The Female Spectator: Being Selections from Mrs. Eliza Heywood's Periodical (1744-1746)

The Female Spectator: Being Selections from Mrs. Eliza Heywood's Periodical (1744-1746)

The Female Spectator: Being Selections from Mrs. Eliza Heywood's Periodical (1744-1746)

The Female Spectator: Being Selections from Mrs. Eliza Heywood's Periodical (1744-1746)

Excerpt

Nearly two centuries have gone by since Eliza Heywood, having tried her hand at many things--acting, adapting plays, novel writing--decided to become an Addison in petticoats and bring out a Female Spectator. It was the second attempt to produce a periodical for women, but the first to be actually written by a woman. You may regard it as the ancestress of all those women's magazines we have to-day, from the gorgeous and expensive productions that have advertising revenues worth a king's ransom, down to the humble little collections of cookery recipes, coupons for paper patterns, and stories called Only a Shop Girl! And, like an ancestress, it is of course wildly different from anything we know now.

Consider the introductory paragraphs, which the editor of this entertaining selection has very wisely retained. Mrs. Heywood begins her campaign as follows:

Reading is universally allowed to be one of the most improving, as well as agreeable amusements; but then to render it so, one should, among the number of books which are perpetually issuing from the press, endeavour to single out such as promise to be most conducive to those ends . . .

a choke-pear of a sentence. It is astonishing to reflect that the author of those ponderous phrases was gener-

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