Stitch Off to a Flying Start

After four months, hundreds of (wo)man hours, lots of friendly support and chat on social media and some innuendo-laden conversations about pricking, pouncing and Mr Darcy, the Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off display previewed yesterday. Today the ‘Emma at 200’ exhibition opens at Chawton House Library in the home that belonged to Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen (later Knight).

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.23.39‘Emma at 200: from English Village to Global Appeal’ is a major new international exhibition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s brilliantly witty novel. It is the first major exhibition to be held at the Library since it opened in July 2003 and the result is frankly breathtaking. For the first time, a first edition of Austen’s novel is on display next to the first, rapidly published, French and American editions. Correspondence with Austen’s publisher John Murray is on display, alongside the work of many of Austen’s contemporaries. Early reactions to the novel are represented most spectacularly in the form of Charlotte Bronte’s wonderful (if not entirely complimentary) letter on reading Emma, which is on loan from the Huntington Library in California.

Never before have these items been gathered together in this way. Never again will they all find their way home to Chawton, to a house that Austen knew so well, in rooms in which she spent time. This is a one-off event. If you are within a hundred miles of Chawton in Hampshire, UK, any time between now and 25 September 2016 you have to see this exhibition (visitor information can be found here).

 

Emma at 200 preview day external shot

Chawton House Library © Jennie Batchelor

 

A preview event, for around 35 benefactors of Chawton House Library and the exhibition, took place yesterday, 19 March 2016, on the first day of spring. The crowds of daffodils gracing the lawns either side of the House’s driveway couldn’t quite distract people from how chilly and unspring-like the temperature was. But the atmosphere inside the House, at least, was warm and welcoming.

 

 

Joanna Trollope Emma at 200 unveiling

Joanna Trollope, Patron of Chawton House Library, opening the exhibition © Jennie Batchelor.

 

Now Chawton puts on a very nice cream tea, I must say, but while the crowds gathered in the kitchen to await the exhibition’s literal unveiling by author, Patron of Chawton House Library, and eloquent champion of historic women’s writing, Joanna Trollope, I snuck upstairs to the Oak Room to set up and pore over the Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off display.

 

 

For the duration of the exhibition, the Oak Room (always my favourite room in the house, since I began my own working life there back in 2002) has been given over to the theme of ‘female accomplishments’. At the centre of the room is a large table focusing on the Lady’s Magazine and the work of our Stitch Off participants.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off (where on earth have you been, people?) this is a non-competitive needlework project or international sewing bee for which we have made available 10, rare embroidery patterns published in the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) – a publication we are pretty sure Jane Austen read and we know Charlotte Bronte read – for people to recreate or reimagine as they wish.

 

Lucie whitmore

Lucie Whitmore’s 3 pieces for the Stitch Off. Lucie was one of the first people to join the Stitch Off. © Jennie Batchelor.

Our Stitch Off participants have been so generous in sharing work in progress on our Facebook and Twitter feeds over the past few months and I am keeping a log of all of their work in progress in possibly the most gorgeous desktop folder anyone could possibly have. However, not even months of picture filing could prepare me for the complete joy and delight of seeing and handling the actual items themselves.

 

 

Stitch Off table

The Oak Room. Chawton House Library. © Jennie Batchelor.

 

Staff at Chawton had laid the items and their associated captions out for me on a beautiful wooden table around some exhibition boards I had drafted copy for and an 1811 bound volume of the magazine from the Chawton House Library collection. Everything was wrapped in the original packaging it had arrived in to protect it. Yep: I had the best Christmas morning any 39-year-old has had on a spring afternoon ever. I gently unwrapped everything and started crazily taking and tweeting pictures of all these wonderful items.

 

 

 

Writing desk with show patterns

Writing desk display featuring left to right: shoe uppers by Alicia Kerfoot; shoes by Nicole Rudoplh; kissing ball by Maggie Gee; and gold work shoe upper by Mary Martin. © Jennie Batchelor.

Every single piece and object was at least 3 times more stunning in reality than in the photos I had seen. I soon realised how much pictures (fabulous though they are for record keeping) distort colours, the size and finish of stitches, the weave and sheen of fabrics, the lustre of beads and gold thread. Mostly of course, pictures also completely distort size. Some items were so much smaller and more delicate than I had imagined them to be. Others were much, much larger. The picture to the left will give some sense of scale.

 

 

Young:wright

Stitched pot plant by Corinne Young and pashmia by Rachel Wright. © Jennie Batchelor.

 

I had so much fun arranging the items on various pieces of furniture including: a writing desk adorned with some of the pieces inspired by the 1775 shoe patterns donated by Penny Gore (above); an occasional table on which stands Corinne Young’s stitched plant pot; and an antique armchair, which looks as if it was made solely for Rachel Wright’s pashmina to grace it. But at 3pm I realised I would actually miss the opening of the exhibition if I didn’t step to and run downstairs.

 

 

Gillian Dow opening exhibition

Gillian Dow © Jennie Batchelor.

The exhibition opened with a wonderfully passionate and eloquent speech by Dr Gillian Dow, Executive Director of Chawton House Library, who reminded us that Jane Austen’s most renownedly local novel (structured around those now proverbial ‘three or four families in a country village’) was, from the get-go, a global piece of fiction. It circulated as part of a thriving international print network in which it competed for and won its readers’ attention.

Gillian joked that she had hoped to open the exhibition by breaking a bottle of champagne over an exhibition case in the Great Hall. Much to everyone’s relief Joanna Trollope stepped in instead to do the honours by unveiling the case in a suitably ceremonial gesture. The exhibition goers then moved on to a recital of variations of Robin Adair (a piece of music that  will be recognised by readers of Emma) introduced brilliantly and wittily by Professor David Owen Norris.

After that, I dashed back up to the Oak Room ready to welcome exhibition goers to the Stitch Off display and to talk all things needlework and Lady’s Magazine with people once they had made their way through the several other exhibition rooms.

The response to the Stitch Off display was phenomenal. Just phenomenal. I spent a good hour talking to many people about individual items, about the magazine from which the patterns came and reminding people that they can still join in. The room was buzzing with excitement, with people reflecting on childhood experiences of needlework at school, of the embroidery their mothers or grandmothers did, of the desire to get their needles and hoops out of storage and have a go themselves.

 

Hack:Roskell

Top: Caroline Hack’s embroidered map. Below: Regency girls by Ruth Zanoni Roskell. © Jennie Batchelor.

Every single item in the display prompted comment and admiration. I mean it. Every. Single. One. The refrains of the room were: ‘stunning’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘beautiful’, ‘so creative’, ‘delicate’ and ‘astounding’. Exhibition goers loved the variety of items on display, from Rachel Whitechurch’s reticule (pictured below) to Maggie Gee’s exquisite kissing ball (pictured above). They loved that the items ranged from faithfully reproduced originals using eighteenth-century techniques, such as Nicole Rudolph’s shoes (pictured above and made from scratch in Colonial Williamsburg), to modern interpretations such as Ruth Zanoni Roskell’s Regency girls and Caroline Hack’s map of nineteenth-century Hampshire overlaid with a 1775 waistcoat pattern.

 

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Sue Jones motif (left); Angela Snape (right). © Jennie Batchelor.

 

People loved how one design could look so different in different recreations, such as Angela Snape’s and Sue Jones’s equally beautiful but quite different renderings of a motif from a 1796 gown pattern.

 

 

Pleydell, Buchan, Roberts

Hoop by Bethany Pleydell; handkerchief by Melissa Roberts; ‘Emma’ embroidery by Pamela Buchan. © Jennie Batchelor.

 

They couldn’t believe that some of our participants were novice stitchers, as Bethany Playdell is. Honestly, Bethany, I’m not sure I believe you either. You are way too good. Other eagle-eyed exhibition goers got very excited when they spotted patterns that weren’t part of our original collection, such as Pamela Buchan’s beautiful embroidery of a pattern from Ackermann’s Repository and Melissa Roberts’ indescribably delicate plain sewn pocket handkerchief (about which Melissa has blogged – see link below – and which was inspired by one of her own Lady’s Magazine patterns).

 

 

Megan's bowl

Fabric bowl and textile jewellery by Megan Brown. © Jennie Batchelor.

 

And then there was the great hand versus machine embroidery conversation. Several of our items are machine embroidered, and one item in particular occasioned a long conversation in which I tried to persuade someone that Megan Brown’s gorgeous fabric bowl was not made by fingers alone. I think I said this three times, but I couldn’t shake the person’s faith. The bowl was so beautiful, so fine, and so precise it just had to be hand embroidered! It is all of those things, but it is not hand embroidered. I promise.

 

 

After the exhibition, and after filling a camera and phone full of photos, I made my way home. I had barely seen any of the rest of the exhibition, but I will return and not least because there are new Stitch Off items arriving all the time.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 14.23.38

Gentleman’s cravat pattern by Jennie Batchelor. © Jennie Batchelor.

One of the tremendously exciting things about the Stitch Off display is that it is not static and anyone can join us any time between now and the exhibition’s close in September 2016 (see this blog post for details). So if this has sparked your interest, please consider taking part. My own effort – I resurrected embroidery skills unused for 20 years to make up the 1796 gentleman’s cravat pattern – is on display in part to show people that if I can do it, anyone can and should feel free to give it a go.

