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Mead launched her career in the mid-1870s with a series of bestselling stories about London street waifs, was editor of a new girls' literary magazine, Atalanta (1887–1898), and a major contributor to popular magazines such as the Strand Magazine, competing with Arthur Conan Doyle. With three hundred books and countless short stories and essays, she was one of the most prolific writers of her time. Today best remembered for her "girls' school fiction" (with a keen sense of danger and real uncertainties in the life of her heroines) she relied on the naughty schoolgirl heroine, who is typically bold, rebellious, outspoken, adventurous, and physically active to appeal to the contemporary girl's desire for new challenges. A close examination of Meade's naughty girl reveals her as more significant in fin-de-siècle culture and politics that previously thought. This article investigates the appeal and the politics of naughtiness in Meade's school fiction.