Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Life of the Governess

From English Historical Fiction Writers:
As we’ve already seen, governesses were a necessary feature in upper class households with children. The position came to be regarded as oppressive, socially ambiguous and somehow shameful. This is especially true of the Victorian era, when middle class and tradesman families who had acquired new wealth wanted governesses for their children as a sign of their new status (and to help their children move into a higher social sphere). In many ways, this created a new tension in that, at the same time, there was a plethora of unattached gentlewomen seeking employment who went to work for people whom they might never have considered a social equal. Within the household, a governess had the social strain of being kept “in her place” combined with the need to provide their female students with less intellectual stimulation and more accomplishments, creating a singularly isolated and intellectually arid situation. (Read more.)

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