Rachel's reticule

Crocheted and embroidered reticule by Rachel Whitechurch. © Jennie Batchelor.

 

A day after the preview, I can honestly say that I have rarely been as proud of anything work-related I have ever been involved in. I have been and continue to be bowled over by everyone’s enthusiasm, support for each others’ work no matter what their approach or medium, whether novice or expert, untrained or trained. In a small way, I like to think that through the project we are replicating the community that the Lady’s Magazine was so successful in creating and which was surely such an important part of its enduring appeal.

 

 

Lucy Dimmock's shoe

Shoe upper by Lucy Dimmock. © Jennie Batchelor

To make that sense of community even more real, some of our lovely Stitch Off participants (like the Lady’s Magazine’s original reader-contributors) are authoring accounts of their own experiences to share with you all. Some of these have been posted on other blogs and there is a link to these posts at the bottom of this one. Please do read them. Other Stitch Off blog posts by our Stitch-Offers, as I affectionately think of you all, will be posted later this week on our blog in an entire week in which we are giving over this site to the Stitch Off. Please read, comment and share as many of the posts as you can.

 

 

Finally, I just want to say thank you for making the Stitch Off – the result of a Twitter conversation late one evening – a reality. Whether you have made or are making something for us or cheering on from the sidelines, we appreciate it. This has been an absolutely delight!

Stitch Off blog posts

Maggie Gee’s kissing ball was such a talking point yesterday. You can read the first of Maggie’s multi-part blog post about her experiences here.

The wonderful Alison Larkin was the very first person to pick up the Stitch Off gauntlet and what a job she did for the Captain Cook Memorial Museum where her stunning shawl embroidery is currently being exhibited. You can read about it all here.

Melissa Roberts has blogged about creating her lovely pocket handkerchief based on a 1776 pattern in her own collection is here over at Two Threads Back.

Rachel Wright, who has made the glorious pashmina, has written no less than 3 fantastic posts about her process over at VirtuoSew Adventures. Here is the most recent, but we recommend you read them all.

For information about visiting the ‘Emma at 200’ exhibition at Chawton House Library, please follow this link.

 

Dr Jennie Batchelor

School of English

University of Kent

 

Identifying ‘R-’, part 2: possible family connections in the Lady’s Magazine

One of the recurring themes in this blog has been our conviction that the much-slighted Lady’s Magazine occupied an important position in the literary field of its time. It offered some later successful authors with a first opportunity to get their work into print, as for instance ‘C.D.H.’ or Catharine Day Haynes who went on to publish novels with the popular Minerva Press, and, although a leading literary historian has dismissed its tales as ‘predominantly decorous, sentimental, and moral’,[1] Jane Austen may have disagreed. However, every single contributor to the magazine is worthwhile looking into, because even if they did not develop into famous authors in their own right or were the unknown toilers who paved the way for writers of more renown, through their minor literary, critical or philosophical interventions they all participated in the shaping of literary history.

   It is easy to get carried away when investigating these contributors and to romanticize them as characters in the novel of their own lives, as some did themselves. A great many of the more obscure authors to the Lady’s Magazine were amateurs and few will have received payment for their submissions, so I used to wonder what it was that they got out of their efforts. I believe now that this is a cynical question for a cynical era, that would have been duly frowned upon in the age of Evelina. Part of the attraction of amateur authorship was the sheer thrill of it, the fashioning for oneself of a separate, often hidden second identity that made a change from one’s daily routine as a shopkeeper or unchallenged Georgian housewife. Eighteenth-century periodicals can themselves be a lot like eighteenth-century novels. Readers of the fiction of this period will know that there you are often given tantalizing dashes instead of (full) names for the leading characters, who sometimes go by mysterious spurious identities at that. Investigating a magazine you soon find yourself wanting to know all about the elusive flesh-and-blood people behind the countless paper-and-ink personae, represented by so many partial signatures and pseudonyms, with as much ardour as (though with less imagination than) Charlotte Lennox’s Arabella speculates about the ‘true’ identity of Edward the carp-stealing gardener. However, when the heroes are periodical contributors instead of characters in novels, the desired dénouement is not always possible.

LM X (Jan 1779): p. 6. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

LM X (Jan 1779): p. 6. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

   This makes it all the more gratifying when we do find out what we wanted to know. Through our combined sleuthing we have learned a lot about quite a few contributors already, and we are adding these discoveries to our annotated index. Two weeks ago, Jenny reported on ‘R- ’, whom we now know for sure to have been Radagunda Roberts, a minor female author and translator from a family of intellectuals. Though now forgotten, she moved in prominent literary circles sufficiently to warrant her an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, where she is included as “R. Roberts”. This note was very helpful for the research leads it offered on Roberts, but the fact that its immensely knowledgeable and experienced author Arthur Sherbo could only trace the initial of her first name, while her nowhere near as active and (from a literary and cultural-historical point of view) less important male relatives left more paper trails, is symptomatic for the fate of many female writers. It feels good to finally be able to fill in the gaps.

   That of course does not mean that the male members of the Roberts family would be irrelevant. Radagunda’s eldest brother Richard was the high-master of the prestigious St Paul’s School (London). She was also related to William Hayward Roberts, provost of Eton College, Anglican clergyman and religious poet, who may have been the “Rev. W. R.” who in 1785, about a year and a half after Radagunda disappears from the magazine, contributes a translated serialized extract from Juan Alvarez de Colmenar’s Annales d’Espagne et de Portugal (1741). This connection is as yet too tentative to dwell on, but will be pursued, as we are particularly interested in discovering relationships between authors outside of the magazine because this can help us to reveal networks for its many contributors. Reading and writing are social activities in this period to an extent that we are just beginning to understand.

   Another relative, present at least once in the Lady’s Magazine, was Radagunda’s youngest brother, (another) William Roberts. Jennie has located a birth certificate indicating that he was born in 1725, and an inclusion in the A biographical dictionary of the living authors of Great Britain and Ireland of 1816 which suggests that he at least lived into his nineties (if he had lived many years beyond that he would arguably be more famous). He is on record as having served in the military before settling as a tutor in Wandsworth.[2] Though not a professional author, he does have two books to his name: the essay Thoughts upon Creation (1782) and a slim volume of Poetical attempts (1784), both issued by prominent London publisher Thomas Cadell.

   The Thoughts are meant to prove that the state of the art in natural history and archaeology was in accordance with Scripture. It is for instance explained that ‘the eternal Essence, the invisible Jehovah’ inspired the invention of writing in the Middle East rather than elsewhere so that Moses could record the Torah,[3] and that, more recently, the findings on geography by the expedition of Captain Cook merely confirm the Book of Genesis.[4] While such views may seem odd several decades into the Enlightenment, they were by no means rare. However, the fact that Roberts went to the trouble of committing his Thoughts to paper may point towards a link to the then rising Evangelical movement. More hints about his ideological stances can be gleaned from the enthusiastic dedication of the Poetical attempts to Thomas Howard, 3rd Earl of Effingham, who in 1775 was the object of some controversy after his resignation from the British army in protest to the impending wars against the American colonial rebels. According to Roberts, Howard had hereby ‘manifested the true feelings of virtue, in rejecting emolument, when incompatible with principle’.[5] The Poetical attempts themselves are also intriguing, and for several reasons. Besides poetry by William Roberts himself, it also contains a poem ‘by Miss Roberts’, who could be one of William’s daughters Mary and Margaret (later literary executors to Hannah More), or indeed his sister Radagunda (unmarried and therefore also still a Miss). Either possibility would be exciting, but as the poem appears never to have been publicly acknowledged by or attributed to a specific author, we will probably never know.

Thomas Howard, by unidentified artist

Thomas Howard, by unknown artist

   In a roundabout way, the attempts have at least helped with the attribution of a poem in the Lady’s Magazine. In June 1781 a poem entitled ‘Nancy. An Elegy’ appears in the magazine, with the signature ‘E. G’. After I checked this item against a few online databases I found that it was almost identical to an unsigned “Elegy” that appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine in August 1758. There, however, the poem is addressed to a ‘Molly’ instead, making this one of many instances in the Lady’s Magazine of appropriated occasional verse for which only specific details were adapted in order to detach the purloined work from its original context. So, nothing unusual so far, but great was my surprise when I discovered that the poem, in the decades-old version of the Gentleman’s Magazine instead than in its more recent version of the Lady’s at that, was included three years later in a poetry collection by the brother of a regular contributor to our magazine. It seems unlikely that the fifty-nine-year-old William Roberts, who does not appear to have ever nourished strong ambitions to establish himself as a poet, would claim authorship for an unremarkable poem that he had not written himself. As he was 33 when it appeared in the Gentleman’s, he could certainly have been the original author. There is furthermore another poem addressed to ‘Molly’ among the attempts to corroborate this theory. Several scenarios can be imagined for how the adapted version ended up in the Lady’s Magazine 31 years after its original appearance. As said above, reader-contributors tacitly appropriated poems from other periodicals all the time, not rarely from sources as old as this. It is possible that Radagunda and her brother were as surprised as I was to see this poem suddenly resurface, submitted by whoever it was that chose to be known as ‘E. G.’. Alternatively, William could have been toying with the idea to collect his old poetic trials, and maybe wanted to test the waters by submitting pseudonymously an edited version of this elegy to the Lady’s Magazine, maybe motivated to change it slightly by the inconsistent attitude the magazine showed towards republication from rival periodicals such as the Gentleman’s.

