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Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s-1900sThe Victorian Period$
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Alexis Easley, Clare Gill, and Beth Rodgers

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474433907

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474433907.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 24 November 2020

Making Space for Women’s Work in the Leisure Hour: From Variety to ‘Verity’

Making Space for Women’s Work in the Leisure Hour: From Variety to ‘Verity’

Chapter:
(p.319) 19 Making Space for Women’s Work in the Leisure Hour: From Variety to ‘Verity’
Source:
Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s-1900s
Author(s):

Katherine Malone

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474433907.003.0020

Drawing upon Margaret Beetham’s influential formulation of the periodical as a space imbued with both ‘open’ and ‘closed’ qualities (1989), in this essay Katherine Malone examines the often-competing models of women’s work that emerge from the interplay of those features in the penny weekly magazine the Leisure Hour (1852–1905) in the 1850s. The ‘closed’ trait of the magazine’s consistent fidelity to the evangelical rhetoric of self-improvement facilitated the ‘open’ sounding of more progressive notes within its pages. As Malone explains, ‘individual articles about women’s work and education could be read by different types of readers and interpreted in a variety of ways without forcing the magazine to take a clear editorial position within divisive debates’ (p. 320). By contrasting this content with the treatment of women’s work in the magazine’s dedicated women’s column, Malone demonstrates how the conflicting rhetoric presented within this ‘closed’ women’s space introduced tensions between it and the magazine’s implied editorial agenda, leading to a paradoxical tapering of the Leisure Hour’s support for progressive women’s issues more generally.

Keywords:   Leisure Hour, Penny weeklies, Women’s columns, Women’s work, Self-improvement, Periodical theories

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