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Hilary Fraser, Stephanie Green andJudidiJohnston. Genderandthe Victorian Periodical, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003), pp. xiv + 255. Fraser, Green andJohnston's study of the shifting meanings of gender within the space of the Victorian periodical joins a growing list of broadreaching investigations into die nineteendi-century publishing market, including such recent tides as Barbara Onslow's Women of thePress in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Graham Law's Serialiijng Fiction in the Victorian Press. The main strength of these studies is their breaddi; in eschewing die single-audior or single-tide approach in favour of wider coverage of carefulry-chosen themes, diese studies demonstrate continuity and change in Victorian journalism across the century. Fraser et al's book incorporates an impressive range of tides, authors, and editors, while frequent and lengthy citations allow a variety of voices into their investigation, providing the reader with a clear sense of the complexity of gendered discourse in Victorian periodicals from roughly the 1830s to the end of the century. The aim of the book is to "address the role played by the periodical press in the formulation and circulation of gender ideologies in Victorian Britain, and to examine the contribution of women in particular, as editors, proprietors, writers and readers of periodical journalism, to their dissemination" (2). Arguing that the periodical is a key site in Victorian print culture for the articulation of gender norms and values, then, Fraser, Green andJohnston demonstrate with great clarity that even within the pages of a single periodical, gender stereotypes are both affirmed and subverted. By incorporating a cross-section of Victorian periodicals, along with much recent scholarship in their analysis, Genderandthe Victorian Periodical'serves as a useful companion to recent genre studies (of women's fashion magazines, or feminist periodicals, for example), and will be of great value to both new and established researchers. In general, the authors are concerned with general interest magazines aimed at a middle-class readership, with some room given to working-class periodicals and ladies' fashion and domestic magazines. One area that is gready under-discussed, in this book and elsewhere, is the importance of religious periodicals and/or the influence of denominational affiliation on editorial policy. Although no author or journalist is privileged over others, some writers seem to exemplify particular trends — Eliza Lynn Linton, Oscar Wilde, and Eliza Cook are important figures in the analysis. A fifteen-page Appendix with brief summaries of many of the periodicals discussed in the book is perfect Victorian Review (2004)103 Reviews for researchers looking to get a quick mental fix on specific journals. Each entry — from Ainsworth's Magazine to die Rational Dress Society Gazette to die Westminster Review — contains the years of die magazine's run, die price, political persuasion, editorship, and a sense of die content The book is divided into seven chapters, each of which addresses a key issue as defined in bodi Victorian journalism and recent scholarly criticism: "The writing subject," "The gendered reader," "Editorship and gender," "Gender and die Tolitics of Home'," "Gender and cultural imperialism," "Feminism and die press," and "Gender, commodity and die late nineteenui-century periodical" One of die linking arguments is that gender is an unstable category within journalistic discourse not only at die end of die century, widi die advent of all things "new," but also in die earlier decades. Thus we discover mat die Lady's Magazine and die lady'sMuseumin die 1830s are castigating dandyism in men and reporting on women's "mannish behaviour" in the village of Mediven, where ladies can be found dressing in men's clodies, '"sporting about in die gloamin''' and courting die maidens of die village (8). At odier points in die book, however, the analysis tends to reproduce die assumption mat die 1890s was die progressive decade, die odiers by implication stable and staid in theirgender politics. For example, it is "surprising" to die authors mat in 1894, Annie S. Swan in Woman atHome is "still" calling the home '"die nursery of souls'" (86). Given mat a form of this argument circulates today, it would on die contrary be surprising not to find this sentiment in popular women's reading of die 1890s. In general, however, die...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 103-105
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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