Hannah More, by Henry William Pickersgill (1822)

Hannah More, by Henry William Pickersgill (1822)

   Besides daughters, William Roberts also had a son, named (again?!) William Roberts. William junior is most likely the author of “Cephalus and Procris, A Tale, by a Youth of Fifteen”, also in the attempts. Years later he would write the first biography of Hannah More (1834), and, as editor of the Tory-Evangelical British Review (1812-1825), he has the unenviable claim to fame of being lampooned by Byron in Don Juan. We have not yet found any evidence that the third and final William or his sisters Mary and Margaret contributed to the Lady’s Magazine, but this may well turn out to be the case. Whatever we find out will be waiting for you along with our many other discoveries in the index!

Dr Koenraad Claes

School of English, University of Kent

[1] Mayo, Robert. The English Novel in the Magazines: 1740-1815. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968. p. 188

[2] G. Le G. Norgate. ‘Roberts, William (1767–1849)’. Rev. Rebecca Mills. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23778] Last accessed 14 March 2016.

[3] Roberts, William. Thoughts upon Creation. London: T. Cadell, 1782. p. 23.

[4] idem, p. 59

[5] Roberts, William. Poetical attempts. London: 1784. n. p.

Thinking Back through our Mothers: The Lady’s Magazine on International Women’s Day

Today, 8 March 2016, is International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world. It is a time to look back at all our histories. A time to see where we were and to assess how far we have come. It is a time to remember (or in some cases to learn for the first time about) the work of women of the past.

It is also, of course, a time to take stock of where we are now. And it is a time to look forwards, to plan and to commit to the work that still needs to be done. It is a moment to pledge for parity –  this year’s International Women’s Day theme – to ensure that our literal and metaphorical daughters, sisters, nieces and cousins can realise their ambitions. It is reminder that we need to ‘respect and value difference’, to foster female leadership and to ‘develop more inclusive and flexible cultures’ that root out gender bias. [1]

Both as a working mother of two children (a girl and a boy) and as a teacher, I urgently feel the obligation to pledge for gender parity now for the sake of all our futures. As an eighteenth-centuryist, who spends much of her life vicariously (and very happily) living in the past, I believe passionately that looking backwards is one of the most powerful catalysts we have to propel us forwards.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.25.25

LM IV (Jan 1773). Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

 

This isn’t just about assessing how far we’ve come. The very first thing that history, surely, teaches any of us is that there is no inexorable progress towards present-day, or even future, perfection. History is a game of gains and losses; of advancement and regression; of ‘uneven developments’, to borrow the words of Mary Poovey [2]. But taking the long view of that game, of its repercussions and the all-too real stakes for which the people involved have played, is more than instructive. History has the potential to let us see the present anew. It enables us to see through the fictions we have been told about how the world was, and to refract alternative possibilities for the future through the prism of the past.

 

 

 

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I think that the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) offers one such generative contact point between women’s pasts, presents and futures.

Now, I’m not saying that the Lady’s Magazine is straightforwardly (or even complicatedly) a feminist publication, although I do have a habit of telling anyone who will listen that the magazine called for a ‘revolution in female manners’ a good 14 years before Mary Wollstonecraft much more famously did so in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) (LM 9 [Jan 1778]: iii).

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LM I (Apr 1771): 418. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Early feminist polemic certainly had its place in the Lady’s Magazine. The first of many times the periodical referred to womens ‘rights’ was in an essay ‘On the Strength and Bravery of the Female Sex’, signed Lucinda, which appeared in its fourth issue in January 1771 [LM I (Jan 1771): 261]. Extracts of Wollstonecraft’s work appeared in the periodical in the 1790s, alongside memoirs of and observations on the works and lives of the likes of Mary Astell, Madame Dacier, Emilie du Chatelet, and Damaris Masham. The political and cultural achievements of women from antiquity to its present and from all over the world were celebrated every month in the magazine in one-off biographies and biographical serials such as ‘Memoirs of Remarkable Ladies of Great Britain’ (1774-1776) and ‘The Lady’s Biography, Or the Lives of celebrated and illustrious Women, ancient and modern; adapted particularly to the Amusement and Instruction of the Fair Sex’ (1771-1772) .

The women remembered and celebrated in these columns excelled in classical learning, in literature, in the arts, on the stage, and in politics. They included notable women from Cleopatra and Empress Athenais, to Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Nell Gwynn, Sarah Siddons, and bluestockings Elizabeth Rowe and Elizabeth Carter. The magazine was always international in focus. It acknowledged and helped further to entrench the influence of important French women writers including Madame de Genlis and Madeleine de Scudéry, while it brought to readers’ attention via translations of works such as Geronymo Feijoo’s  Defence of Women (1726) the lives and work of Greek, French, German and Italian women (serialised 1810-1811).

The magazine was frequently passionate in its advocacy of women’s right to education and argued that historical precedent urged its necessity and efficacy. To quote from Lucinda’s aforementioned 1771 article

Women formerly had the supreme command at Lacadaemon. These brave people were always virtuous, [… and] conceived so high an idea of the prudence and wisdom of women, who had shown amazing judgment and penetration in a a thousand important affairs relative to the public welfare, that at length nothing was determined without their advice. At Athens also, the school of wisdom, and seat of the arts, women were consulted in the most critical circumstances, and the preference was always given to their opinion. Nicaulin, the famous queen; Semiramis, empress of Assyria; Elizabeth, queen of England; and many others have rendered it doubtful, whether it is more advantageous for a state to be governed by a male or a female administration. (LM I [Jan 1771]: 261)

Benito Feijoo

Portrait of Feijoo y Montenegro by Juan Bernabé Palomino.

Culture’s insidious masquerading as nature, or to use Lucinda’s own words, ‘bad education’ and ‘the malice of man[‘s]’ corruption of the ‘intentions of nature’ in degrading women and denying them parity of opportunity, would be a recurrent refrain of the magazine for its next six decades. Women were equally as educable as men. The history of women teaches us, above all, to quote Elenir Irwin’s extraordinary translation of Feijoo’s Defence of Women that: ‘the excellencies of men cannot be denied to women’ on any rational grounds (LM 41 [Dec 1810]: 531).

Despite such claims, the magazine’s until recent reputation as a conduct book by another name and association with gender conservatism is not wholly unwarranted [3]. The Lady’s Magazine could be deeply condescending towards women, and misogyny finds its home in many articles that tried to police what women wore, could talk about or even read. The opening line of the sanctimonious 1788 serial ‘Letters from a Brother to a Sister at a Boarding School’ speaks for many of the magazine’s bluntest male contributors: ‘Do you know, Mary, that you are very ignorant?’ (LM 39 [Mar 1788]: 107).

Men, in fact, have a lot to say about women in the Lady’s Magazine. Indeed, two of the things that most surprise first-time readers of the periodical are how many men clearly subscribed to and enjoyed it, and how much of its contents seems to have been authored by male authors from schoolboys to married men and elderly bachelors. While many female contributors challenged men’s right to attempt to police their lives and behaviour, calls to ‘bar the male creatures’ from the magazine were never heeded. (LM 31 [Mar 1780]: 125).

But despite the presence of men in the magazine and despite the misogyny that pours out in a number of contributions by men and women in its pages (misogyny never was nor ever will be an exclusively male preserve), I would argue until my last breath that the Lady’s Magazine has an important place in the history of women’s writing and in women’s history more broadly.

To document all the reasons why would take much more space than I have here. It’s partly why I am writing a book about just this subject. But suffice it to say for now, that the magazine provided an important space and place for women’s writing (current and past, British and international) that had significant impact. Careers were launched in the magazine’s pages, from those of George Crabbe to Gothic novelists Catherine Cuthbertson, George Moore, Mrs A. Kendall. Later writers such as Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, who wished ‘[w]ith all my heart … I had been born in time to contribute to the Lady’s Magazine’, were undoubtedly influenced by it [4].

LM IX ( Jan 1779): 148. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Cambridge University Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

LM IX ( Jan 1779): 148. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Cambridge University Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Most of all, though, the magazine’s greatest achievement, as I have argued before, was its creation of a community of readers and reader-contributors in which women and what we might now call women’s issues took centre stage. They did so by never taking as read that any issue, topic or pursuit was inherently gendered. Mathematics, philosophy and astronomy were widely understood as male preserves at the time, but the magazine would argue forcefully for women’s right to access and practice these fields. It was, after all, not ‘astonishing’ that ‘a Newton should not have sprung up from our [the female] sex’, the pseudonymous Sukey Foresight argued, when ‘no lady […] ever experienced an education similar to Sir Isaac Newton’ (LM 31 [Apr 1780]: 181). By the same token, traditionally feminine subjects such as fashion, to which much page space in the magazine was dedicated, were widely discussed in and disseminated by the magazine, but their politics and place in women’s lives was always open to debate and always presented as only adorning those women equally committed to the ‘cultivation of their minds’ (LM 32 [Oct 1781]: 506).

Today, of course, communities for articulating and debating women’s issues have proliferated thanks, in large part, to the growth of the internet and social media. The conversation has expanded exponentially; its current reach would have been unimaginable to readers of the Lady’s Magazine whose own circulation seems to have been around (a still quite astonishing) 15000 copies a month at the height of its popularity. Just in our the online Twitter and Facebook communities focused around this research project, I regularly talk to hundreds of followers in the US, Tasmania, Russia, Japan and India. But as the conversation grows about gender parity there is also a danger that it could more splintered or more local in focus.

