Emily's Reviews > Two College Girls

Two College Girls by Helen Dawes Brown
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's review
Jun 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: college-girls, fiction
Read from June 19 to 28, 2011

This 1886 novel is one of the earliest works of fiction set at a woman's college (Vassar in this case, although the college is not referred to by name), and one of the best. It follows two very different girls through their college careers. Quiet, studious New Englander Edna Howe and her roommate Rosamund Mills, a vivacious girl from Chicago, seem like an ill-matched pair. At first mutually disdainful of each other, they come to develop an understanding and a respect that grows into a friendship that, in a rather contrived way, is soon tested by a petty misunderstanding that clouds most of their junior year. However, the actual plot of the story seems secondary to what for me is the main attraction of this book, which is the ethos of the college experience. The girls in this book are very conscious of being lucky to be in a beautiful place where they are encouraged to develop their minds. Their love of the college is palpable. As is the case with many early works of college girl fiction, the students seem to have a sense of being pioneering "new women" that is tempered and constrained by a sense of urgency not to expose the college to public scorn, by behaving indecorously or unconventionally in any way. Brown herself seems to be trying to reassure her readers, that a college education, fine and noble as it is, will not make a woman unfit for marriage.

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Reading Progress

07/31 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Emily I'm glad you like the review, but it's a work in progress. I hope to write some more about what I liked about it...

My copy is actually older than this one (but sadly with a partially detached binding).

Emily So, does yours have a different cover?

Yes, but not a strikingly photogenic one.

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