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Sister of the type: the feminist collective in Grant Allen's The Type-Writer Girl


Sister of the type: the feminist collective in Grant Allen's The Type-Writer Girl

Cameron, S. Brooke (2012) Sister of the type: the feminist collective in Grant Allen's The Type-Writer Girl. Victorian Literature and Culture, 40 (01). pp. 229-244. ISSN 1060-1503

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1060150311000337


Grant Allen's short novel The Type-Writer Girl (1897) opens with a problem. In the first lines we are introduced to our narrator who, we are promptly told, is unemployed: “I was twenty-two and without employment. I would not say by this that I was without occupation. In the world in which we live, set with daisies and kingfishers and undeciphered faces of men and women, I doubt I could be at a loss for something to occupy me” (23; ch. 1). As the second half of this quotation suggests, our narrator is confident that this problem of employment is quite easy to solve, for all around is a world teeming with life, and as we learn by the start of the next paragraph, our narrator does indeed have an occupation, something to fill his/her time. Our narrator is a storyteller: “I cannot choose but wonder who each is, and why he is here. For one after another I invent a story. It may not be the true story, but at least it amuses me” (23; ch. 1). So the real problem, beyond the question of employment, emerges as a question of narrative subject. Who is this narrator, the subject of this first-person story? We do not even know if our narrator is male or female. It is as if he/she is lost amidst that sea of “undeciphered faces of men and women.” Connected to this problem of subject is also the question of form. The first-person point of view would suggest an autobiographical narrative. Yet any expectations of an autobiographical account are immediately undermined in chapter two when we learn that our narrator is named “Juliet Appleton.” This narrative subject does not match the novel's signed author, “Olive Pratt Rayner.” So we are again left with questions: what kind of narrative is this, who is the real subject of this story, what is the form of this narrative, and does our narrator find employment?

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Article
Authors:Cameron, S. Brooke
Journal or Publication:Victorian Literature and Culture
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1017/S1060150311000337
ID Code:974439
Deposited On:03 Jul 2012 17:57
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:38
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