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This chapter contributes to scholarly discussions of the role of popular fiction in the development of a female selfhood. It explores how reading Urdu-language fiction contributed to the development of a young Muslim girl’s sense of self, as she was growing up in the 1920s in a scholarly, religious family of illustrious ancestry but relatively modest means. In an unpublished memoir the author tells of her childhood passion for reading popular Urdu novels. She identified with female characters who retained the traditional feminine virtues while also acquiring modern educations and pursuing professional careers. These novels helped her to construct a sense of the kind of person she wanted to be and what she wanted to do with her life, as well as to come to terms with ongoing distressing issues in her own family for which she could find no solution in the real world.

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