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CMY papers at Victorian Transformations conference

This page gathers together information on papers relevant to Charlotte M Yonge which were presented at the Victorian Transformations Conference held 24-25 May 2023 in Leeds. The conference was organise by the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies and the CMYF.

Julia Courtenay had kindly shared her two papers:

Miss Yonge and Friends: Charlotte M. Yonge as a Collaborative Author
Tradition, Textualisation and Transmission: Charlotte M. Yonge, Thomas Hardy and the Christmas Mummers

The following abstracts of papers related to CMY are shared with the permission of their authors:

Esther Hu: Charlotte Yonge (1823-1901)’s Transformations: Gender, Genre, and Victorian MissionsThe nineteenth century was the “Great Century” in missionary expansion with Victorian Britain being the main sender of missionaries to China. By the late nineteenth century, about two-thirds of the missionaries in China were from the British Isles.  Since the Treaties of Nanjing (1842), Tianjin (1858) and Beijing (1860) following the Opium Wars eventually permitted missionaries to buy property and preach anywhere in the Chinese Empire, Christianity’s relationship with China in the nineteenth century, unlike that of the Jesuits in the sixteenth, was ultimately connected with imperialism. Anti-foreign and particularly anti-missionary sentiment fueled the Boxer Uprising (1898-1901) and what has traditionally been viewed as its precursor, the Gutian (Kutien) Incident of 1895.  
Charlotte Yonge’s deep knowledge and understanding of Victorian Missions had extended beyond New Zealand, Melanesia, and South Africa to China and the Far East by the late nineteenth century.  Through closely examining one of Yonge’s late works published the year before her death, The Making of a Missionary OR Day Dreams in Earnest: A Story of Mission Work in China (1900), I explore how Yonge’s novella reflects the evolving view of Victorian Missions during her era, especially in relation to gender.  Research questions include: How does Yonge bring developments in gender roles up to date in The Making of a Missionary (Gibson 1999; Dennis 2022) when the word “missionary” was a male noun up to the 1870s (Cunningham 1993)? How do her characters demonstrate her understanding of shifting attitudes towards Victorian Missions from the perspective of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel (S. P. G.) (Hu 2022) and the Church Missionary Society (C. M. S.)? Finally, what continuities of theme in her novella does a little known essay of Yonge’s published in 1894 on the history of English female missionaries reveal?
Susan Walton : A good schoolbook is a very profitable article till it is superseded, as it is sure to be in these days of progress” . How Charlotte Yonge adapted her writing of history textbooks in line with educational developmentsCharlotte Yonge’s reputation as a writer of contemporary and historical fiction tends to overshadow the significance of her lifelong involvement in writing history textbooks. From the publication of Kings of England in 1848 to that of Cameo IX, The Eighteenth Century in 1899, Yonge was continuously involved in writing and publishing a variety of non-fiction history books. What had started as a ‘desire to tell good tales to my school children’ in her local village schools, expanded over the decades to include books addressed to different audiences, ages, and social classes. When the Education Act of 1870 made the schooling of children an on-going political issue, it became a time of anxiety and crisis for the schools of the Church of England National Society, now in competition with the newly-established non-denominational Board Schools. Subsequent Education Codes legislated on what should be taught and how it would be administered. History as a subject was initially excluded from the curriculum, but historical stories were recommended for inclusion in Reading textbooks. The National Society commissioned Yonge to write a six-part illustrated series of English History Reading Books for Standards 1 to 6. When new Education Codes in the 1990s allowed History to be taught as an option, Yonge wrote a 2nd series, the Westminster Historical Reading Books, to double as a Reader or as a History textbook. In a crowded market, Yonge’s reputation, authority, and skill ensured the success of both these series, which were bought not only by National Schools but also by Board Schools and were thus used by thousands of children nationwide.