Today, the example of the Lady’s Magazine, no matter how conflicted its own gender politics is, reminds me that we need to hold on to the bigger picture. We need, I firmly believe, to keep an eye on the long view, on what women have gained and lost in recent decades and even over the course of centuries. We also need to look beyond national boundaries to advocate women’s access to education and their right to live lives of opportunity without prejudice and fear wherever they live in the world.

Notes

[1] http://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme. <Accessed 7 March 2016>

[2] Mary Poovey, Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

[3] See, for instance, Kathryn Shevelow, Women and Print Culture: The Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 188-89.

[4] Letter to Hartley Coleridge, 10 December 1840, The Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë: Vol. I, 1829-1847, ed. Margaret Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 240.

 

Dr Jennie Batchelor

School of English

University of Kent

 

Searching for ‘R’: A Collaborative Identification

One of the questions we are often asked about the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) is regarding the identities of the magazine’s thousands of anonymous and pseudonymous writers who were often longtime contributors. Koenraad, Jennie and I have all written about some of the methodologies we use, problems we encounter and attributions we have made in various blog posts regarding the identity of these elusive authors. While my role on the project is focused on the examination and analysis of content, I often become intrigued (some might say obsessed) with the question of the individual behind the mask. In such instances, our team’s collaborative efforts are at once essential and particularly fruitful.

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LM IX (March 1778): 148. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

‘R’, a prolific contributor of tales and translations, was a particularly intriguing puzzle in terms of identification for a number of reasons. First, the number of contributions by ‘R’ was enormous and varied and the simple letter ‘R’ could be used by any number of different contributors. Additionally, ‘R’ was signed variously ‘R’, ‘R.’ and ‘R—’, making it difficult to pin down which contributions were from the individual we sought and not another ‘R’. Finally, the initial ‘R’ and its voluminous contributions raised the potential question of a link to magazine’s publishers, the Robinson family, and one of its initial publishers, J. Roberts. The various ‘R’ signatures to the tales and translations are likely distinct from the ‘R’ signatures to a serial feature in the magazine also appearing in the early to mid-1770s, ‘The Friend to the Fair Sex.’ While the ‘R’ who contributed tales and translations sometimes self-identifies as a ‘lady’, readers tended to address the ‘R’ author of ‘The Friend to the Fair Sex’ as a male, in part because the serial often berated women. While this isn’t proof that the signature was in use by multiple contributors, it does indicate that there were at least two distinct writers using the initial in the first decades of the magazine.

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LM IX [March 1778]. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

The search began in earnest after Koenraad located a note by E. W. Pitcher to the Literary Research Newsletter Vol. 5, No. 3 (summer 1980). Pitcher contributed ‘The Miscellaneous Periodical Works and Translations of Miss R. Roberts’ that attributes the items signed “R-” to this obscure magazine writer of the late eighteenth century. In the article, Pitcher points out that some of serials signed ‘R’ also used pseudonyms such as ‘Georgiana’ in different installments and were thus perhaps ‘translations of young ladies under her tutorship’, pointing towards Miss Roberts’ potential role as a teacher whose translations for the magazine were at times composites of her work and  that of her students (Pitcher, 127). Miss R. Roberts, Pitcher further notes, was the sister of Dr. Roberts, who was the High Master of St. Paul’s School. Using this as our starting point, the hunt began.

There is, in fact, an ONDB entry for ‘Roberts, R.’, that lists the elusive contributor as a translator and sermon writer, detailing information about her family in Gloucester and mentions her brother, Dr. Roberts, naming him as Richard (another ‘R’) and listed a host of her works; primarily translations. Roberts’ publications include: Select Moral Tales (Gloucester: 1763), a translation of four tales from Jean François Marmontel’s Contes moraux; Sermons Written by a Lady, the Translatress of Four Select Tales from Marmontel (1770); Elements of the History of France (1771), an abridged translation of Claude-François-Xavier Millot’s Élemens de l’histoire de France; Peruvian Letters — a translation of Mme Françoise de Graffigny’s Lettres d’une péruvienne (2 vols., 1747), The triumph of truth; or memoirs of M. De La Villette (T. Cadell, 1775); Malcolm (1779) an unstaged blank-verse tragedy; and Albert, Edward, and Laura, and the Hermit of Priestland; Three Legendary Tales (1783).

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The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal LXIX (July-Dec): 342.

Roberts’ most significant work was probably the translation of Graffigny’s letters, to which she added a third volume consisting of nine letters. The attribution of the translation to Miss Roberts derives from a letter by Frances Brooke, a contemporary (and rival) translator and periodicalist who was much better known than Roberts. Marijn S. Kaplan’s edition Translations and Continuations: Ricoboni and Brooke, Graffigny and Roberts provides details of Roberts’ translations and her connection to Frances Brooke, with whom Roberts shared a publisher and whose son Jack attend St. Paul’s School, where Roberts’ brother was High Master  (Kaplan, xi-xii).

Roberts death notice

GM, 58 (Jan 1788): 85

While the ONDB entry suggests that Roberts spent most of her life in Gloucester, noting the family link to Hannah More (via her nieces Mary and Margaret, daughters of her brother William) and her connection to Dr. Hawkesworth, Roberts’ first name and any details of her own life were absent. Using the information in the ONDB I began searching for her brother and family members. Eventually I uncovered the family’s genealogy records on ancestry.co.uk and although I found Richard, William, and other siblings in the records of St. Philip and St. Jacob’s, Bristol, there was no female ‘R’ listed in the available parish records. Yet the ONDB had offered a very specific death date of 14 January 1788 so, using that date and the last name Roberts, I worked backwards in my search, restarting with death rather than birth.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 13.30.07Finally, success! I located the burial record for a ‘Radiganda Roberts’ in Surrey, Southwark borough, in the parish of St. Mary, Newington, buried on 21 January 1788. The enigmatic Miss Roberts was no Rachel or Rebecca, but something much more unusual altogether.

I cast my net further, moving onto various records including the National Archives website. Another success: the will of ‘Radagunda Roberts’ – and what a will it was. It established the identity of Miss Roberts as Radagunda, who died in Southwark listed in the parish records as ‘Radiganda’. Additionally, it established a very firm and odd link to Dr Hawkesworth that was hinted at in the description of her translation The triumph of truth; or memoirs of M. De La Villette (T. Cadell, 1775) as ‘undertaken at the request of the late Dr Hawkesworth, who revised and corrected the translation’ (Daily Advertiser, 7 August 1775).

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Image © The National Archives, not to be reproduced without permission.

The will states ‘if my friends will kindly indulge me in it I beg to be privately buried at Bromley in the same grave with Dr. Hawkesworth and as Mrs. Hawkesworth may chuse to lye on his right hand I humbly sue for a place on his left and hope that favor will not be denied me but should it be too inconvenient my next request is to be buried with my father and mother’. Roberts’ request to lie on Dr Hawkesworth’s left was not granted and she was buried with her family. The intriguing request, hardly conventional for an unmarried and religious woman of the eighteenth century, points to a close relationship with John Hawkesworth (1715-1773), the celebrated translator of Telemachus (trans. 1768) whose edition of Cook’s Voyages was so largely criticised it was said to have hastened his death. Roberts’ copy of Hawkesworth’s Telemachus is singled out in her will; Roberts requests that her nephew, Alfred William Roberts, single out the book and preserve it along with her inkstand.

The will’s usual bequests to family members demonstrate her closeness to her nieces and clarifies that she did not, as the ONDB suggests, spend her life in Gloucester but rather lived with her brother Dr Richard Roberts and his wife in London. It is likely that she moved to London after the publication of her 1763 translation of Marmontel, which was published in Gloucester, and before the publication of Sermons Written by a Lady, the Translatress of Four Select Tales from Marmontel, which was published in London in 1770.

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LM VII [Sept 1777]: 484. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Her contributions to the Lady’s Magazine include a number of tales, often moral, oriental and didactic, such as ‘Malvolio; or Domestic distress’ LM VII [July 1776]: 342, ‘Dorilacia, or the fair captive’ LM VII [Sept 1777]: 484, ‘Saccharissa; or the Pitcher Broken’ LM IX [April 1778]: 171, ‘Philidor and Irene, or rural love LM X [March 1779]: 116, ‘Omrah restored’ LM X [July 1779]: 340, among many others. The tales are often illustrated and such engravings would likely either have to be commissioned after the editors received a tale or be sent to the contributor beforehand in order to match the tale to the engravings. That many of Roberts’ tales are illustrated thus hints at the possibility that Roberts was personally known to the magazine’s editors as a paid or regular contributor.

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LM VII [Sept 1777]. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

This information is only a starting point in our ability to map out more clearly the extent of Roberts’ contributions to the magazine and to attempt to uncover a potential relationship with the magazine’s editors or publishers and perhaps discover more about her relationship with Hawkesworth. On these lines, Jennie Batchelor has recently located a letter from Hawkesworth to Roberts held in the library at Harvard that may offer further information regarding this prolific yet largely forgotten translator and writer. While our work here has just begun, it has been a fascinating process so far, and has been a truly collaborative effort of discovery.

