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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939The Interwar Period$
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Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474412537

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Clemence Dane’s Literary Criticism for Good Housekeeping: Cultivating a ‘Small, Comical, Lovable, Eternal Public’ of Book Lovers

Clemence Dane’s Literary Criticism for Good Housekeeping: Cultivating a ‘Small, Comical, Lovable, Eternal Public’ of Book Lovers

Chapter:
(p.58) 4 Clemence Dane’s Literary Criticism for Good Housekeeping: Cultivating a ‘Small, Comical, Lovable, Eternal Public’ of Book Lovers
Source:
Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939
Author(s):

Stella Deen

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412537.003.0006

This chapter situates Clemence Dane’s literary criticism for Good Housekeeping within the context of interwar women’s literary journalism and discusses her program for the cultural, social, and civic empowerment of women readers. It argues that, as she modelled a holistic reading pleasure that encompassed sensuous and intellectual experience alike, and as she emphasised readers’ responsibility to bring about good books, Dane’s monthly essays both countered cultural images of indiscriminately consuming women readers and provided the structure for ongoing instruction in literary tradition. The chapter demonstrates that Dane’s middlebrow literary criticism engaged in dialogue with and challenged modernist and academic literary criticism, especially through its conception of a literary heritage that both enhanced enjoyment of literature and empowered ordinary readers to evaluate it. Finally, the chapter argues that Dane’s model of pleasurable reading as a gateway to cultural, social, and political benefits helped to shape a progressive modernity for women.

Keywords:   Good Housekeeping, Clemence Dane, literary criticism, middlebrow, women readers, pleasure, literary tradition

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