Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939: The Interwar Period 9781474412544

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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939: The Interwar Period
 9781474412544

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Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918–1939

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The Edinburgh History of Women’s Periodical Culture in Britain Series Editor: Jackie Jones Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690–1820s: The Long Eighteenth Century Edited by Jennie Batchelor and Manushag N. Powell Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s–1900s: The Victorian Period Women, Periodicals, and Print Culture in Britain, 1890s–1920s: The Modernist Period Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918–1939: The Interwar Period Edited by Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1940s–2000s: The Contemporary Period Visit The Edinburgh History of Women’s Periodical Culture in Britain web page at www.edinburghuniversitypress.com/series/ehwpcb

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The Edinburgh History of Women’s Periodical Culture in Britain

Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918–1939 The Interwar Period

Edited by Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney

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Edinburgh University Press is one of the leading university presses in the UK. We publish academic books and journals in our selected subject areas across the humanities and social sciences, combining cutting-edge scholarship with high editorial and production values to produce academic works of lasting importance. For more information visit our website: edinburghuniversitypress.com © editorial matter and organisation Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney, 2018 © the chapters their several authors, 2018 Edinburgh University Press Ltd The Tun – Holyrood Road, 12(2f) Jackson’s Entry, Edinburgh EH8 8PJ Typeset in 10 / 12 Adobe Sabon by IDSUK (DataConnection) Ltd, and printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon CR0 4YY A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 4744 1253 7 (hardback) ISBN 978 1 4744 1254 4 (webready PDF) ISBN 978 1 4744 1255 1 (epub) The right of Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney to be identified as the editors of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 (SI No. 2498). Published with the support of the University of Edinburgh Scholarly Publishing Initiatives Fund.

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Contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgements General Introduction: Re-mediating Women and the Interwar Period Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney Part I: Culture and the Modern Woman Introduction Catherine Clay

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1. ‘Tricks of Aspect and the Varied Gifts of Daylight’: Representations of Books and Reading in Interwar Women’s Periodicals Claire Battershill

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2. ‘A Journal of the Period’: Modernism and Conservative Modernity in Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial (1919–29) Vike Martina Plock

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3. Sketching Out America’s Jazz Age in British Vogue Natalie Kalich

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4. Clemence Dane’s Literary Criticism for Good Housekeeping: Cultivating a ‘Small, Comical, Lovable, Eternal Public’ of Book Lovers Stella Deen

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5. ‘The Magazine Short Story and the Real Short Story’: Consuming Fiction in the Feminist Weekly Time and Tide Catherine Clay

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6. Making the Modern Girl: Fantasy, Consumption, and Desire in Romance Weeklies of the 1920s Lise Shapiro Sanders

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7. ‘Dear Cinema Girls’: Girlhood, Picture-going, and the Interwar Film Magazine 103 Lisa Stead

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Part II: Styling Modern Life Introduction Barbara Green

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8. Now and Forever? Fashion Magazines and the Temporality of the Interwar Period Elizabeth M. Sheehan

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9. ‘Eve Goes Synthetic’: Modernising Feminine Beauty, Renegotiating Masculinity in Britannia and Eve Ilya Parkins

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10. Miss Modern: Youthful Feminine Modernity and the Nascent Teenager, 1930–40 Penny Tinkler

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11. ‘The Lady Interviewer and her methods’: Chatter, Celebrity, and Reading Communities Rebecca Roach

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12. The Picturegoer: Cinema, Rotogravure, and the Reshaping of the Female Face 185 Gerry Beegan Part III: Reimagining Homes, Housewives, and Domesticity Introduction Fiona Hackney

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13. Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home Alice Wood

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14. Modern Housecraft? Women’s Pages in the National Daily Press Adrian Bingham

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15. Labour Woman and the Housewife Karen Hunt

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16. Friendship and Support, Conflict and Rivalry: Multiple Uses of the Correspondence Column in Childcare Magazines, 1919–39 Katherine Holden

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17. Documentary Feminism: Evelyn Sharp, the Women’s Pages, and the Manchester Guardian Barbara Green

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18. Y Gymraes (The Welshwoman): Ambivalent Domesticity in Women’s Welsh-language Interwar Print Media Lisa Sheppard

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19. Woman Appeal. A New Rhetoric of Consumption: Women’s Domestic Magazines in the 1920s and 1930s Fiona Hackney

