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Gender, Technology and the New Woman$
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Lena Wånggren

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474416269

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474416269.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Typewriters and Typists: Secretarial Agency at the Fin de Siècle

Typewriters and Typists: Secretarial Agency at the Fin de Siècle

(p.34) Chapter 2 Typewriters and Typists: Secretarial Agency at the Fin de Siècle
Gender, Technology and the New Woman

Lena Wånggren

Edinburgh University Press

The second chapter examines the link between the New Woman and the typewriter, a technology which proved one of the most significant means for women to enter the offices at the Victorian fin de siècle. The chapter provides a historical and literary account of both the machine and its operator, through reading fictional works as well as trade journals and other periodical press of the time. As the typewriter came into widespread use in the late nineteenth century, the New Woman typist became a recurrent literary motif. Reading Grant Allen’s The Type-Writer Girl (1897) and Tom Gallon’s The Girl Behind the Keys (1903), the chapter emphasises a kind of secretarial agency formulated in these works, in which the New Woman typist figure appropriates the typewriter as a means of self-formation.

Keywords:   New Woman, Typewriter, Secretary, Grant Allen, Tom Gallon, Agency

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