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Literacy, Authorship, and Culture in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800
In 1500, as many as 99 out of 100 English women may have been illiterate, and girls of all social backgrounds were the objects of purposeful efforts to restrict their access to full literacy. Three centuries later, more than half of all English and Anglo-American women could read, and the female reader was emerging as a cultural ideal and a market force. While scholars have written extensively about women's reading in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and about women's writing in the early modern period, they have not attended sufficiently to the critical transformation that took place as female readers and their reading assumed significant cultural and economic power.
Reading Women brings into conversation the latest scholarship by early modernists and early Americanists on the role of gender in the production and consumption of texts during this expansion of female readership. Drawing together historians and literary scholars, the essays share a concern with local specificity and material culture. Removing women from the historically inaccurate frame of exclusively solitary, silent reading, the authors collectively return their subjects to the activities that so often coincided with reading: shopping, sewing, talking, writing, performing, and collecting. With chapters on samplers, storytelling, testimony, and translation, the volume expands notions of reading and literacy, and it insists upon a rich and varied narrative that crosses disciplinary boundaries and national borders.
The Woman's Building Library at the World's Columbian Exposition
On May 1, 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago opened its gates to an expectant public eager to experience firsthand its architectural beauty, technological marvels, and vast array of cultural treasures gathered from all over the world. Among the most popular of the fair’s attractions was the Woman’s Building, a monumental exhibit hall filled with the products of women’s labor—including more than 8,000 volumes of writing by women. Right Here I See My Own Books examines the progress, content, and significance of this historic first effort to assemble a comprehensive library of women’s texts. By weaving together the behind-the-scenes story of the library’s formation and the stories between the covers of books on display, Wadsworth and Wiegand firmly situate the Woman’s Building Library within the historical context of the 1890s. Interdisciplinary in approach, their book demonstrates how this landmark collection helped consolidate and institutionalize women’s writing in conjunction with the burgeoning women’s movement and the professionalization of librarianship in late nineteenth-century America. Americans in this period debated a wide range of topics, including women’s rights, gender identity, racial politics, nationalism, regionalism, imperialism, and modernity. These debates permeated the cultural climate of the Columbian Exposition. Wadsworth and Wiegand’s book illuminates the range and complexity of American women’s responses to these issues within a public sphere to which the Woman’s Building provided unprecedented access.
Women Prisoners Reflect on Reading
This volume features in-depth, oral interviews with eleven incarcerated women, each of whom offers a narrative of her life and her reading experiences within prison walls. The women share powerful stories about their complex and diverse efforts to negotiate difficult relationships, exercise agency in restrictive circumstances, and find meaning and beauty in the midst of pain. Their shared emphases on abuse, poverty, addiction, and mental illness illuminate the pathways that lead many women to prison and suggest possibilities for addressing the profound social problems that fuel crime. _x000B__x000B_Framing the narratives within an analytic introduction and reflective afterword, Megan Sweeney highlights the crucial intellectual work that the incarcerated women perform despite myriad restrictions on reading and education in U.S. prisons. These women use the limited reading materials available to them as sources of guidance and support and as tools for self-reflection and self-education. Through their creative engagements with books, the women learn to reframe their own life stories, situate their experiences in relation to broader social patterns, deepen their understanding of others, experiment with new ways of being, and maintain a sense of connection with their fellow citizens on both sides of the prison fence._x000B_
Vol. 55 (2002) through current issue
Studies in Bibliography is one of the pre-eminent journals in the fields of analytical bibliography, textual criticism, manuscript study, and the history of printing and publishing. Founded in 1948 by Fredson Bowers of the University of Virginia and published annually since then, SB continues to maintain its reputation as a forum for the best textual and bibliographical work being done anywhere in the world.
Vol. 1 (2006) through current issue
Textual Cultures (published annually since 1983 as Text: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies) brings together essays by scholars from numerous disciplines and focuses on issues of textual editing, redefinitions of textuality, the history of the book, material culture, and the fusion of codicology with literary, musicological, and art historical interpretation and iconography. It is the official publication of the Society for Textual Scholarship. Membership in the Society includes a subscription to the journal.
Vol. 38 (2005) through current issue
Victorian Periodicals Review has developed a large and far-reaching audience. VPR has evolved into a review with an annual index, member questionnaires, and one of a projected series of guides to major research libraries and their holdings, lists of forthcoming articles, obituaries of members who played a substantial role, and informative articles on a wide range of topics from a variety of disciplines. VPR is the only refereed journal that concentrates on the editorial and publishing history of Victorian periodicals. Its emphasis is on the importance of periodicals for an understanding of the history and culture of Victorian Britain, Ireland, and the Empire. Special issues have been devoted to Dickens, Macmillan s Magazine, Art, Theory, American Periodicals, Women Critics and Editors, and the Athenaeum. Published quarterly.