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The Governess; or, The Little Female Academy

2.63  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Published in 1749, the story of Mrs. Teachum and the nine pupils who make up her “little female academy” is widely recognized as the first full-length novel for children, and the first to be aimed specifically at girls. The daily experiences of Mrs. Teachum’s charges are interwoven with fables and fairy tales illustrating the book’s underlying principles, which draw on con ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published September 26th 2005 by Broadview Press Inc (first published 1749)
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2.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  144 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Gemma (Passion for Novels)
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gemma (Passion for Novels) by: Birmingham City University
Shelves: university
I was unsure whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars as the characters were very well developed even though we had little information about them it gave you a sense of caring for the characters.

The story was made up of stories of nine children in which Fielding incorporated all their misgivings to establish a enviroment in which to teach the reader (namely children) morals and ideals of their attitudes in the world and what would make them happy. Fielding provides the enviroment of a school and
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic
I had to read this for my eighteenth century lit class last semester. This book is considered one of the first novels written specifically for children, and it is fascinating in how different it is from the children's books we read today. It is incredibly didactic, but quite entertaining in its own right. The book reflects many of Locke's viewpoints on the education of children.
Jan 21, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: school
Sarah, younger sister of Henry Fielding, wrote the first English novel intended explicitly for children. She and Henry lived together and made their living writing until he married and resumed practicing law to provide for his children. There is some thought that the siblings may have sometimes written bits of one another's books. She was also a biographer, critic, and translator.
Kristen Mohr
Like a combination of Canterbury Tales and A Little Princess, but boring. I would have rather just had the stories without the unnecessary framing device to make sure the readers understand the subtext. Especially disappointed considering the book started with a fist fight.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was insufferable but interesting. It was the first full-length novel for children and the first specifically for girls and, on learning this, and especially because it was written by a woman, I thought it would be a fascinating and empowering read. It is so difficult to read, however, because the tone is so different to what I am used to. From the first page the writer clarifies that she thinks that the point of reading is to extract morals from within. The novel takes place over ten d ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t like it, I found it flat and boring. It’s classed as a children’s book from the past, so it’s very different to the books made for children now. But it does have morals for the story.

But the characters were well developed, there wasn’t too much detail about each one but you can tell their reasonings for their actions.
I’m not likely to pick this up ever again and this is one I had to due to it being on my children’s lit reading list.

That’s all lovelies!
Kiely Marie
Oct 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
this wasn't a very good book and i didn't enjoy it at all! it's pretty cool that it was the first ever book written for children but i'm glad children's books and school stories have come a long way since then.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Just no.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can see myself really enjoying this book as a child. As an adult, not so great and probably two stars but seeing as how it's meant for children...
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: academic
. . . we must, if we would be happy, do always what is right, and trust for the Consequences. ~ Sarah Fielding
Feb 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: literally no one, including people in the 18th century
Imagine having nothing but this and the Bible to read. Absolutely excruciating.
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book but am used to reading novels from the late 1800s and early 1900s. I imagine it would be far too overtly moralistic for the average twenty-first century reader. Although this is a children's book, I would not recommend it for children today.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Still very moralistic in tone, the Governess does manage to tell the realistic story of a group of young girls, each with their own faults, trying to be better. The fairytales that are used to instruct them were quite interesting from a gender point of view, as well as simply quite entertaining.
Lana Del Slay
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
It was neither here nor there, a charming morality tale. Obviously heavy-handed; what else would you expect of a novel that was meant to instruct its readers? For all that, it's cute enough to be worth a browse.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting look at what was thought to be suitable literature for children in the 18th century. More moralistic than entertaining, this is more of a lesson in historical gender ideals than book for entertainment.
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-pre1900
Very moral based and at times hard to read but once you get past that it's actually a decent book.
Sep 26, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: Eh
This book, in all its 130-page glory, is pure torture. I can't force myself to finish it. I'm a disgrace.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Originally published in 1749.
rated it did not like it
Nov 16, 2011
Sinéad Morgan
rated it it was ok
Aug 14, 2018
Laura Ricci
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Jan 26, 2014
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Jul 24, 2010
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Sep 05, 2012
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Jan 23, 2018
Lynda Calder
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Jul 03, 2014
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Sarah Fielding was a British author and sister of the novelist Henry Fielding. She was the author of The Governess, or The Little Female Academy (1749), which was the first novel in English written especially for children (children's literature), and had earlier achieved success with her novel The Adventures of David Simple (1744).