reading

Gender and genre in The Lady’s Magazine

‘The world is a large volume’: The Lady’s Magazine and Romantic Print Culture

Jennie Batchelor, Tuesday 1 Dec 2015, CEIR Seminar Series

When I met Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent) in the CEIR office about an hour before she was due to speak, it was with an air of excitement that she, jokingly, asked if the paper could wait: she was having far too much fun in Cardiff’s Special Collections and Archives, examining copies of The Lady’s Magazine. Her research into this publication is part of a two-year Leverhulme-funded project entitled The Lady’s Magazine (1770–1818): Understanding the Emergence of a Genre’, which aims to provide a bibliographical, statistical and literary–critical analysis of one the first recognisably modern magazines for women. The project aims to produce a host of publications about the contents of and contributors to the magazine, as well as a fully annotated index available online. Thankfully, Batchelor did go ahead with the talk in Cardiff, offering fascinating insights into The Lady’s Magazine and its position in romantic print culture. (more…)

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Reminder: Jennie Batchelor’s talk on The Lady’s Magazine tomorrow

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Visiting Speaker, 1 Dec 2015: Jennie Batchelor on The Lady’s Magazine

Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent) will be presenting her paper, ‘“The world is a large volume”: The Lady’s Magazine and Romantic Print Culture’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 1 December 2015. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.01, and will be followed by a wine reception.

Abstract
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This talk examines the position of the Lady’s Magazine: or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex (1770–1832) in Romantic-era print culture and the scholarship surrounding it. Aside from the periodical’s extraordinary popularity and longevity, a number of ambitious claims have been made for the Lady’s Magazine’s historical and literary importance. Chief amongst these is Edward Copeland’s 1995 claim that the Lady’s Magazine defined women’s engagement with the world in the Romantic period. This argument is as seductive as it is unsubstantiated. Eighteenth-century periodicalists commonly overlook the title, which emerges after the often lamented if somewhat exaggerated demise of the essay-periodical epitomised by The Tatler and The Spectator. Romanticists, meanwhile, have tended to privilege the self-professedly ‘literary’ magazines of the turn of the century, in which writers such as Hazlitt and Scott, well known for their work in other more canonical genres, were involved.

This paper seeks to address this oversight by explicating how the magazine self-consciously and strategically positioned itself in relationship to the wider and highly competitive literary marketplace in which it thrived against the odds. In making these claims, I draw on initial research findings from our two-year Leverhulme-funded Research Project Grant: ‘The Lady’s Magazine (1770–1818): Understanding the Emergence of a Genre’. The project offers a detailed bibliographical, statistical and literary-critical analysis of one of the first recognisably modern magazines for women from its inception in 1770. In its three-pronged book history/literary critical/digital humanities approach, the project, like this talk, aims to answer two main research questions: 1) What made the Lady’s Magazine one of the most popular and enduring titles of its day?; 2) What effects might an understanding of the magazine’s content, production and circulation have upon own conceptions of Romantic-era print culture, a field still struggling fully to emerge from the shadows of canonical figures and genres? (more…)

Rosie Johns, Publishing in the Modern Era: Interview with John Adler, Part 2

This blog post is the third post of an ongoing series by Rosie Johns, exploring the challenges and opportunities involved in book publishing in the current 21st Century environment. These posts are being written as part of Rosie’s second project on the Project Management and Research undergraduate module at Cardiff University.

The digital revolution in publishing has been gathering pace for nearly two decades now. Back in the late 1990s, many publishers began investing large sums into the development of technology which would enable the digitization of material. Now, in 2014, the eBook is a well-established alternative to the traditional paper-bound product. Consumers are eagerly lapping up this digital material, often at the fraction of the cost of paper copies. Just 33 months after eBooks went on sale at Amazon.com, founder Jeff Bezos gleefully announced that his customers were buying more of the new digital product than its age-old, material alternative.

Book publishing has been turned on its head – the product is changing, the production methods are changing, everything is changing – and publishers, writers and consumers are all (understandably) asking, what does the future hold?

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Visiting speaker, 18 Mar 2014: Matt Rubery on the early history of audiobooks

Matthew Rubery (Queen Mary, London) will be presenting his paper, ‘How to Read a Talking Book’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.

Abstract
2013.06.ruberyThe United States Library of Congress’s Talking Book Service was established in 1934 to provide books for war-blinded soldiers and blind civilians who could not read braille. The first recordings included the Bible, Shakespeare’s plays and best-selling novels. This presentation traces a series of controversies that arose soon afterward among the blind community over the appropriate way to narrate a talking book. Audiences faced a choice between a deliberately understated style that privileged the printed book and a theatrical style that took full advantage of the phonograph’s sound. Such disputes raise fundamental questions about the legitimacy of reading practices among people with visual disabilities and, ultimately, what it means to read a book. (more…)