Sources:

Kaplan, Marijn S., Translations and Continuations: Ricoboni and Brooke, Graffigny and Roberts (London and New York: Routledge, rept. 2016 [2011]).

Mayo, Robert, The English Novel in the Magazine 1740-1815 (Evanston and London, 1962), catalog entries 225, 226, 287, 311, 314, 463, 859, 985, 1224 and 1260.

Pitcher, E. W., ‘The Miscellaneous Periodical Works and Translations of Miss R. Roberts’, Literary Research Newsletter Vol. 5, No. 3 (Summer 1980): 125-8.

Sherbo, Arthur, ‘Roberts, R. (c.1728–1788)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/69592, accessed 25 Feb 2016]

Sources cited within Sherbo’s ONDB entry: J. Todd, ed., A dictionary of British and American women writers, 1660–1800 (1984) · P. Ripley, ed., A calendar of the registers of the freemen of the city of Gloucester, 1641–1838 (1991) · M. A. Hopkins, Hannah More and her circle (1947) · GM, 1st ser., 58 (1788), 85 · Foster, Alum. Oxon., 1715–1886 [Richard Roberts] · private information (2004) [Betty Rizzo]

 

Jenny DiPlacidi

University of Kent

 

 

Jane Austen, the Lady’s Magazine and what if Mr Knightley didn’t marry Emma?

Regular readers of this blog will know that the Lady’s Magazine project is currently running ‘The Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off’. We have made available 8 of the magazine’s embroidery patterns, which are being recreated, as I type, by dozens of people around the world. Many of the results will soon be on display in a major new exhibition, ‘Emma at 200: From English Village to Global Appeal’, which opens at Chawton House Library next month, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of arguably Austen’s best-crafted novel.

The fact that the Lady’s Magazine has found its way into the exhibition – in a room that will be devoted to the arts of music, needlework and painting – is absolutely fitting. The magazine fed, while also being critical of, the appetite to cultivate female accomplishments in the period. It printed song sheets for much of its run as well as monthly embroidery patterns. The magazine also encouraged word play, and the kind of games that generate so much misunderstanding in Emma owe more than a small debt to the enigmas published in the Lady’s Magazine and other rival publications.

The magazine also featured and was widely read by well-known predecessors and contemporaries of Austen. The work of Stéphanie-Félicité de Genlis, a first edition of whose The Duchess of La Valliere (1804) will be exhibited at ‘Emma at 200’, was widely translated and her works serialized at length in the Lady’s Magazine. Successors of Austen read the magazine avidly, including Charlotte Brontë, whose letter on reading Emma is being loaned from Huntington library in California and will take pride of place at the exhibition.

But did Jane Austen read the Lady’s Magazine?

I wish I could say yes – my gut tells me yes – but the honest answer is we cannot be sure for now. What we do know is that the magazine was available from libraries from which the Austen family borrowed; that its fiction was circulated in the Hampshire Chronicle; and that Austen’s own novels owe some striking debts to characters and plotlines developed in the magazine’s short stories.

As Edward Copeland pointed out in his 1989 essay ‘Money Talks: Jane Austen and the Lady’s Magazine’, more than one Austen character may owe their names (and some of their traits) to short fiction in the Lady’s Magazine. Is it a coincidence that a Brandon and Willoughby both appear in Lady’s Magazine short story, ‘The Ship-Wreck’, from the Supplement for 1794? [1] Perhaps.

But as Oscar Wilde would likely not say, to find one or two literary parents in a magazine may be regarded as coincidence; to find three or four looks like proof positive.

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This second piece of evidence we have is an anonymous moral tale that appeared in the November 1802 Lady’s Magazine entitled ‘Guilt Pursued by Conscience’. The story follows an alarming encounter between a young woman and ‘a man in dirty and tattered clothes, … a long beard, and naked legs and feet.’ Granted these aren’t children – the only child in this scene is the young woman’s own infant – but the parallels between this episode and that in which Harriet Smith is surprised by the gypsies in Emma are noticeable. They strike all the more forcibly because the story tells us that the young woman at the centre of ‘Guilt Pursued by Conscience’ is a ‘deserted orphan’ raised at a ‘boarding school’ (LM 33 [Nov. 1802]: 563).

Her name is Clara, a woman of dubious origins and few prospects, who ‘despise[s] ambition’ and seeks ‘only the genuine enjoyments of domestic happiness’. These she finds in abundance with one Mr Knightley, a ‘country gentleman’ who rarely visit ‘the capital’ and who disregards the ‘sneers’ of friends by ignoring the lack of advantage in the connection and marries the young boarding school girl (563).

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LM XXXIII (Nov 1802): 563. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

The remainder of the story rapidly documents Clara’s history. The apparent beggar is, in fact, a wealthy former business partner of Clara’s father, who had been entrusted to make financial and pastoral provision for his friend’s charge after his death. Giving way instead to his greed and the prospects of increasing his fortune, however, he subsequently abandoned the child and when finally too troubled by his conscience to continue his life of dissipation, found himself unable to locate her, upon which unsettling discovery, he renounced his fortune to self-punish his misguided deeds. In the kind of improbably serendipitous resolution that was very familiar to Lady’s Magazine readers, this chance encounter with Clara leads to the restoration of family ties and the heroine’s fortune.

As Copeland points out, in so many ways, ‘Guilt Pursued by Conscience’ is a world apart from that of Emma’s Highbury. Indeed, Austen seems to reject outright the romance resolution that structures the ending of so many Lady’s Magazine moral tales: Harriet Smith will, after all, not marry the country gentleman. One of the lessons that Emma, especially, has to learn is that such quixotic readings of the world have no place within it and belief in them leads only to heartache.

But what are we to make of the connection between Austen’s novel and this obscure tale? Is Austen’s apparent re-writing of ‘Guilt Pursued by Conscience’ an attempt to obliterate – or overwrite, to use the term William L. Warner uses in relation to Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740) – the popular fiction that preceded it? [2] Perhaps.

I can’t help but feel, though, that Austen (like Richardson when writing back to the likes of Eliza Haywood) is more than a little indebted to what she might seem to criticise. Remember chapter 5 of Northanger Abbey? Austen was one of the most eloquent defenders of popular fiction of her day.

And let’s remember also that Austen wasn’t averse to deploying the improbably serendipitous ending herself. All those characters falling out of love with the wrong people and in love with right ones at exactly the right moment. All very convenient. All very ironically done. And all very Lady’s Magazine-like.

Clara Knightley and Harriet Smith have, I think, lots in common. Granted, Clara is fortuitously restored to her birthright, where Harriet doesn’t have one to be restored to, but as the moral tale and Austen’s novel make clear, neither woman needs nor wants one. Clara is perfectly happy with her Mr Knightley (who wouldn’t be?) as he is with his wife before the intervention of her putative guardian, just as Harriet is mutually happy with Robert Martin before Emma gets involved.

Both ‘Guilt Pursued by Conscience’ and Emma, I would suggest, are works of fiction that are about the improbable demands of readers for fictions of female happiness that can fall very wide of the mark. The short fiction in the Lady’s Magazine may not wear its irony as proudly or as deftly as Austen’s novels do, but it is there nonetheless, ready for Austen to learn from it.

Emma at 200: From English Village to Global Appeal’ runs at Chawton House from 21 March to 25 September 2016. The treasured items that will be on display for the duration of the exhibition are being loaned to the Library (a charity) free of charge, but Chawton House Library needs to raise at least £8,000 to cover transport, security and insurance costs. If you are able to make a donation online, no matter how small, please visit Chawton House Library’s website, here.

Notes:

[1] Edward Copeland, ‘Money Talks: Jane Austen and the Lady’s Magazine’, in Jane Austen’s Beginnings: The Juvenilia and Lady Susan (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989), 153-71.

[2] William B. Warner, Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684-1750 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998). See chapter 5.

 

Dr Jennie Batchelor

School of English

University of Kent

 

 

The sources of appropriated content in the Lady’s Magazine: some tendencies in vols. I to X (1770-1779)

Already several of our blog posts have discussed the many instances of appropriated content in the Lady’s Magazine. In my last post, I discussed the methodology by means of which I try to find the sources of these non-original items, and a few kind readers have since humoured me by asking about my findings. Of course, everything will be revealed in our index, but I would be happy to divulge a little more here, by looking at some discernible tendencies in the first ten volumes of the magazine (1770-1779), comprising the first 3,173 entries in the index.

    As most periodicals of its day, and particularly those in the ‘magazine’ category, the Lady’s Magazine continuously lifted content from other publications. Often these were complete and verbatim reprints, but there were also countless extracts from books and from larger contributions to other periodicals, that were furthermore regularly edited or paraphrased, or assembled into Frankensteinian collages of extracts that together form one (not always seamless) larger feature. Reader-contributors as well as editors heartily took part. After I dropped a P-bomb in one post of last year, the three of us and some of our favourite readers had a productive debate within this blog and on Twitter (@ladysmagproject) on whether ‘plagiarism’ was a suitable word for this practice, and decided that we would avoid it, in favour of the more neutral ‘appropriations’. The term ‘plagiarism’ was occasionally used in the Lady’s Magazine, seemingly in the sense that we use it today, but like other authorship scholars we are wary of oversimplifying an inevitably complicated situation by applying a damning term to what really was a very common practice.