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contents Part IV: Feminist Media and Agendas for Change Introduction Maria DiCenzo 20. ‘Many More Worlds to Conquer’: The Feminist Press Beyond Suffrage Maria DiCenzo and Claire Eustance 21. The Essay Series and Feminist Debate: Controversy and Conversation about Women and Work in Time and Tide Laurel Forster 22. Internationalism, Empire, and Peace in the Woman Teacher, 1920–39 Joyce Goodman 23. Providing and Taking the Opportunity: Women Civil Servants and Feminist Periodical Culture in Interwar Britain Helen Glew 24. Debating Feminism in the Socialist Press: Women and the New Leader June Hannam

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333 348

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25. Ireland and Sapphic Journalism between the Wars: A Case Study of Urania (1916–40) Karen Steele

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Part V: Women’s Organisations and Communities of Interest Introduction Maria DiCenzo

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26. Housewives and Citizens: Encouraging Active Citizenship in the Print Media of Housewives’ Associations during the Interwar Years Caitríona Beaumont

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27. Woman’s Outlook 1919–39: An Educational Space for Co-operative Women Natalie Bradbury

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28. A Periodical of Their Own: Feminist Writing in Religious Print Media Jacqueline R. deVries

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29. Women’s Print Media, Fascism, and the Far Right in Britain Between the Wars 450 Julie Gottlieb 30. ‘The Sheep and the Goats’: Interwar Women Journalists, the Society of Women Journalists, and the Woman Journalist Sarah Lonsdale Appendix Susan Hroncek Notes on Contributors Index

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477 498 503

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 1.1 2.1 2.2 3.1 3.2 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 7.1 7.2 8.1 8.2 9.1 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 11.1 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 12.10 13.1 13.2 15.1 16.1 19.1 19.2 19.3

Book-Related Content in Twenty Interwar Women’s Periodicals. Advertisement for Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial. Sketch of Rosamond Lehmann. Anne Harriet Fish, ‘A Complete Set of Flappers’. Miguel Covarrubias, ‘Enter, the New Negro’. ‘Film Fame – or Love?’ Advertisements. Cover, Polly’s Paper. Cover, Girl’s World. ‘Girls’ Gossip’. ‘In the Dressing Room’. ‘Substitutes for the Strict Tailleur’. Contents, Eve. Cover, Britannia and Eve. Cover, Miss Modern. Cover, Miss Modern. ‘£100 for Choosing Miss Modern’. ‘Introducing Our Beauty Expert’. W. K. Haselden, ‘The Lady Interviewer and her methods of work’. Cover, Picturegoer. Constance Bennett. Cover, Pictures and the Picturegoer. ‘The Future “Star”’. ‘Snow Men and Women’. ‘In the Firelight’s Glow’. ‘A Swimming Lesson’. ‘Through Our Lens’. ‘Lucky Days’. Cover, Picturegoer. P. L. Garbutt, ‘Washing Day, 1934 Style’. Helena Normanton, ‘The World as it Passes’. Paul Nash, Cover, Labour Woman. Cover, the Nursery World. Warwick Holmes, ‘What the Eye Don’t See …’ ‘The dirt you can’t see is the worst’. ‘Yes, it’s a WILL’S GOLD FLAKE’.

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16 28 37 47 52 89 93 94 95 107 111 131 134 140 156 158 161 163 171 186 187 190 191 194 195 196 197 198 201 214 221 243 263 302 302 307

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list of illustrations 20.1 21.1 27.1

Advertisements, International Woman Suffrage News. Winifred Holtby, ‘Impressions of the Debate: Boxers and Lighthouse Keepers’. Cover, Woman’s Outlook.

