This essay explores the uncertain status of social media and feminist scholarly websites in the study of Victorian women and the periodical press. I begin this investigation with an extended case study focused on poet-journalist Eliza Cook (1812–89), who capitalized on the emergence of a new journalistic medium in the 1830s and ’40s—the cheap Sunday newspaper. These newspapers provided unprecedented opportunities for women to participate in print culture as writers and editors. By the early twentieth century, Cook, like so many other Victorian women journalists, disappeared from literary history, only to be revived in second- and third-wave feminist scholarship and, more informally, on social media. Yet in many open-access and subscription scholarly sites dedicated to Victorian writers, Cook is absent. Many of these sites have inadvertently created digital collections of Victorian women’s writing that omit the work of women journalists like Cook and the periodical contexts in which their writing was produced and disseminated. Through my investigation of Cook’s afterlife in social media and online scholarly sites, I raise theoretical and methodological issues that will allow us to think critically about the digital future of feminist periodicals research both inside and outside the academy.


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pp. 694-717
Launched on MUSE
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