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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820sThe Long Eighteenth Century$
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Jennie Batchelor and Manushag N. Powell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474419659

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419659.001.0001

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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: 18 September 2021

Introduction: Women and the Birth of Periodical Culture

Introduction: Women and the Birth of Periodical Culture

(p.1) Introduction: Women and the Birth of Periodical Culture
Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s

Jennie Batchelor

Manushag N. Powell

Edinburgh University Press

The editors of this volume assert that periodical studies and feminist studies within the British eighteenth century are inseparable activities. While male authors dominated eighteenth-century periodicals, it does not follow that the form itself existed or could have existed independent of women: quite the opposite was true. From John Dunton’s Athenian Mercury (1690–7) to the Tatler (1709–11) and Spectator (1710-11), to Eliza Haywood’s Female Spectator (1744–6), to the magazines like the Lady’s Museum (1760–1) or Lady’s Magazine (1770–1832) that filled out the later portion of the period, women were avid readers of, contributors to, and consumers fostered through periodical culture: the form was thoroughly tied up in the ‘fair-sexing’ upon which it founded itself – but, the editors contend, ‘fair-sexing’ is only one part of the story. Tracing the conditions that affect periodical scholarship, such as limited publishers’ archives and the challenges of digital scholarship, the introduction also considers the question of readership, and, with it, nomenclature: what does it mean to call a periodical a Lady’s paper? Resisting the traditional separation between essay and magazine, this introduction seeks to alert the reader to a more flexible and capacious understanding of how periodicals interact with one another, and with the women who enable them.

Keywords:   Athenian Mercury, Tatler, Spectator, Female Spectator, Lady’s Magazine, Eliza Haywood, periodical scholarship, digital archives, fair-sexing, magazines

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