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Acknowledgements

T

his volume grew out of a conversation with our commissioning editor Jackie Jones at a Modernist Studies Association conference where we discussed the relative invisibility of women’s periodicals in an expanding field of modern periodicals research still largely dominated by modernism and ‘little magazines’. We would like to thank Jackie for her vision and enthusiasm for this project from the outset, and everyone else at Edinburgh University Press who has helped bring it to completion, especially Adela Rauchova for her efficiency and patience in the final stages, and James Dale for being so receptive to our style suggestions. We are delighted that this volume launches a multi-volume series from the Edinburgh University Press devoted to women’s periodical culture. There are many people behind the scenes who have contributed to the development of this volume. We would like to thank the reviewers who offered guidance at the proposal stage, and we are very grateful to all the anonymous readers who reviewed the chapters published here for their time and valuable comments. We would like to thank our contributors for all of their hard work and for making this project such a positive collaborative experience. Barbara Green would particularly like to thank Carey Snyder, co-editor of a forthcoming volume in this series devoted to modernist women’s periodical writing, for fruitful brainstorming sessions at the Modernist Studies Association and online. The editors would like to thank family and friends who have patiently encouraged us. In particular, Fiona Hackney would also like to thank Julia Bigham for her support. Gratitude, as always, from Maria DiCenzo to Graham Knight who was so generous with his time and support. Special thanks to Heather Olaveson for her eagle eye and painstaking editorial work. The editors would also like to thank Susan Hroncek for her work on the appendix and her technical assistance in the final stages. Maria DiCenzo would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for their generous support. Barbara Green would like to thank the Department of English and the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame for generous support for this project. She would also like to thank Denise Massa, Curator, Visual Resources Center at the Hesburgh Libraries, the University of Notre Dame, and Amy Wood of the Center for Research Libraries for their generous assistance. Contributors to this volume gratefully acknowledge permission to use illustrations and thank the following groups: the British Library Board; the Bodleian Libraries; Condé Nast Publications, Ltd; the Co-operative Heritage Trust; the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter; Glaxo Smith Kline; the Nursery World; Trinity Mirror Publishing Limited; and Time Inc. UK.

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General Introduction: Re-Mediating Women and the Interwar Period Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney

In spite of all the parade that the commercial Press makes of its women’s pages and its women’s supplements, the real substance of what we need is still deplorably absent. They give us fashions in abundance and superabundance, they record society doings which are of little or no interest, they repeat recipes until we are surfeited . . . and fancy that by doing so they produce the mental food that women need . . . But they fail to convince us, all the same, that such monotonous and substanceless rubbish is what the female public really wants. It is what it gets, and that is another thing altogether. (Woman’s Leader 7 Jan 1921: 1037)

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n 1989, Deirdre Beddoe’s Back to Home and Duty: Women Between the Wars, 1918–1939 argued for the central role media played in the construction of a dominant set of gender expectations. Research of the last two decades has significantly challenged Beddoe’s claim that interwar mainstream media forms offered ‘only one desirable image’ of femininity, ‘that of the housewife and mother’ (1989: 8). In his study of the popular interwar press, Adrian Bingham (2004) has shown that the multiple voices of any one newspaper presented a variety of new images of women to the public, contributing to an evolving discourse of gender. Often overlooked is how popular media aimed at female readers could also resist and oppose mainstream views. Moreover, as the epigraph from the Woman’s Leader demonstrates, feminist periodicals intervened and offered critical perspectives on the influence and changing face of the press at the time, and provided information and forums not available elsewhere. For these reasons, we share Beddoe’s crucial insight that the magazines marketed to women during the interwar period – whether avant-garde or mainstream, up- or down-market – deserve special attention. This volume reveals the startling complexity of periodicals aimed at women readers and the various notions of the modern woman they suggested. Collectively, the essays in this volume reveal the richness and diversity of genres addressed to women readers, from domestic magazines, pulps, and women’s pages to highbrow reviews, feminist, and organisationally based periodicals. The goal is to open up the category of the ‘women’s magazine’ beyond the assumptions and expectations through which it is conventionally understood and to demonstrate the central role of women’s print media in reshaping public discourses of gender by defining women’s interests, activities, and identities in the period.

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Bringing together scholars from a diverse range of disciplines, this collection is designed to challenge persistent narratives about British interwar women’s history and about women’s print media produced in this period, and to capture the energy of a newly reinvigorated field. First, the essays provide an opportunity for rereading popular, commercial publications which have been assumed to be retrograde organs of conservatism and/or consumerism. Second, the essays provide a counter-narrative to historical accounts of the demise of the women’s movement in the interwar years. Interwar feminism is articulated across the very different publications showcased in the volume, either directly in terms of feminist periodicals or indirectly with regard to the impact of feminism on more popular publications. Indeed, the agency of women as producers as well as consumers of media – as editors, journalists, artists, advertising managers – is testament to women’s central role in postwar transformations of modern life and in redefining public discourses. These forms of agency and acts of selfrepresentation spanned the political spectrum, from the labour movement to fascism.

