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New Media and the Rise of the Popular Woman Writer, 1832-1860$
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Alexis Easley

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474475921

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474475921.001.0001

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Women Writers and Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal

Women Writers and Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal

(p.133) Chapter 4 Women Writers and Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal
New Media and the Rise of the Popular Woman Writer, 1832-1860

Alexis Easley

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter, I investigate the networks of women writers associated with Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal through an analysis of its ledgers and correspondence files. I detail their contributions, writing locations, rates of remuneration and working relationships with the editorial staff in order to shed light on the role Chambers’s played in the emergence of the popular woman writer in the early decades of the Victorian era. I link the work of individual writers to the editorial policies and generic conventions of the journal, which constructed ‘modern’ women as key players in the popular literature movement, both as readers and writers. Chambers’s provided a venue for prominent women writers such as Anna Maria Hall to reach broader audiences than ever before and for up-and-coming authors, such as Dinah Mulock and Julia Kavanagh, to establish themselves in a burgeoning literary marketplace. Chambers’s also provided opportunities for many other amateur and unknown authors to pursue their craft anonymously without name or fame. Written in part by and for women, Chambers’s Journal, by the 1850s, became an important vehicle for debates on the ‘Woman Question’, bringing issues of female education and employment to a broad audience of artisan and middle-class readers.

Keywords:   Women writers, Chambers’s Journal, Anna Maria Hall, Dinah Mulock, Julia Kavanagh, magazines of popular progress, Woman Question, celebrity, anonymity

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