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Title: Model presswomen : 'high-minded' female journalism in the mid-Victorian era
Author: Pusapati, Teja Varma
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 4761
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This study contributes to current critical discussions about the figure of the Victorian woman journalist. Most previous scholarship on nineteenth-century female journalism has focused either on women's anonymous writings or on their contributions to conventionally feminine genres like serial fiction and prose articles on domesticity and fashion. Although women's campaigning journalism has attracted some attention, especially from historians of feminism, its role in the professionalization of women writers has gone largely unexamined. Consequently, it has been assumed that female journalists did not write on social and political issues, unless they wrote anonymously or as reformers with little interest in developing careers as presswomen. This thesis radically revises this view by showing the mid-century rise of female journalists who wrote on serious social and political topics and earned national and international repute. They broke the codes of anonymity in a number of ways, including signing articles in their own names and developing distinctly female personae. They presented themselves as model middle-class professional authors: knowledgeable, financially independent and vocationally committed. They proved, by example, women's fitness for conventionally masculine lines of journalism. By examining their careers in the periodical press, my thesis offers the first in-depth analysis of 'high-minded' female journalism in Victorian England. Beginning with the 1850s, the thesis is organised around certain key developments in the periodical press, such as the debates about professional authorship, discussions of the plight of single women and the nature of female work, and the advent of signed publication. It examines the rise of prestigious presswork by women through the study of three distinct, yet overlapping models of the female professional journalist: the feminist journalist, the mainstream reform journalist, and the foreign correspondent. It then discusses the representation of women's high-minded journalism in the domain of fiction. The study ends in the 1880s, noting how these mid-Victorian models of women's presswork influenced the discussion and practice of female professional journalism in the 1890s.
Supervisor: Shuttleworth, Sally Sponsor: Felix Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Women journalists--Great Britain--History--19th century