Interwar Women’s Periodicals: Histories, Markets, Genres The volume focuses on women’s print media, rather than women and media, in order to foreground periodicals produced mainly by women for women readers, as well as sections of newspapers and other publications that were addressed to a female readership, such as ‘women’s pages’. Magazines produced for women between the two world wars belong to a long history of women’s periodical publishing, including nineteenth-century commercial women’s magazines explored by Margaret Beetham (1996), the advocacy press by Michelle Tusan (2005), and the suffrage and feminist press by DiCenzo et al. (2011). The creation of a new mass of readers in the late nineteenth century, following the Education Acts introduced from 1870 which made elementary education compulsory, fuelled a periodical market catering to all classes (McAleer 1992: 12–13). This market continued to expand in the years after the First World War, and includes a proliferation of new titles at both the commercial and non-commercial ends of women’s periodical publishing (with both mass and smaller circulations), as well as important shifts in longer-running titles. In one of the first major contributions to this field, Cynthia L. White (1970) identified as many as fiftyfive new women’s magazine titles appearing between the years 1920 and 1939, most of these targeting middle-class and lower-middle-class readerships, while the 1920s also saw a ‘magazine boom’ of story papers for working-class women readers (Melman 1988: 108). Alongside these commercial publications, feminist and women’s organisations spawned a host of specialist papers for women, from trade or ‘professional’ women’s magazines (titles such as the Woman Teacher and the Woman Engineer) to papers representing women’s voluntary organisations and women’s sections of political party and religious groups (Doughan and Sanchez 1987). The period thus exhibited increasing levels of differentiation and stratification within the women’s periodical market in Britain, transforming and multiplying the ways in which women’s gender identities could be constructed, sometimes in conflicting ways. In a continuation of the breakdown of traditional gender roles augured by the late nineteenth-century emergence of the ‘New Woman’, and then furthered dramatically by the First World War, British women’s periodicals of the interwar years participated in a wider public discussion of the ‘modern woman’ taking place in the

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mainstream press (Bingham 2004). Some of the publications taken up in this volume emerged on the scene during the interwar period, other longer-lived publications shifted their focus to take on new attitudes toward modern women in a post-franchise world. The refashioning of modern women in terms of their economic power both as workers and as domestic consumers, is one important example of such attitudes, and, significantly, women’s periodicals provided the ground on which women’s professional identities were also materially enacted. While the development of the Victorian periodical press created openings for women as editors, compositors, and illustrators as well as journalists (Van Remoortel 2015), an expanded interwar market offered still greater opportunities for women in the periodical industry, including the new fields of advertising and public relations which became increasingly attractive career options for young women in this period (Staveley 2009: 307). The chapters in this volume explore this diverse range of women’s print media in relation to major political, social, and economic changes affecting women’s lives during this period, as well as developments in the publishing industry, press, advertising, and print technologies. The period is one which saw women’s two-part victory (in 1918 and 1928) of their long campaign for the vote, but also their ongoing struggle for full citizenship in the context of demobilisation and reconstruction after the First World War. This period also saw the formation of the first Labour government (1924), the General Strike (1926), and the growth of mass unemployment following the Wall Street Crash (1929), and a host of social and economic crises in the 1930s that would lead to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. In light of these larger historical developments and events, the chapters establish a context for reading women’s print media in relation to a range of cross-cutting themes, including: girlhood, marriage, and motherhood; the home, consumption, and politics of the domestic; class, sexuality, and the ‘modern woman’; work, the professions, and the labour movement; feminist activism after suffrage; ‘race’, empire, and national identity; internationalism, war, Fascism, and the peace movement. The focus on a national context may seem to run counter to recent transnational approaches to media history, but a focus on interwar Britain makes it possible to be more comprehensive. The chapters cover a wide variety of tendencies and genres, some for the first time, as they engage with recent attempts to remap this period. But even with thirty chapters, the treatment of women’s periodicals is far from exhaustive. There were genres and titles – from the privately circulated to the mass-produced, from the local and regional to the metropolitan – that remain beyond the scope of this collection. As the chapters demonstrate, this national focus does not preclude coverage of dialogue among countries within the British Empire and beyond.

