Their Fair Share: Women, Power and Criticism in the Athenaeum, from Millicent Garrett Fawcett to Katherine Mansfield, 1870–1920, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Their Fair Share

Women, Power and Criticism in the Athenaeum, from Millicent Garrett Fawcett to Katherine Mansfield, 1870–1920, 1st Edition

By Marysa Demoor


176 pages

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Hardback: 9780754601180
pub: 2000-05-11
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Their Fair Share identifies and contextualises many previously unknown critical writings by a selection of well-known turn-of-the-century women. It reveals the networks behind an influential journal like the Athenaeum and presents a more shaded assessment of its position in the field of cultural production, in the period 1870-1920. The Athenaeum (1828-1921) has often been presented as a monolithic institution offering its readers a fairly conservative, male oriented appreciation of a wide variety of contemporary publications. On the basis of archival and biographical material this book presents an entirely new analysis of the reviewing policy of this weekly from 1870, when it came into the hands of the politician Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, up to and including 1919-1920 when John Middleton Murry became its editor. Dilke, and his editor Norman MacColl, are here revealed to have been committed feminists who enlisted some of the most influential women of their time as critics for their journal. The book looks more specifically at the contributions by, a.o., Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Emilia Dilke, Jane Harrison and Augusta Webster.


'Their Fair Share offers an absorbing account of a phenomenon barely glimpsed in prior scholarship on Victorian literature, criticism, and periodicals: women's rise as reviewers in a premier journal and their practice as critics. Demoor's study is all the better because she resists easy generalizations in favor of the unsettling paradoxes her research has disclosed.' English Studies 'The role of the Victorian woman writer as reviewer is an area that has been largely overlooked and seriously underestimated, and is now the subject of Demoor's landmark text, Their Fair Share. Reading the book engenders the same kind of excitement that greeted the pioneering work of Dale Spender, Kate Flint and Elaine Showalter; it is a fascinating, eminently readable work, which deserves widespread attention…a joy to read.' Women's Writing 'Their Fair Share in its detail and thoughtul analysis is an impressive achievement, an essential book for scholars of this period - whether in literature, history , or gender studies… Her knowledge of the field is excellent, as is her assessment of other research which adds to hers. Overall, this book is a scholarly find.' English Literature in Transition Translated from the French: 'Dealing with a little explored subject, Their Fair Share is a serious and erudite book which belongs to several specialist subjects: cultural history, history of periodicals, the theory of reception, gender studies.' Etudes Anglaises

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The woman of letters in transition, 1870-1910; The Athenaeum: a new team, a new policy; Feminist critics and the Athenaeum; Reviewing fiction; Poets as critics; The Athenaeum: gender, criticism and the anticipation of modernism?; Selected bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Marysa Demoor, is a senior full professor of English literature and Culture at Ghent University.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature