Although the fictional characterisation of governesses can be traced back to eighteenth-century school stories, novels featuring resident governesses and their relation to employers and pupils did not appear until the turn of the century. Early examples are H.S.'s (1795) and Maria Edgeworth's "The Good French Governess" (1801). The governess characters in these stories differ from the genre prototype that developed from the 1830s. While most early literary portrayals of governesses have a clearly didactic purpose and present highly appreciated teachers, a noticeable shift in attitude seems to have taken place in the 1830s. From then on, the governess heroine was usually depicted as a victim of circumstances at the mercy of inhospitable or even hostile employers. Economic and social changes in the mid-1800s affected the position of governesses, and those shifts seem to have influenced and intensified the fictional delineation of governesses.
is a satirical tragedy about religion and morality, set in Italy during the1950’s. The Teatro della Pergola in Florence will present the play from February 26 to March 3, transforming the stage into a rich bourgeois home in Rome. It is in this home that the charming French Governess, Caterina Leher, instigates a dialectic discussion with the severe master of the house, Leopoldo Platania, as she counters his severe Catholicism with her Calvinist faith. The playwright of this piece, Vitaliano Brancati, endured criticism and censure as the result of this play, which was quite controversial when it was written in 1952, for it stars a homosexual woman: the governess.