Modern Periodicals and Periodical Studies: Methodological Challenges Though the chapters in this volume focus narrowly on British women’s periodicals circulating during the interwar years, they all draw on the vibrant conversations occurring in surrounding fields, represented in telegraphic style by their respective scholarly journals: nineteenth-century periodical studies (Victorian Periodicals Review), American periodical studies (American Periodicals), modern periodical studies (Journal of Modern Periodicals), European periodical studies (the new

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Journal of European Periodical Studies), and media history (Media History). Rather than treating periodicals as a passive archive to be mined for choice literary gems ripe for recovery, historical details, or traces of lively contemporary debate, the scholars working in all of these areas have also attended to the specific modes of mediation, circulation, mixed formats, and styles that belong to the periodical.1 Through journal articles and monographs too numerous to account for here, the larger field of periodical studies has explored the centrality of advertising culture to the meaning of magazines (Gruber Garvey 1996), their intermediality (Cohen 2015), transnational circulation (Ardis and Collier 2008), seriality (Beetham 1990; Allen and van den Berg 2014), and temporality (Mussell 2015; Turner 2002). Scholars have explored literary culture’s relationship to magazines whether they be ‘big’ (Harris 2016), ‘little’ (Morrisson 2001; Binckes 2010) or middlebrow (Ardis 2011), while also attending to the workings of gender in the daily press (Bingham 2004), the significant role of women’s magazines (Forster 2015) or the centrality of periodicals to the public sphere (Hampton 2004; Collier 2006). Studies of ‘slicks’ (Keyser 2010; Hammill 2010) or mass circulating papers (Scanlon 1995) have pointed us to both the functioning and the mixing up of ‘high’ and ‘low’ in the print cultural marketplace while investigations of feminist print or organisational papers have shown the persistence of the oppositional press even after the commercial press came to dominate (Chapman 2014; DiCenzo et al. 2011; Tusan 2005). Large projects such as the threevolume Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines (Brooker and Thacker 2009–13) map the contours of the modernist periodical landscape. Explorations of the significance of visual culture to the success of the modern periodical press – whether photographic (Beegan 2008) or filmic (Stead 2016) – have reminded us that periodicals circulate within a rich environment of competing and mutually influencing media forms. While discussions of periodicals created for the woman reader have been a central component of all branches of this larger field of scholarly study, there is to date no organisation or journal devoted to the workings of gender in periodicals or women’s periodicals, though there have been occasional conferences and symposia. New collections signal new energy in the field such as the edited collections Women in the Media (Andrews and McNamara 2014) or Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption (Richie et al. 2016). These suggest the need for venues that bring together scholars from varied disciplines around women’s roles as producers and consumers of modern periodicals. This volume builds on recent scholarship by modelling interdisciplinarity and dialogue among scholars of diverse periodical genres, specifically within the interwar period. Generally speaking, scholarly work on women’s periodicals tends to circulate within small scholarly subfields, each devoted to a particular periodical genre and often defined by disciplinary affiliation. For example, modernist critics have worked in the literary field to reassess and expand the canon, while historians have mined activistand organisationally based media as documentary evidence. The unfortunate result has been that potential correspondences between periodical genres – modern fashion magazines and feminist periodicals, domestic magazines, and professional papers – have been muted or lost entirely. The thematic structure of this volume, by contrast, deliberately encourages readers to find connections between different genres of women’s periodical publishing. In addition to the themes that cut across periodical genres mentioned above, the pieces in this volume are linked by shared efforts to develop and

