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Michelle Smith

Monash University

Michelle Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies at Monash University where she teaches fairy tale and children's literature. One of her primary research areas is Victorian girls’ literature and culture and she is currently completing a study of female beauty entitled “Beautiful Girls: Consumer Culture in British Literature and Magazines, 1850–1914”. Michelle is the author of From Colonial to Modern: Transnational Girlhood in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Children’s Literature (1840-1940) (U of Toronto P, 2018, with Clare Bradford and Kristine Moruzi) and Empire in British Girls’ Literature and Culture: Imperial Girls, 1880–1915 (Palgrave, 2011). She has also co-edited four books in the fields of children’s literature and Victorian literature, including Affect, Emotion and Children’s Literature: Representation and Socialisation in Texts for Children and Young Adults (Routledge, 2017, with Moruzi and Elizabeth Bullen).). Her research has been published in journals including Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Women's Writing, Victorian Periodicals Review, English Literature in Transition, The Lion and the Unicorn, Children's Literature in Education, Continuum, Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature and in numerous edited collections. Michelle has published opinion pieces in the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, the Washington Post, New Statesman, and The Drum and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programmes.

Media Articles: 81

Friday essay: how 19th century ideas influenced today's attitudes to women’s beauty

In the 19th century, a range of thinkers attempted to pinpoint exactly what it was that made a woman beautiful. Newly popular women’s magazines began to promote ideas about the right behaviours, attitudes, and daily routines required to produce and maintain beauty. The scientific classification of plants and animals - influenced by Charles Darwin - also shaped thinking about beauty. It was seen to be definable, like a plant type or animal species. Increasingly, sophisticated knowledge of medicine and anatomy and the...

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From The Getting of Wisdom to Heartbreak High: Australian school stories on screen

Going to school is one of the few life experiences almost everyone shares. From the time children began to be educated in small groups in Britain, there were school stories in popular culture, beginning with what many consider the first novel for children, Sarah Fielding's The Governess; or, The Little Female Academy (1749). The emphasis in early school stories was on moral and intellectual learning, which the reader was supposed to...

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Clementine Ford reveals the fragility behind 'toxic masculinity' in Boys Will Be Boys

In Boys Will Be Boys, Australia’s most prominent contemporary feminist, Clementine Ford, works toward dismantling the idea that feminism is harming men. Instead, she proposes — as feminists have consistently maintained — that a patriarchal society can be as harmful and destructive for individual men as it can be for women. Ford considers how "toxic masculinity" is shaped from the moment of a boy’s “gender reveal” to her closing chapter, which – simply and powerfully — lists the names of more than 50 famous men who have...

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Friday essay: why YA gothic fiction is booming - and girl monsters are on the rise

An 18-year-old girl prepares to die to enable the birth of her half-vampire baby. Her spine is broken in the process, and the fanged baby begins to gnaw its way through her stomach before the girl's husband performs a vampiric Cesarean section. This is a crucial moment in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novel series, published from 2005 to 2008. Meyer's books heralded a new, and continuing, wave of Gothic fiction for Young Adult readers, which...

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#MeToo and #TimesUp move off the red carpet and towards activism at 2018 Oscars

The Oscars telecast is typically a traditional affair: passionate speeches played out by the orchestra, hit-or-miss opening monologues, and the certainty of being overly long. This year’s ceremony brought with it potential challenges to convention. In light of the #MeToo and #Times Up movements against sexual harassment, it was unclear who would be welcome at the ceremony, what women would wear on the red carpet, and what truth bombs might be dropped in...

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Government Grants: 2

Concluding January 1, 2013

From Colonial to Modern: Transnational Girlhood in Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian Print Cultures (1840-1940)

From Colonial to Modern:Transnational Girlhood in Australian, New Zealand & Canadian Print Cultures

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Academic Publications: 58

January 1, 2019

Beauty Advertising and Advice in the Queen and Woman

January 1, 2018

Affect, Emotion, and Children’s Literature:

January 1, 2018

From Colonial to Modern

January 1, 2018

Victorian Environments

January 1, 2018

'That's the Great Puzzle: Who Am I?' Jonathan Miller’s Alice in Wonderland (1966)

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