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Title: Representations of the New Woman in the 1890s woman's press
Author: Mendes, Clare Francisca
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 4956
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2013
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My thesis uncovers innovative ways of re-reading the New Woman. By purposefully moving away from novelistic representations, I have reinvigorated the saturated area of New Woman studies, capturing instances of her elusive nature in the 1890s woman’s press. I reveal the unique coincidence between subject matter and publishing practice in my investigation of five 1890s women’s magazines: Shafts (1892-1899), Woman’s Signal (1894-1899), Young Woman (1892-1915), Woman (1890-1912) and Lady’s Realm (1896-1914). I split the magazines into liberally feminist – Shafts and the Signal – and conservatively progressive – Young Woman, Woman and Lady’s Realm. The first three chapters produce case-studies of individual magazines. The final chapter explores Woman and the Lady’s Realm in tandem. Throughout my study I adopt four loose categories of exploration: editorial approaches; women’s relationships with themselves; women’s relationships with other women and men; literary identification. I use a combination of close analysis and broad overview to assess the categories, looking at essays, interviews, editorials, correspondence, advertisements, and advice columns. I observe the dialogue that fiction and poetry produced with these texts. My research reveals that the New Woman was a fragile and responsive entity who was used by the editors and readers of the magazines to project more desirable images of themselves, countering the virulent reception of the New Woman in the popular press. Whilst the New Woman offered an emancipatory utopia in the liberal feminist magazines, she was rejected, mocked and sometimes hesitantly promoted by the conservatively progressive publications. Her presence in these magazines served commercial and exploratory means. Most importantly, the New Woman provided an essential means of self-actualization. She offered comfort to female readers, even if this comfort lay in mocking her. Ultimately, this project adds an important new chapter to understandings of the New Woman, promoting her as a figure of self-identification for late-Victorian womanhood.
Supervisor: Marshall, Gail; Shattock, E. Joanne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available