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refine methodological approaches that have the capacity to elucidate more fully the meaning of periodicals themselves. For example, the mixing of visual and textual features on the periodical page in innovative design; the location and nurturance of new niche readerships such as that of the ‘modern girl’ during the interwar period; the significance of visual representations of ‘modern’ femininity at a moment in which advertising and film depended upon woman as image; or the mutually supportive relationship developed between periodical and other print cultural forms through book reviewing, advertising, and other promotional strategies. While the world of book publishing is a separate and equally complex topic of enquiry, the serial publications under consideration here remind us of how inextricably linked these sectors were. Through reviewing, interviewing, and advertising, periodicals were instrumental in mediating a wider sphere of print media, and were especially influential in the case of feminist publishing. Furthermore, while scholarship has tended to segregate women’s media, women at the time moved freely across the interwar periodical landscape, as both producers and readers of these texts. The novelist E. M. Delafield, for example, was a director of the feminist weekly review Time and Tide, served on the National Federation of Women’s Institutes’ subcommittee for its magazine Home and Country, and contributed short fiction to several commercial women’s magazine titles. Commodity advertising placed in mass-circulation magazines such as Good Housekeeping and in feminist periodicals such as Time and Tide is also evidence of shared markets. Certainly the need for encyclopedic introductions to individual periodicals exists, but this volume is not simply an introductory survey of women’s magazines in the period. Though chapters orient new readers by providing an overview and context for the publications they work with, they also offer original arguments about the ways in which interwar publications addressed, constructed, represented, or were developed by modern women. In addition, the juxtaposition of work emerging from a variety of disciplines highlights the range of methodologies available for the study of women’s periodicals. Given available space, these are inevitably selective, but they signal the scope of questions and methodologies – from content analysis to comparative work, from theoretically inflected readings to those engaging with the transforming realm of photographic reproduction technologies – relevant to a rich, and still significantly underexplored, periodical archive. Rather than insisting on a single story or methodology, the larger goal of this volume is to promote and encourage new work in the field, filling in the gaps between various subfields of study, and generating wider discussions regarding the significance of women’s print media in the modern period. The volume therefore provides not only a richer cross section of British interwar women’s print media than is available anywhere to date, but also foregrounds critical and theoretical developments in the wider field of modern periodical studies and should be read as an opening gambit rather than a final word. In the specific context of women’s periodicals, Beetham’s groundbreaking A Magazine of Her Own? illustrated the ways in which periodicals worked to compose subjectivities for their female readers (1996). Since that work, our understanding of those gendered subjectivities has been enriched by scholarly studies of the complexities of periodical signatures including the use of anonymous and pseudonymous publication to construct ‘prosthetic’ periodical subjectivities (Ardis 2008). Though some of the terms from earlier moments in feminist studies may still be in play, this volume is by no means a simple

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return to older arguments about women and modernism and women in modernity. In Jean Lutes’s terms, we are only beginning to understand periodical subjectivities as ‘embodied’ via the ‘“dizzying spaces” of print culture’ (2010: 346). Recent work on the feminist public sphere, as well as methodological and theoretical approaches to such key questions in periodical studies as authorship, audiences, form, and materiality are central to the range of publications discussed in the following chapters. In no small part, new directions in periodical studies have to do with increasingly innovative and creative strategies for reading the mixed-media formats of periodicals. Thinking through the meanings composed through the juxtapositions of images and text, particularly advertisements and illustration as well as photographs, yields a much richer and more nuanced vision of the periodical as a specific and dynamic print cultural object. While the expansion of scholarly work on periodicals has been aided by the advances in the digitisation of archival collections, copyright severely limits and restricts the possibilities of digitising interwar publications. Much of the attention so far has focused on commercial/domestic magazines (e.g. ProQuest), and modernist/literary publications including little magazines (e.g. Modernist Journals Project and Modernist Magazines Project) with the result that the more organisationally based and feminist-oriented publications are less visible and not widely available. The critical and recovery work represented by the contributors in this volume is crucial, literally making the otherwise invisible, visible. The Appendix in this volume, while not exhaustive, draws from existing sources, with the help of our contributors, to aid researchers who are interested in exploring these publications. At this stage of limited digitisation of the periodical archive covered here, even knowing something existed (e.g. a particular publication) does not ensure it will still be available (at all, let alone in its entirety). Too much of the women’s periodical archive is either crumbling in incomplete and hard-to-access library collections or available only in unsearchable and untended older forms of media storage such as microfilm/fiche (e.g. British Vogue). One of the risks with digitisation in the increasingly ‘online oriented’ world, is that if it is not there, many assume it does not exist. But where things are available, digitisation is obviously central to making those documents ‘accessible’ to users now. At the same time, as more primary sources become available in digitised collections, there is a growing tendency to ‘cherry pick’– to find things through keyword searches and put them together without establishing a clear sense of the sources/publications from which they derive. So the critical, contextual work of the kind provided in this volume plays a central role in mediating the archive – helping new readers/users find, understand, and situate these media.

