Jennifer Drake Askey’s book provides a valuable contribution to a number of fields within German studies: from gender studies, women’s literature, and cultural studies to youth and children’s literature. Askey combines historical, cultural, and literary research to create a well-rounded and yet multi-faceted picture of the way in which female gender ideology not only developed but was intentionally crafted and dissem- inated in late nineteenth-century Germany. Askey investigates through close readings the institutional framework of girls’ education as represented by curricular documents and, most particularly, texts such as school readers as well as the popular genres of Ma ̈ dchenliteratur . Texts read and taught within the context of girls’ formal education and fiction written for leisure reading share a common goal: to provide an interpretive framework through which young female readers are instructed to envision and fashion themselves into a specifically feminine gender construct that is presented as instru- mental in the development of the new German nation-state. The notion of femininity put forth in these texts is highly idealistic and rests firmly on emotional qualities, to which intellectual and physical attributes are subordinated.
|State||Published - Dec 2015|