LM VIII (July 1777): p. 377. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

LM VIII (July 1777): p. 377. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

    In most cases, appropriation was not problematic from a legal point of view, although the ways in which it happens suggest some ethical misgivings on the part of the appropriators. The Lady’s Magazine’s extracts often do not have an attribution (identification of an author) or ascription (citation of a source) and hardly ever have both; sometimes they are surreptitiously detached from their original authors and publication context by means of spurious signatures, and sometimes translated, paraphrased or edited so as to make them seem entirely new. Adapted appropriations can be difficult to spot, but one develops a sort of fondness for the intricacy of this intellectual theft. You may have seen a similar thing happen to police detectives on crime shows.

James Cook (William Hodges - 1776)

James Cook (William Hodges – 1776)

Finding sources for content that you suspect to have been appropriated does get easier after a while, because certain patterns arise that are dependent on the fluctuating prestige of the sources or the popularity of certain genres and themes. It is important to understand that then as now, magazines were business ventures, and editors value efficiency in their task to fill their publications with content that the readership will appreciate. The editors and enterprising reader-contributors of the Lady’s Magazine regularly went to work a-cutting and a-pasting themselves, and it will come as no surprise, for instance, that soon after two book-length eyewitness accounts of Captain Cook’s travels appeared in 1777 (Cook’s own A Voyage Towards the South Pole, and round the world and George Forster’s A Voyage around the World), several extracts from both are published. For topical sources like these, where the name arguably was a selling point and nobody would be fooled by a tacit appropriation anyway, due attributions and ascriptions tend to be included. Recent books in general, especially when issued by the Lady’s Magazine’s publisher Robinson, were more likely to get some bibliographical details, in keep with the secondary function of the magazine as a ‘miscellany’ that digested recent publications as a service to the reader. Newspaper accounts of famous court cases were as a rule reprinted without citation because news coverage in those days was considered at everyone’s disposal, but during the American Revolutionary War the governmental London Gazette is respectfully cited when the Lady’s Magazine takes up its dispatches. This may have been done out of patriotic deference to this institution and because of the authority carried by the source.

    For older source texts there does not seem to have been a consistent attribution policy. Correspondence columns in the magazine indicate that the editors were regularly duped by reader-contributors passing off work by others as their own, but because the appropriation practices are so similar and we know so little about the magazine’s personnel, it is rarely possible to tell which signatures refer to staff writers and which to readers. Sometimes essays from The Spectator, over 60 years old at that point, were extracted from without any mention of their provenance, for instance in the essay ‘Sketches of the whole duty of women’ (Suppl. 1777), signed ‘T.’, which is in fact a verbatim lift from The Spectator No. 342 (2 April 1712). Other items do give credit to ‘Mr. Addison,’ or to ‘Dr. Goldsmith’ (whose essay periodical The Bee of 1756 to 1759 however is pirated several times too).

    Confusingly, as content circulated (almost) freely through the press, we need to distinguish between what I have come to call ‘direct appropriations’, taken straight from the ultimate source, and ‘appropriated appropriations’ (for want of a better term). Extraction necessitates a process of selection, and it is hard work to read through a great number of old or recent publications to get to suitable bits, so it was a lot quicker if someone else had done the selecting for you. The two most recurrent types of sources in the first ten volumes are publications that do just that.

    The most common sources for appropriation are other periodicals. You should not feel sorry for them: they gave as good as they got and many borrowed from the Lady’s Magazine in turn. When you are selling your wares in a market you want to keep track of the competition, and in the case of the Lady’s Magazine that meant other successful titles catering for a socially and ideologically diverse audience.  Which competitors a periodical appropriated from can tell you a lot about its marketing strategy, although in these cases there is only rarely any acknowledgement of the source. The most common source for identified appropriations from periodicals is the Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1922), the pioneering publication in the magazine genre in Britain that was probably the bestselling periodical in these isles for the first century of its existence. The second most regular periodical source is the Gentleman’s closest early contender, the first London Magazine (1732-1785). It takes all kinds of items from these two publications and others like it, ranging from letters to the editor to poetry. Because these publications from their earliest numbers included circulating content too, the Lady’s Magazine often copied from them not second-hand, but third-hand or maybe even fourth-hand material. I have found instances where other periodicals subsequently took this up from the Lady’s Magazine, and a chain of appropriations continued that could last for over a hundred years.

    Interestingly, as with the essay periodicals mentioned above, decades-old pieces were often chosen. The fact that sometimes, in the same period, several items from the same volume of an older periodical are reprinted in the Lady’s Magazine, implies that the staff writers when pressed for copy (true to the evocative eighteenth-century image of the ‘hack’)   would randomly open an old volume and start extracting. It happens very often that an extract is printed – again often without any mention of its being an extract in the first place – that is traceable to an ultimate source (a book), where suspiciously the extract corresponds to a quote given in an article on the book in question. Essays on books in the Critical Review and the Monthly Review are regular targets.

La Maintenon (Louis de Mornay - 1664)

La Maintenon (Louis de Mornay – 1664)

For instance, in December 1778 the anecdotal piece ‘Striking instances of the charitable character of Madame de Maintenon’ appears in the Lady’s Magazine, without signature. It turns out that this item was extracted from Memoirs for the history of Madame de Maintenon and of the last age (1757), a translation by Charlotte Lennox of the French original by Laurent Angliviel de La Beaumelle (1755). The plot thickens: the exact same passage is quoted in an article on that book which appeared in the Critical Review 2.4 (April 1757). It is more than likely that the Lady’s Magazine staff writer who provided this item had not even gleaned it straight from the book, but just made off with the bite-sized morsel conveniently provided in Tobias Smollett’s periodical. For extracts from recent and more topical books, the magazine often turned to the then most recent issue of the Annual Register (1758-), of which the main interest was that it itself had selected the most noteworthy publications of the past year, and, conveniently for the Lady’s Magazine, it too often featured generous quotations.

    The second most common sources for appropriation are reference works. As we are still in the so-called ‘Age of Enlightenment’, encyclopedic works were popular, and these seem to have been the most frequent ultimate sources of the countless historical anecdotes and popular-scientific (mostly geography and natural history) items that appeared in late-eighteenth-century magazines. These reference works are tricky to trace with certainty, because just like periodicals they are to a large extent composed of foraged content, usually being a patchwork of translated bits from French sources and pirated older sources on the same topic. To an eighteenth-century magazine editor, extracts are like potato crisps: it’s difficult to have just one. When the Lady’s Magazine ‘discovers’ a useful reference work, it tends to make the most of it, and sometimes uses it without acknowledgement to supply an entire series. In 1771, to give but one example, the series ‘The Lady’s Biography’ consisting of potted histories of the lives of famous women from Herod’s wife Mariamne to Mary Queen of Scots, is entirely lifted from the anonymous Biographium Faemineum: The Female Worthies (1766).

We are of course not the only researchers who are fascinated by appropriation. Jenny and I, joined by our Kent colleague Dr. Kim Simpson, will have a panel on ‘Appropriation as cultural transmission in the eighteenth-century periodical press’ at the upcoming conference Authorship and Appropriation (University of Dundee – 8 and 9 April 2016). We hope to see many of you there, and will say more about our papers in future blog posts!

Dr. Koenraad Claes

School of English, University of Kent

Animals, Children and Lessons in the Lady’s Magazine

Representations of animals and children abound in the Lady’s Magazine; I have written Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.37.34previously about John Legg’s love of wildlife and sympathy for hunted hares and foxes. Poems focusing on pets are common and range from the melancholy – ‘Verses written on the Death of Deborah’s Cat’ (LM XII [Sept 1782]: 495), to the curious – ‘Verses by a Gentleman to his Bird on his Parting with it to a Lady’ (LM VII [Dec 1776]: 661), to the downright odd – ‘Inscriptions on two monkey’s collars’ (LM XXII [May 1791]: 272). Serial features such as John Legg’s ‘Ornithology; or, A New and Complete Natural History of English Birds’ (1782-85) and Ann Murray’s ‘The Moral Zoologist’ (1800-05) provide the magazine’s readers with anecdotal and scientific information on animals both close to home and exotic. Across the genres, including tales that demonstrate the loyalty of dogs or the anecdotes regarding the sagacity of insects, animals are a frequent topic for the magazine’s contributors.

LikewiseScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.43.22, children are ever-present in the magazine. In fiction, they appear in sentimental or moral tales such as Memoirs of a Young Lady (1783-86) or The Happy Discovery (LM XIX [March 1788]: 142) as beautiful and sweet, orphaned innocents. They are the focus of (sometimes terrifying) medical advice, the subject of advice queries to the Matron, or the characters in serial novels dealing with the trials of their management (‘The Mother-in-Law, 1785-86). And sometimes they are the intended readers of the items themselves.