Structure of the Book The volume is organised in five parts. The first, ‘Culture and the Modern Woman’, acknowledges the significant contribution of modernist studies to twentieth-century print culture/periodicals research, but also the limitations of ‘modernism’ as a lens for investigating women’s print media eclipsed by a modernist focus on ‘little magazines’. Essays in Part I explore how literary and cultural materials circulated in a wide variety of women’s periodicals and constructed the woman reader in the interwar period. Part 2, ‘Styling Modern Life’, extends this critical shift in attention from ‘modernism’ to ‘modernity’ and the ‘modern’ in essays on fashion magazines and other women’s publications that played an important role in the articulation of modern notions of

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style. At the centre of the volume, Part 3 rewrites established narratives about women’s return to ‘home and duty’ through a rereading of domestic magazines, alongside other media forms and features organised around women’s culturally ascribed roles as housewives, such as women’s pages and columns. The volume concludes with Parts IV and V, ‘Feminist Media and Agendas for Change’ and ‘Women’s Organisations and Communities of Interest’ which further overturn entrenched narratives about these decades as a period of conservatism and retreat, highlighting the myriad ways in which women newly defined their interests and goals in print media representing a wide spectrum of feminist, professional, political, voluntary, and other organisations. By structuring the volume in this way we have deliberately organised the wide field of interwar women’s periodicals into distinct traditions and genres, each with their own histories and contexts.

Note 1. For more on modern periodical studies, see Hammill and Hussey 2016, Latham and Scholes 2005, Scholes and Wulfman 2010.

Works Cited Allen, Rob and Thijs van den Berg, eds. 2014. Serialization in Popular Culture. New York and London: Routledge Press. Andrews, Maggie and Sally McNamara, eds. 2014. Women and the Media: Feminism and Femininity in Britain, 1900 to the Present. New York: Routledge Press. Ardis, Ann. 2008. ‘Staging the Public Sphere: Magazine Dialogism and the Prosthetics of Authorship at the Turn of the Century.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingtoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 30–47. —. 2011. ‘Making Middlebrow Culture, Making Middlebrow Literary Texts Matter: The Crisis, Easter 1912.’ Modernist Cultures 6.1: 18–40. Ardis, Ann and Patrick Collier, eds. 2008. Transatlantic Print Culture 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Beddoe, Deirdre. 1989. Back to Home and Duty: Women Between the Wars 1918–1939. London: Pandora. Beegan, Gerry. 2008. The Mass Image: A Social History of Photomechanical Reproduction in Victorian London. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Beetham, Margaret. 1990. ‘Towards a Theory of the Periodical as a Publishing Genre.’ Investigating Victorian Journalism. Ed. Laurel Brake, Aled Jones, and Lionel Madden. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 19–32. —. 1996. A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800–1914. London: Routledge. Binckes, Faith. 2010. Modernism, Magazines, and the British Avant-Garde: Reading Rhythm, 1910–1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bingham, Adrian. 2004. Gender, Modernity, and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brooker, Peter and Andrew Thacker. 2009, 2012, 2013. The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. 3 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapman, Mary. 2014. Making Noise, Making News: American Suffrage Print Culture in Modernism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Cohen, Debra Rae. 2015. ‘“Strange Collisions”: Keywords Toward an Intermedia Periodical Studies.’ English Studies in Canada 41.1: 93–104. Collier, Patrick. 2006. Modernism on Fleet Street. Aldershot: Ashgate. DiCenzo, Maria, with Lucy Delap and Leila Ryan. 2011. Feminist Media History: Suffrage, Periodicals and the Public Sphere. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Doughan, David and Denise Sanchez. 1987. Feminist Periodicals 1855–1984. Brighton: Harvester. Forster, Laurel. 2015. Magazine Movements: Women’s Culture, Feminisms and Media Form. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic. Gruber Garvey, Ellen. 1996. The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s–1910s. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hammill, Faye. 2010. Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Hammill, Faye and Mark Hussey. 2016. Modernism’s Print Cultures. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Hampton, Mark. 2004. Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850–1950. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Harris, Donal. 2016. On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines. New York: Columbia University Press. Keyser, Catherine. 2010. Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Latham, Sean and Robert Scholes. 2005. ‘The Rise of Periodical Studies.’ PMLA 121.2: 517–31. Lutes, Jean. 2010. ‘Beyond the Bounds of the Book: Periodical Studies and Women Writers of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.’ Legacy: Journal of American Women Writers 27.2: 336–56. McAleer, Joseph. 1992. Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Melman, Billie. 1988. Women and the Popular Imagination in the Twenties: Flappers and Nymphs. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Morrisson, Mark. 2001. The Public Face of Modernism: Little Magazines, Audiences, and Reception, 1905–1920. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Mussell, James. 2015. ‘Repetition: Or, “In Our Last”.’ Victorian Periodicals Review 48.3: 343–58. Richie, Rachel, Sue Hawkins, Nicola Phillips and S. Jay Kleinberg, eds. 2016. Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. New York and London: Routledge. Scanlon, Jennifer. 1995. Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture. New York and London: Routledge. Scholes, Robert and Clifford Wulfman. 2010. Modernism in the Magazines: An Introduction. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Staveley, Alice. 2009. ‘Marketing Virginia Woolf: Women, War, and Public Relations in Three Guineas.’ Book History 12: 295–339. Stead, Lisa. 2016. Off to the Pictures: Cinema-Going, Women’s Writing, and Movie Culture in Interwar Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Turner, Mark. 2002. ‘Periodical Time in the Nineteenth Century.’ Media History 8.2: 183–96. Tusan, Michelle. 2005. Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Van Remoortel, Marianne. 2015. Women, Work and the Victorian Periodical: Living by the Press. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph.

