Chapter Five examines the Patty Fairfield, Grace Harlowe, and Outdoor Girls series for the ways in which they communicate both excitement and anxiety about the new culture of consumption. Girl heroines exercise agency as consumers and develop individuality through their purchases, gaining a considerable amount of individual autonomy while they lose some of their status as spiritual leaders. Girl heroines learn to be responsible consumers and enjoy the pleasures of individual consumption, but series authors also warn against desiring money and material goods simply for their own sake.

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