This is the case for the serial fiction ‘Domestic Lessons for the Use of the Younger Part of the Female Readers of the Lady’s Magazine’ (LM XVII [Supp 1786]: 705 – LM XXI [March 1790]: 137), a long-running feature that is comprised of a series of short, instructive tales with a moral or conduct lesson. The anonymous serial was introduced by the editors in the 1786 supplement as a work ‘never before published’ (LM XVII [Supp 1786]: 705) and in spite of my efforts, its authorship remains unknown. Many of the short tales within the serial feature animals as well as children, with unsettling results. One of the more disturbing tales is the ‘second lesson’, entitled ‘The Mad-Dog’.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 07.04.03

The lesson revolves around a father and mother’s attempts to cure their daughter, Georgina, of her ‘teizing temper’ that displayed itself, from a very young age, in cruelty towards animals. Georgina Sagely, ‘from her earliest infancy [. . .] pretended to be very fond of animals: of birds, beasts, and even insects, only to get them into her power, that she might exercise a cruelty over them, which was at once inhuman and unwarrantable. She would coax her dog to come near her, and then beat him unmercifully; and would tempt cats with pieces of meat or fish, and then run pins into them till they screamed with pain’ (LM XVIII [April 1787]: 202). While the parents are described as ‘very indulgent’, the author implies both from her behaviour displaying itself from infancy, and from the presence of two brothers who are kind to animals, that the fault is inherent in Georgina rather than the result of her parents’ indulgency.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 19.37.33Georgina continues to mistreat and torment the animals around her when, at age 15, her father takes away the animals under her care. The incident that follows is distinctive in its perspective. Mr. Sagely looks for his daughter and finds her in the garden and, observing her before she seems him, he realizes she is ‘spinning a cock-chaffer, suspended by a thread, which had been fixed to a crooked pin piercing its tail’ (LM XVIII [April 1787]: 203). The point of view here moves from an omniscient narrator to a limited third-person narration in which the reader sees Georgina from her father’s point of view, and is closely aligned with his thoughts as he watches his daughter, unable to access her feelings.

‘He stood, for a moment, the image of surprise; looking at her, unseen, and examining her features with the utmost attention: willing to hope, that the gratification of a trifling curiosity, and not of a cruel disposition, was the source of the pleasure which he beheld in them. He examined the features of his child with an anxious attention, and, to his sorrow, found not the wished-for satisfaction’ (LM XVIII [April 1787]: 203).

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 19.37.54What is intriguing about this scene is not only the shift in narrative perspective, but also in the emotional complexity of the father. This is no simple, formulaic moral tale; Mr. Sagely’s anxiety is palpable: he wants to believe his daughter does not torture the insect for pleasure but for, perhaps, a scientific curiosity. But he can delude himself no longer. When she goes onto so torment the family dog that he knocks her over, she retaliates by putting a rope around his neck and dragging him around the yard until he bites her. Her parents seize upon this as an opportunity to terrify her, hoping it will cause her to change her behavior, and tell her the dog is mad and that she may catch the disease. She is put into a straight-coat, confined, and threatened with being thrown into the sea as a treatment.

At length, the Sagely’s duplicity is rewarded: Georgina is so traumatized by the ordeal that she is ‘restored to [her] reason’ but warned by her parents never to lose her ‘proper’ senses again lest she be ‘more severely punished, in a manner you have not yet experienced’ (LM XVIII [June 1787]: 314). The cure appears permanent, and Georgina becomes ‘not only a comfort, but a delight’ to her parents and displays henceforth exemplary conduct.

While the ‘lesson’ of the tale is dubious at best, and certainly modern-day readers would question the efficacy of such parental conduct to cure a cruel disposition, the author’s use of narrative shift and the depth of the father’s concern are distinctive. This is more than a standard conduct or moral lesson; it reveals the anxiety and fear experienced by parents who feel helpless to understand or change their child’s inherent propensity for cruelty and torture.

The serial remains an elusive installment in the periodical; it ends in 1790, unfinished, and no further mention of it or the anonymous author appears. And while the magazine’s frequent publications featuring animals and children are an enduring and fascinating aspect of its content, as readers, perhaps, we are happier when the two do not meet as they do in the ‘The Mad-Dog’ of ‘Domestic Lessons’.

 

Jenny DiPlacidi

University of Kent

The Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off FAQS

If you have been following our Stitch Off posts, you may not need to read this, although you may well like to take a look at just some of the examples of work so far that our followers have sent us. Frankly, they are stunning.

The reason we have written this is that many of our followers old and new (and there are LOTS of new followers – thank you!) have been in touch with us recently to write a post that summarises what this thing called the Stitch Off is and how they can take part.

So, here is everything you want to know about the Stitch Off (we hope) all in one handy blog post.

What is the Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off?

The premise is simple.

gownpattern

We want to recreate and bring back to life a handful of some of the hundreds of embroidery patterns the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) published every month over the course of its 62-year run.

We want to learn from your experiences about the challenges and pleasures of ‘work’, as it would have been known at the time, that would have occupied many of the magazine’s readers.

How can I take part?

 

Alison Larkin 1

© Alison Larkin (2016).

We have made available 8, rare surviving embroidery patterns from the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) – one of the first, longest and most influential women’s magazines – to followers of our project and blog. There are patterns for a gown, cravat, handkerchief and apron (all from 1796) and for muff, waistcoat and shoes (from 1775, the year of Jane Austen’s birth). The first five patterns are owned by Jennie Batchelor, the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Research Project this blog is all about, who very luckily acquired them from a reader of this blog. The last three have been generously shared by Penny Gore, whom readers of this blog may well know as a BBC Radio3 presenter.

High resolution images of all the patterns can all be found and downloaded for use here with their original dimensions.

 

 

Waistcoatpattern 1775 (PG)

 

Why should I take part? Or, how big a Jane Austen fan are you?

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© Sue Jones (2016)

Well, mostly because you want to. But also, perhaps, because it could be lots of fun. Because lots of people already are taking part and are already having lots of fun. Maybe because we are sharing all of your works in progress and gloriously finished works on our blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page.

 

And maybe because if you do, your work could be on display at a major exhibition running from 21 March to 25 September at Chawton House Library, former residence of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Emma (1815).

This sounds too good to be true (a project follower’s words). Is there a catch?


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Not really. If you are willing to have your work on display and don’t mind it being handled – it will be on a table, not behind glass – then all you need do is send it to us and we will return it to you when the exhibition ends. It will take pride of place on a display in the Oak Room of Chawton House Library, which will be devoted to the subject of female accomplishments (music, painting and needlework) for the exhibition’s duration. We’d also love it if you could send pictures to us via Twitter or Facebook along the way so we can share your work and experiences with others.

 

Do I need to be skilled in historic embroidery techniques?

Absolutely not. Some of our Stitch Off participants are wielding their tambour hooks with breathtaking dexterity. Others (like me) are resurrecting dim memories of how their grandmother taught them to do chain stitch and satin stitch. Some are using period sensitive fabrics, silks and colours. Others, to use the words of another Stitch Off participant, are modernising and ‘going wild’. You might try working up a small detail or a full garment. Whatever you do, we’re just happy you are taking part.

How do I register interest in the Stitch Off?

If you follow us on social media, just let us know there. If not, why not put a comment below?
We’ll be delighted to hear from you any which way you choose.

Where do I send my completed work and when do you need it?

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If you want your work to be at the exhibition from the start we would need it, ideally, by 16 March. However, it that seems too soon, we can always add your work to the exhibition once it’s started (the advantage of not being behind glass).

Work should be sent to: Sarah Parry, Learning and Visitor Manager, Chawton House Library, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1SJ.

Please do send us your address if you would like your work returned after the exhibition closes.

 

Dr Jennie Batchelor

School of English

University of Kent

The Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off goes to Chawton House Library

If you have been following the project Twitter feed (@ladysmagproject) or recently set-up Facebook page you’ll have seen some of the recent updates we’ve been getting from project followers about their progress in the Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off.

image

© Sue Jones (2016).

 

We were absolutely delighted a little over a week ago to receive images of this beautiful worked-up sprig detail from one of our patterns from Sue Jones. Sue (who blogs over at Tortoise Loft ) completed this fine shadow work in filament silk (from Devere Yarns) on some silk habotai fabric. The colours and delicate finish really bring this pattern to life and have been much admired by the project’s followers.

 

 

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Sue learned of the Stitch Off from Rachel Wright of Virtuosew Adventures, which has to be one of my favourite blog titles ever. Rachel has also embarked on her Stitch Off project in the past week: a caramel-coloured pashmina. Rachel has written a really interesting post on her blog about her first experiments on this unamenable fabric, which we hope you’ll all pop over and visit here. It’s a shame she is going to unpick them to complete the finished article, but at least she has photos of her work so far, as well as earning ‘a newfound respect for any lady of the period who embroidered her muslin dresses, or her silk gauzes’.

 

It’s so lovely to hear and see how you are all getting on and, in particular, to learn what you are finding out about the challenges of this kind of work. If we haven’t yet posted pictures of your current projects we promise we will soon. But until then, we have another way to repay your efforts.

You may have seen some hints on our social media pages that we have an announcement to make about the Stitch Off. Well here it is.

Drumroll, please…

We have been approached by Chawton House Library to exhibit some of the results of the Stitch Off at their forthcoming exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Emma.

The Lady’s Magazine project has strong connections with Chawton House Library, a centre for the study of women’s writing from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries housed in the Elizabethan manor house that belonged to Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight. I was lucky enough to have my first full-time academic job at Chawton and still feel very much linked to the Library and all the great work it supports; Jenny has been a Chawton House Library Visiting Fellow on two occasions in the past few years; and the two of us and Koenraad were delighted to be invited to talk about our project at Chawton in May of last year.

