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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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‘[L]et a girl read’: Periodicals and Women’s Literary Canon Formation

‘[L]et a girl read’: Periodicals and Women’s Literary Canon Formation

Chapter:
(p.221) 14 ‘[L]et a girl read’: Periodicals and Women’s Literary Canon Formation
Source:
Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s
Author(s):

Rachael Scarborough King

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419659.003.0015

Examining periodical articles by both men and women in the second half of the eighteenth century, Rachel King argues that the periodical was a key extra-academic site for the discussion of women’s reading material and, simultaneously, the elevation of the novel. The traditional division of the periodical as a masculine space and the novel as a feminised one was problematic, of course, but it was also productive, in that the process of prescriptive reviewing embraced by periodicals such as the Critical (1756–1817) and Monthly (1749–1844) of necessity elevated some works above others. An overlooked tool for this process was the list, which offered practical advantages, as it produced easy copy and created visually appealing white space on the page. As periodical authors offered prescriptive lists, novelists like Austen in Northanger Abbey (1818) pushed back against such constraints with their own syllabi, a process that played a key role in the ongoing incorporation of the novel into the literary canon.

Keywords:   Reviews, novels, women readers, Monthly Review, Critical Review, Jane Austen, literary canon

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