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Title:Coming to Terms: Nineteenth -Century British Women Writers and Their Publishers
Author(s):Carney, Karen Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dale v. Kramer
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:This dissertation analyzes the place of gender in the Victorian literary marketplace, focusing particularly on four women writers and their dealings with the London publishing firm of Richard Bentley and Son between the years 1860 and 1895. My primary sources include novels and biographies as well as contractual agreements, reader's reports, and personal and business correspondence from the archives of the Bentley firm (1829--1898). My study is historically based, and forms part of the recent inquiry into Victorian publishing conditions and practices, as well as addressing more general issues of women and authorship. The four writers I examine---Ellen Price Wood, Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury, Rhoda Broughton, and Marie Corelli---represent a range of nineteenth-century women's attitudes from conventional to proto-feminist. I begin with a brief history of the Bentley firm, which specialized in the publication of three-volume fiction, and show how it might have been perceived as friendly to women authors. I then turn to Ellen Price Wood (1814--1887), better known to Victorian readers as Mrs. Henry Wood, author of the bestselling East Lynne; although she is still best known for this, her first commercially published work, wood was also the author of nearly 40 works, as well as owner and editor of the popular monthly The Argosy. The publisher's reader who recommended East Lynne for publication was Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury (1812--1880); her work as a publisher's reader for the Bentley firm spanned two decades, and was shaped throughout by her feminist principles. Jewsbury later recommended against the first novel of Rhoda Broughton (1840--1920), but in vain, as Broughton's successful publishing career with the Bentley firm lasted more than thirty years, outlasting even the "three-decker" that made her famous. Broughton's popularity as a novelist was later challenged by Marie Corelli (1855--1924), who began her career with the Bentley firm but took her work elsewhere after a feud with publisher George Bentley. These chapters provide four case histories of the various ways women writers interacted with their publishers in mid- to late-Victorian England and the ways in which they struggled to come to terms.
Issue Date:1999
Description:299 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9952981
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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