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The Modern Short Story and Magazine Culture, 1880-1950$
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Elke D'hoker and Chris Mourant

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474461085

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474461085.001.0001

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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: 22 May 2022

Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley in Good Housekeeping Magazine

Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley in Good Housekeeping Magazine

(p.187) Chapter 9 Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley in Good Housekeeping Magazine
The Modern Short Story and Magazine Culture, 1880-1950

Saskia McCracken

Edinburgh University Press

In 1931, Virginia Woolf was commissioned to write a series of six articles for Good Housekeeping, a middlebrow women’s magazine, which have typically been read by critics as five essays and a short story. Woolf’s series takes her readers on a tour of the sites of commerce and power in London, from the Thames docks and shops of Oxford Street, to ‘Great Men’s Houses,’ abbeys, cathedrals, and the House of Commons, ending with a ‘Portrait’ of a fictitious Londoner. This chapter has three aims. First, it suggests that Woolf’s Good Housekeeping publications can be read not simply as five essays and a short story, but, considering Woolf’s ethics of the short story, as a series of short stories or, as the magazine editors introduced them, word pictures and scenes. Secondly, this chapter argues that Woolf’s Good Housekeeping series responds to, and resists the Stalinist politics of, Aldous Huxley’s series of four highbrow essays on England, published in Nash’s Pall Mall Magazine. Finally, this chapter analyses a critically neglected short story by Ambrose O’Neill, ‘The Astounding History of Albert Orange’ (February 1932), published in Good Housekeeping, which features both Woolf and Huxley as characters, and which critiques, satirises, and destabilises the boundaries of highbrow literary culture. Thus, the focus turns from highbrow writers’ short stories to a story about highbrow writing, all published in the supposedly middlebrow Good Housekeeping, demonstrating the rich complexity of the magazine, its varied politics, and its generically hybrid publications.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Good Housekeeping, Scene, Genre, Highbrow, Middlebrow, Ethics, Series

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