'The Character of Editress': Marian Evans at the Westminster Review, 1851-54

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Title: 'The Character of Editress': Marian Evans at the Westminster Review, 1851-54
Authors: Dillane, Fionnuala
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/8066
Date: 2011
Abstract: That Marian Evans was a professional journalist familiar with the world of publishing by the time she wrote her first fiction is acknowledged universally in critical and biographical accounts of George Eliot’s life. She was, after all, the first woman editor of a leading intellectual quarterly, the Westminster Review. However, little attention has been paid to the actual details of Evans’s editorial work, carried out a decade before the George Eliot persona was invented. This essay argues that Evans’s editorial career provides revealing evidence of an important intervention in the haphazard processes of the professionalization of Victorian women. The 'Character of Editress,' to use Evans’s own expression, signifies both the performance and the mask that were required of a woman occupying such a public, professional role at a prominent mid-century journal. This “character” emerges from the margins of publication history when the focus of attention shifts from the content of periodicals to their form—to their layout and design. As a case in point, this article discusses Evans’s role in the pioneering redesign of the book review pages of the Westminster Review from 1852, a hugely successful and influential contribution. In the absence of other records, the pages of the periodicals themselves yield significant insights into the guiding hands of women journalists now lost to us.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: University of Tulsa
Copyright (published version): 2011 University of Tulsa
Keywords: George EliotMarian EvansEditorsPersonaeWestminster ReviewVictorian periodicals
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:English, Drama & Film Research Collection

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