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A Magazine of Her Own? : Domesticity and Desire in the Woman's Magazine, 1800-1914
The Woman''s magazine has been central to popular reading throughout the twentieth century, but the history of the form has been almost completely neglected. How did it come to occupy this place? How did it develop its familiar elements - the agony aunt, the fashion plate, the repeated promise to transform the reader into a desirable woman? Did it empower or disempower readers in the process of defining themselves as gendered and sexual `women''?
A Magazine of Her Own? addresses a range of such questions as it charts the history of the British woman''s magazine through the nineteenth century. It is simultaneously a chronological story, a set of fascinatingly detailed case studies, and an intervention into recent debates about gender and sexuality in popular reading. Margaret Beetham argues that the two elements in the term `woman''s magazine'' are dynamically related. The magazine has been shaped by its association with women as readers; the meaning of femininities - whether of the domestic woman, the fashionable lady or the romancing girl - have been made in and through the magazine.
The wealth of Beetham''s original scholarship will make this book invaluable to scholars but it is also clearly, accessibly written. Its appeal crosses a range of scholarly disciplines, including women''s studies, media and cultural studies, literature and history. It will also appeal more widely to any reader interested in the history of popular reading and in this powerful, unique medium.
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Taylor & Francis
May 23, 1996
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