Full details of the ‘Emma at 200’ exhibition can be found here. As you’ll see, it really is going to be something else. The riches of the Chawton collection are being mined to illuminate the world and reception of Austen’s novel in Britain and Europe, and several other items are being loaned from other major research collections in the UK and beyond.

An entire room of the exhibition is going to be devoted to the topic of female accomplishments – music, painting and, of course, needlework – which readers of the novel will know loom large in this, as in all, Austen’s novels. And that’s where we come in.

I will be loaning my copy of the Lady’s Magazine that has the Stitch Off patterns in it and will be making copies available to exhibition goers. But what Chawton House Library would really like (really, really like) are modern-day worked-up examples of the patterns for visitors to see and handle.

So, if you have been waiting for an excuse to start the Stitch Off, maybe this is it. If you would like your working-ups of any of our patterns featured in the exhibition, all you need to do is get in touch via the comments box below or on Twitter or Facebook. We would love to have you involved. You would need to send your work to us by the middle of March (the exhibition runs from 21 March to 25 September 2016) and must not mind your work being handled as it will be displayed on a table in the exhibition room rather than behind glass. We will endeavour to return all work to you after the exhibition closes in September.

Completed (or partially completed) work for display at the exhibition should be sent to:

Sarah Parry, Learning and Visitor Manager, Chawton House Library, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1SJ.

We have already approached a few of our stitchers who have enthusiastically agreed to take part. We hope you might be able to join them!

Dr Jennie Batchelor

School of English

University of Kent

 

Authorship Studies Now and in the Pre-Digital Age; or, A Tribute to the Old School

As Jennie reminded us earlier this month, we have recently entered the last quarter of the term allotted to our research project. Most of my time currently goes to the attribution of the countless anonymous, initialled and pseudonymous items in the Lady’s Magazine, and the ascription of appropriated content. The overwhelming majority of the over 14000 indexed items were published without a (complete) legal name for their authors, and every day I discover  more contributions presented as original work that are in fact tacit appropriations from other periodicals, or extracts from books. To make sure that I do not miss too many of the latter I merge my mind fully with my computer, like some bookish Keanu Reeves, and check each item by means of a hypnotic but productive procedure. A while ago it struck me how different my daily routine must be from that of scholars employed on exactly the same task not twenty years ago. So, where do the differences lie?

LM iv March 1773

LM IV (March 1773). Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

     I usually work as follows. I consult the Lady’s Magazine in its digitized format hosted by Adam Matthew Digital, take two samples from different paragraphs in the item under scrutiny, and query those in three online databases: Google Books, Eighteenth Century Collections Online (Gale), Eighteenth Century Journals (Adam Matthew Digital). On occasion I give British Periodicals (ProQuest) a go, but I have found this more useful for nineteenth-century publications, and for news items I sometimes give British Newspapers 1600-1950 (Gale) and British Newspaper Archive (British Library) a whirl too. In short, I usually have a very cluttered desktop, but there is no alternative if I want to do a decent job. Different databases store different information, and it is definitely worthwhile checking a few. It is common knowledge that magazine staff writers in this period were a crafty bunch, but the Lady’s Magazine’s amateur content pirates can be surprisingly resourceful too, and identifying appropriated items is not always easy because the original sources often were altered ever so slightly. You learn after a while to avoid sampling the opening or closing paragraphs (often added to provide a new context for the appropriation), as well as passages with names or locations in them. In March 1773, for instance, an anonymous contributor to the magazine thinks nothing of making some very minor alterations in an extract from Louis-Sébastien Mercier’s Memoir of the Year Two Thousand Five Hundred (1770; translation 1772), and presenting the result as “A Persian Anecdote” to fit the trend for oriental tales. The original is not “Persian” or otherwise “oriental” in the least; it is in fact a utopian early science fiction narrative.

    You cannot trust eighteenth-century periodicals, bless ‘em, and I am sure that despite my vigilance I still miss many appropriations. When I discover that an item is an extract from a book, I will check WorldCat, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography or Orlando (Cambridge U. P.) to find out the exact title and year of first publication, and jot those down too. After I feel satisfied that I have checked the item to the best of my abilities, I enter my findings in our annotated index, and go on to the next item. So doing, I learn more about the magazine every day, but like my close colleagues I sometimes get obsessed with individual items. Tracking down the minutest detail can take up hours, and often I never do obtain the information that I was looking for. Jennie, Jenny and I have of course pointed out many times that ours is a tricky task, because data on periodical authorship in the eighteenth century is scarce and patchy at best, and for the ascription of appropriated content we rely to a great extent on textual corpora that have been digitized for cross-reference.

     But, hold on a moment. While that last statement will likely not raise any eyebrows among my fellow children of the digital age, the old school of authorship studies will perhaps be appalled by my lack of stamina, by my not spelunking into the dustiest recesses of record offices and research libraries all over the United Kingdom until I have learned exactly what I wanted to know. Although I hope that I am not an armchair antiquary, and the scope of our corpus would make in-depth study of each single item impossible anyway, I make no excuses and do realize that I am spoiled. Of course, academic scholarship has changed over the past few decades too, or so I am told by colleagues of the generation preceding mine, who witnessed these changes first-hand. How many scholars today could find the time to research and write a vast bibliographic tome like Robert Mayo’s The English Novel in the Magazines, 1740-1815 (1962)? Nevertheless, this book is still used today as a reference work throughout the field of eighteenth-century studies. We at least turn to it regularly. Besides its sheer size, what makes Mayo’s study even more admirable is that he produced it before digital resources became available. The first of these appeared only halfway through the 1970s, and until the breakthrough of the internet over twenty years later, they were hardly easy to use or update.

     Despite Mayo’s greater fame, there is one pioneering pre-digital scholar whose work in attribution and ascription in periodicals has been even more valuable to me. Even in this computerized age, you will find me about once a week in the British Library, ensconced in a little fort that is constructed largely of books by Prof. Edward William Pitcher (formerly at the University of Alberta). I expect that most of our readers, who have at least dabbled in eighteenth-century magazines themselves, will be familiar with Pitcher’s work. In 1999 he was honoured with a well-deserved special issue of American Notes & Queries (ANQ), a journal which has long published his articles, in which a short laudation by Prof. Arthur Sherbo – no less – goes a long way to explain the importance of Pitcher’s contributions to the field.[1] He has published many indexes, articles and notes on the authorship and provenance of periodical pieces in all genres, which have for a large part been collected in the ongoing series “Studies of British and American Magazines”, issued since 2000 by the Edwin Mellen Press. Impressively, 32 of the 33 book-length volumes published in this series so far are by Pitcher (incl. two co-authored titles). The only other scholar to furnish a single-authored book, incidentally, is Prof. Emily de Montluzin, whose splendid index of the poetry of the Gentleman’s Magazine was an inspiration for our own index.

Joseph_Addison_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller,_Bt

Joseph Addison, by Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt. (circa 1703-1712)

     Pitcher delivers useful emendations to the work of others (among which Mayo), new indexes of important magazines of the eighteenth century from Britain and (colonial and independent) America such as the Lady’s Magazine’s more conservative competitor the Lady’s Monthly Museum (1798-1832), and notes on individual magazine writers or issues in attribution. Because of its centrality in the late-eighteenth century periodical market, the Lady’s Magazine pops up regularly, and some titles in the series have proven especially useful to us. For instance, Pitcher’s The Magazine Sources for Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments… by Mr. Addison (London 1794-97) (2004) is an index of the thousands of items compiled in this long-forgotten miscellany (spoiler alert: the reference to “Mr. Addison” is false advertising). Not only does he document several pieces that were taken from the Lady’s Magazine, Pitcher also ascribes several items taken from other sources that in between found their way into the Lady’s Magazine as well. Producing just one such elaborate index would maybe not be very exceptional, but Pitcher has done at least a dozen. His two-volume index of the British Magazine January 1760-December 1767 (2000), to give another example, has likewise shown me the way to several articles extracted without acknowledgement in the Lady’s Magazine, as have several other similar titles in the series. A third particular Pitcher favourite of mine is An Anatomy of Reprintings and Plagiarisms (2000), because its preface and its several chapters that are each dedicated to representative case studies together provide one of the clearest introductions to the murky territory of appropriation in the eighteenth-century press.

     I find the tenacity and manifest expertise behind each of Pitcher’s studies, from his most elaborate indexes of leading periodicals to his shortest notes on the obscure hacks that helped make them, nothing short of humbling. Whereas I can rely on internet databases to show me the way towards sources and to provide me with instant access to them, the previous generation had to do much more work themselves. My practical advantages include that I do not need to travel great distances between libraries whose holdings are now but two mouse clicks away from each other, or to peer for hours at microfilms to find out details that can know be had in seconds. I also imagine that the old school required a more extensive working knowledge of their subject than I need to get by; a firmer understanding of eighteenth-century culture as a web of myriads of interacting agents that each leave textual traces behind, coupled with an amazing knowledge of what these diverse traces entailed, where they can be found, and how they should be interpreted.

     When our index goes online in a few months (gulp), you will find amongst our thousands of research notes many references to Pitcher’s works. This will be a fitting tribute to a scholar whose life’s work is to ensure that people get due credit for their efforts.

Dr Koenraad Claes

School of English, University of Kent

[1] Sherbo, Arthur. “E. W. Pitcher on Periodicals”. ANQ 12.1 (1999), pp. 2-5