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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s

The Long Eighteenth Century

Edited by Jennie Batchelor, Manushag N. Powell

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Provides new perspectives on women’s print media in the long eighteenth century

This innovative volume presents for the first time collective expertise on women’s magazines and periodicals of the long eighteenth century. While this period witnessed the birth of modern periodical culture and its ability to shape aspects of society from the popular to the political, most studies have traditionally obscured the very active role women’s voices and women readers played in shaping the periodicals that in turn shaped Britain. The 30 essays here demonstrate the importance of periodicals to women, the importance of women to periodicals, and, crucially, they correct the destructive misconception that the more canonized periodicals and popular magazines were enemy or discontinuous forms. This collection shows how both periodicals and women drove debates on politics, education, theatre, celebrity, social practice, popular reading and everyday life itself.

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Introduction: Women and the Birth of Periodical Culture, Jennie Batchelor and Nush Powell
Part I: Learning for the Ladies
1. Periodicals and the Problem of Women’s Learning, James Robert Wood
2. Discontinuous Reading and Miscellaneous Instruction for British Ladies, Eve Tavor Bannet
3. Constructing Women’s History in the Lady’s Museum, Anna K. Sagal
4. Vindications and Reflections: The Lady’s Magazine during the Revolution Controversy (1789—¬95), Koenraad Claes
Part II: The Poetics of Periodicals
5. Dunton and Singer after the Athenian Mercury: Two Plots of Platonic Love, Dustin Stewart
6. Women’s Poetry in the Magazines, Jennifer Batt
7. ‘A lasting wreath of various hue’: Hannah Cowley, the Della Cruscan Affair, and the Medium of the Periodical Poem, Tanya Marie Caldwell
8. The Lady’s Poetical Magazine and the Fashioning of Women’s Literary Space, Octavia Cox
Part III: Periodicals Nationally and Internationally
9. Protesting the Exclusivity of the Public Sphere: Delarivier Manley’s Examiner, Rachel Carnell
10. ‘A moral paper! And how do you expect to get money by it?’: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Journalism, Isobel Grundy
11. Eliza Haywood’s Periodicals in Wartime, Catherine Ingrassia
12. German Women’s Writing in British Magazines, 1760-1820, Alessa Johns
13. Travel Writing and Mediation in the Lady’s Magazine: Charting ‘the meridian of female reading’, JoEllen DeLucia
Part IV: Print Media and Print Culture
14. ‘[L]et a girl read’: Periodicals and Women’s Literary Canon Formation, Rachel Scarborough King
15. Reviewing Women: Women Reviewers on Women Novelists, Megan Peiser
16. Reviewing Femininity: Gender and Genre in the Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press, Pam Perkins
17. ‘Full of pretty stories’: Fiction in the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832), Jenny DiPlacidi
18. ‘This Lady is Descended from a Good Family’: Women and Biography in British Magazines, 1770-1798, Hannah Hudson
19. Suitable Reading Material: Fandom and Female Pleasure in Women’s Engagement with Romantic Periodicals, Evan Hayles Gledshill
Part V: Theorising the Periodical in Text and Practice
20. The Ladies’ Mercury (1693), Nicola Parsons
21. John Dunton’s Ladies Mercury and the Eighteenth-Century Female Subject, Slaney Chadwick Ross
22. Frances Brooke, Editor, and the Making of The Old Maid (1755–6), Kathryn R. King
23. Eyes that Eagerly ‘Bear the Steady Ray of Reason’: Eidolon as Activist in Charlotte Lennox’s Lady’s Museum, Susan Carlile
24. ‘[T]o cherish Female ingenuity and to conduce to Female improvement’: The Birth of the, Woman’s Magazine
Jennie Batchelor
25. The Woman behind the Man behind the World: Mary Wells and the Feminisation of the Late Eighteenth-Century Newspaper, Claire Knowles
Part VI: Fashion, Theatre, and Celebrity
26. Advertising Women: Gender and the Vendor in the Print Culture of the Medical Marketplace, 1660 to 1830, Barbara Benedict
27. Theatrical, Periodical, Authorial: Frances Brooke’s Old Maid, Nush Powell
28) Fast Fashion: Style, Text, and Image in Late-Eighteenth Century Women’s Periodicals, Chloe Wigston Smith
29. Magazine Miniatures: Portraits of Actresses, Proncesses, and Queens in Late Eighteenth-Century Periodicals, Laura Engel
30. Fashioning Consumers: Ackerman’s Repository of Arts and the Cultivation of the Female Consumer, Serena Dyer

About the Author

Jennie Batchelor is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Kent. She has published on eighteenth-century periodicals and the histories of gender, sexuality and writing. She is currently completing a book on the Lady’s Magazine in Romantic print culture.

Manushag N. Powell is Associate Professor of English and University Faculty Scholar at Purdue University. She is the author of Performing Authorship in 18th-Century English Periodicals (Bucknell University Press, 2014), and has published on periodical form and periodical studies – as well as on British literary pirates.


This book comprehensively overturns assumptions about women’s exclusion from the business of eighteenth-century periodical print. From fan fiction to fashion design, from literary reviewing to pedagogic theory -- female creativity is  evident everywhere. Batchelor and Powell’s collection is as visually and verbally rich as their subject.

- Ros Ballaster, Mansfield College, University of Oxford

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