The Complete Governess, a manual for governesses


The Complete Governess was written to provide schools or private governesses with guidance on how to master a comprehensive range of subjects, from geography and science to feminine 'accomplishments'.

Qualifications of a governess and Jane Eyre

As expectations for female education evolved throughout the 19th century, both families and published works placed increasingly high demands on governesses to obtain a wide range of accomplishments and knowledge.

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847), whose protagonist writes her 'autobiography' in the same decade in which The Complete Governess was published, makes reference to this issue. Reflecting on the list of 'qualifications' she advertised some twenty years earlier – 'She is qualified to teach the usual branches of a good English education, together with French, Drawing, and Music' – Jane comments, in an aside, '(in those days, reader, this now narrow catalogue of accomplishments, would have been held tolerably comprehensive)'.

Full title:
The complete Governess; a course of mental instruction for ladies
1826, London
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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