In this engaging and eloquent history, Ruby Lal traces the becoming of nineteenth-century Indian women through a critique of narratives of linear transition from girlhood to womanhood. In the north Indian patriarchal environment, women's lives were dominated by the expectations of the male universal, articulated most clearly in household chores and domestic duties. The author argues that girls and women in the early nineteenth century experienced freedom, eroticism, adventurousness and playfulness, even within restrictive circumstances.
Although women in the colonial world of the later nineteenth century remained agential figures, their activities came to be constrained by more firmly entrenched domestic norms. Lal skillfully marks the subtle and complex alterations in the multifaceted female subject in a variety of nineteenth-century discourses, elaborated in four different sites-forest, school, household and rooftops.
Ruby Lal is an acclaimed historian of Mughal India. Her first book Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World won much acclaim, including numerous reviews in major international magazines, such as The New York Review of Books, The Economic and Political Weekly, Revue Historique, and The Times Literary Supplement. The Western edition of her second book, Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness was reviewed extensively in academic journals and magazines with wider intellectual concerns. Her latest work is a creative non-fiction book, Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Johan (2018). She teaches at Emory University and divides her time between Atlanta and Delhi.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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