A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity and Desire in the Woman's Magazine, 1800-1914

By Margaret Beetham | Go to book overview

NOTES

PREFACE

1
The discussion 35 to whether 'woman' is a universal or even a useful category has been at the centre of feminist debate and politics, addressed from positions as different as those of Audre Lorde (1984) and post-structuralist theorists like Diana Fuss (1989); see also Spelman (1988), Weedon (1987). The idea of strategic essentialism' is a potentially useful one but see Spivak (1995:1-23) for a discussion of this formulation with which she is associated.

1

INTRODUCTION

1
This remains true, even though in the 1990s some magazines are appearing which claim to address men in terms of their masculinity rather than simply in terms of male sexuality.
2
Like the argument about the category 'woman' to which it is connected (see Preface note 1), this debate is central to contemporary feminism, and to gay, lesbian and queer studies. I have found Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick's chapter 'Axiomatic' in Epistemology of the Closet useful (Sedgewick 1991:1-63); see also Haraway (1991), Jacobus et al. (1990) and Jordanova (1989).
3
As well as extensive sampling among a range of other journals, I read the magazines chosen for case study at three- or six-monthly intervals, depending on their frequency and length of publication. As always, this was contingent on finding whole runs.
4
The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals and its Review has provided a focus for such work. For a full discussion of the various methodological approaches to this kind of study see Chapter 1, 'Theories of Text and Culture' in the history I wrote with Ros Ballaster, Elizabeth Frazer and Sandra Hebron (Ballaster et al. 1991:8-42).
5
Work on identifying editors and journalists and on codifying the mass of periodicals has been undertaken in the Wellesley Index and the Waterloo Directory but detailed historical and bibliographical work on the magazines discussed in this book has hardly begun. The difficulty of finding even one complete copy of a single magazine was made clear in the course of joint research for the Victorial Periodicals Hypertext Project. In order to find the covers and all the advertisements for one copy of the Queen we had to approach four libraries (Beetham et al. 1994).
6
Contemporary discussion of reading by the working class (usually assumed to be male) and by women (usually assumed to be middle class) was endemic in the periodical press of the nineteenth century. Some key articles are listed in the Bibliography and include: Ackland (1894), Bosanquet (1901), Gattie (1889), Hitchman (1880-1) and (1890), Leigh (1904), Salmon (1886a and b).
7
For an elaboration of the argument summarised here see Beetham (1990).

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