Summarise the concern in both 19th century Europe and India about women reading novels. What does this suggest about how women were viewed?
Women in the 19th century Europe and India were readers and writers of novels. Novels became popular among women because these gave a new conception of womanhood. Many people feared that now women would neglect their traditional role as wives and mothers and homes would be in disorder.
It was felt that women, instead of being quiet, well behaved and remaining in the background, would become independent, assertive, in control of their lives and earn public recognition. Writers like Rokeya Hossein in her novels showed the need for women to reform their condition by their own actions. Hannah Mullens, a Christian missionary and the author of the Karuna o Phulmonir Bibaran (1852), informed her readers that she wrote in secret.
In the 20th century, Sailabala Ghosh Jaya, a popular novelist, could only write because her husband protected her. In South, women and girls were often discouraged from reading novels.
All this suggests that women were viewed as persons who should be completely controlled by the men in their family and should continue their traditional household duties as wives and mothers.