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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939

The Interwar Period

Edited by Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, Fiona Hackney

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Provides new perspectives on women’s print media in interwar Britain

This collection of new essays recovers and explores a neglected archive of women’s print media and dispels the myth of the interwar decades as a retreat to ‘home and duty’ for women. The volume demonstrates that women produced magazines and periodicals ranging in forms and appeal from highbrow to popular, private circulation to mass-market, and radical to reactionary. It shows that the 1920s and 1930s gave rise to a plurality of new challenges and opportunities for women as consumers, workers and citizens, as well as wives and mothers. Featuring interdisciplinary research by recognised specialists in the fields of literary and periodical studies as well as women’s and cultural history, this volume recovers overlooked or marginalised media and archival sources, as well as reassessing well-known commercial titles. Designed as a ‘go-to’ resource both for readers new to the field and for specialists seeking the latest developments in this area of research, it opens up new directions and methodologies for modern periodical studies and cultural history.

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General Introduction, Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green and Fiona Hackney
Part I: Culture and the Modern Woman
Introduction, Catherine Clay
1. “Tricks of Aspect and the Varied Gifts of Daylight”: Representations of Books and Reading in Interwar Women’s Periodicals, Claire Battershill
2. “A Journal of the Period”: Modernism and Conservative Modernity in Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial (1919–1929), Vike Martina Plock
3. Sketching Out America’s Jazz Age in British Vogue, Natalie Kalich
4. Clemence Dane’s Literary Criticism for Good Housekeeping: Cultivating a “Small, Comical, Lovable, Eternal Public” of Book Lovers, Stella Deen
5. “The Magazine Short Story and the Real Short Story”: Consuming Fiction in the Feminist Weekly Time and Tide, Catherine Clay
6. Making the Modern Girl: Fantasy, Consumption, and Desire in Romance Weeklies of the 1920s, Lise Shapiro Sanders
7. “Dear Cinema Girls”: Girlhood, Picturegoing and the Interwar Film Magazine, Lisa Stead
Part II: Styling Modern Life
Introduction, Barbara Green
8. Now and Forever?: Fashion Magazines and the Temporality of the Interwar Period, Elizabeth M. Sheehan
9. ‘Eve Goes Synthetic’: Modernising Feminine Beauty, Renegotiating Masculinity in Britannia and Eve, Ilya Parkins
10. Miss Modern: Youthful Feminine Modernity and the Nascent Teenager, 1930-40, Penny Tinkler
11. ‘The Lady Interviewer and her methods’: Chatter, Celebrity, and Reading Communities, Rebecca Roach
12. The Picturegoer: Cinema, Rotogravure, and the Reshaping of the Female Face, Gerry Beegan
Part III: Reimagining Homes, Housewives, and Domesticity
Introduction, Fiona Hackney
13. Housekeeping, Citizenship and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home, Alice Wood
14. Modern Housecraft? Women’s Pages in the National Daily Press, Adrian Bingham
15. Labour Woman and the Housewife, Karen Hunt
16. Friendship and Support, Conflict and Rivalry: Multiple Uses of the Correspondence Column in Childcare Magazines, 1919–1939, Kath Holden
17. Documentary Feminism: Evelyn Sharp, the Women’s Pages and the Manchester Guardian, Barbara Green
18. Y Gymraes (The Welshwoman): Ambivalent Domesticity in Women's Welsh-language Interwar Print Media, Lisa Sheppard
19. Woman Appeal. A New Rhetoric of Consumption: Women’s Domestic Magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, Fiona Hackney
PART IV: Feminist Media and Agendas for Change
Introduction: Maria DiCenzo
20: ‘Many More Worlds to Conquer’: the Feminist Press Beyond Suffrage, Maria DiCenzo and Claire Eustance
21. The Essay Series and Feminist Debate: Controversy and Conversation about Women and Work in Time and Tide, Laurel Forster
22. Internationalism, Empire and Peace in the Women Teacher, 1920-1939, Joyce Goodman
23. Providing and Taking the Opportunity: Women Civil Servants and Feminist Periodical Culture in Interwar Britain, Helen Glew
24. Debating Feminism in the Socialist Press: Women and the New Leader, June Hannam
25. Ireland and Sapphic Journalism between the Wars: A Case Study of Urania (1916-1940), Karen Steele
Part V: Women’s Organisations and Communities of Interest
Introduction, Maria DiCenzo
26. Housewives and Citizens: Encouraging Active Citizenship in the Print Media of Housewives’ Associations during the Interwar Years, Caitríona Beaumont
27. Woman's Outlook 1919-1939: An Educational Space for Co-operative Women, Natalie Bradbury
28. A Periodical of Their Own: Feminist Writing in Religious Print Media, Jacqueline R. deVries
29. Women’s Print Media, Fascism and the Far Right in Britain Between the Wars, Julie Gottlieb
30: ‘The Sheep and the Goats’: Interwar Women Journalists, the Society of Women Journalists, and the Woman Journalist, Sarah Lonsdale.

About the Author

Catherine Clay is Senior Lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University. She is author of British Women Writers 1914–1945: Professional Work and Friendship (Ashgate, 2006) and has published articles and book chapters on interwar women’s writing and women’s journalism. Her new monograph, Time and Tide: the Feminist and Cultural Politics of a Modern Magazine, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press.

Maria DiCenzo is Professor of English at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has published on the British suffrage press in journals such as Media History and Women’s History Review. She co-edited Feminism and the Periodical Press, 1900–1918 (Routledge, 2005) and authored Feminist Media History: Suffrage, Periodicals and the Public Sphere (Palgrave, 2011) with Lucy Delap and Leila Ryan. Her current research examines British and international feminist activism and periodicals in the interwar period.

Barbara Green is Associate Professor of English and Concurrent Professor in Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activism, and the Sites of Suffrage (Palgrave, 1997), the forthcoming, Feminist Periodicals and Daily Life: Women and Modernity in British Culture and co-editor of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies.

Fiona Hackney is Professor in Fashion and Textiles Theories at Wolverhampton University. Her forthcoming monograph Women’s Magazines and the Feminine Imagination: Opening up a New World for Women in Interwar Britain will be published by I.B.Tauris. She has published widely on women, design, and the decorative arts, and is Principal Investigator on a number of Arts and Humanities Research Council projects exploring the value of creative making and maker spaces as a means of community engagement.


This book is essential and exciting reading for all interested in the history of women in the inter-war period; an inter-disciplinary collection which explores a wide range of women’s magazines including some like Eve and Labour Women which are all too often neglected.

- Maggie Andrews, University of Worcester

‘"Plurality of voices" aptly describes Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918–1939, because the chapters in this fourth title of a five-volume set examine the notion of modern women as more than merely domestic’

- K. Lynass, CHOICE Connect

- K. Lynass, CHOICE Connect

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