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Culture and the Modern Woman: Introduction Catherine Clay

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o date, most research in the expanded field of modern periodical studies has remained ‘conceptually framed by aesthetic modernism’ and ‘continues to treat modernist literature and art as the central touchstones of the period’ (Collier 2015: 95). In the history of modernism the interwar decades are very significant; the year 1922 saw the publication of two landmark modernist texts – James Joyce’s Ulysses and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land – and Eliot’s literary magazine the Criterion, founded in the same year, was ‘crucial to the dissemination and consolidation of modernist writing’ (Harding 2009: 349). The opening part of the present volume acknowledges the important contribution of modernist studies to twentieth-century periodicals research, but also the limitations of ‘modernism’ as a lens for investigating women’s print media eclipsed by a modernist focus on ‘little magazines’. Exploring what Patrick Collier describes as the ‘larger nonmodernist locales of the vast landscape of early twentieth-century print culture’ (2015: 99), chapters in this part explore how a variety of women’s periodicals – from upmarket fashion magazines to lowbrow pulps – promoted highbrow, middlebrow, and popular literary and cultural materials, often side by side, and also taught readers what to read, what to see, and how to consume a variety of modern aesthetic forms. British interwar periodicals produced for women readers were not unaware of the rise of modernism in the cultural landscape, and in various ways actively participated in its key discourses. British Vogue has already attracted considerable scholarly attention for its interest in Bloomsbury modernism; here Natalie Kalich opens a new window onto an as yet unexplored set of textual and visual materials devoted to the flapper and New Negro as figures for the modern American Jazz Age, illustrating how Vogue’s editors combined the elite with the popular under its masthead. As Vike Plock discusses, in her contribution to this part, the circulation of modernist materials in the women’s weekly Eve: the Lady’s Pictorial shows that modernism was more firmly embedded in the everyday concerns of middle-class, female readers of the interwar period than is generally recognised; this is a magazine ‘in which features with modernist content comfortably appear next to columns on household management’. But while interwar women’s periodicals were ‘deeply engaged with books and with reading culture’, as Claire Battershill demonstrates in the opening chapter of Part I, they were not primarily concerned with avant-garde experimental texts, which represented a relatively small subset of the literary marketplace. Publishers’ advertisements placed in magazines aimed at a middle-class, female, book-buying public gesture to a much larger print cultural landscape than that identified with modernism, and marketed not only fiction (the biggest growth area in the interwar book trade) but also non-fiction books on political and social subjects of special interest to women.

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With regard to the specific mediation of literary culture in the women’s periodicals examined here, one fascinating finding is the extent to which they engaged in the promotional strategies of celebrity culture in order to celebrate and consecrate an alternative canon of women’s writing that was already in the process of being devalued and marginalised in the development of modernist literary criticism. As Aaron Jaffe has observed, it was during the interwar period that modernists and their allies worked ‘with particular intensity . . . to create and expand a market for elite literary works’ (2005: 3), and the female editors and journalists employed in women’s periodical publishing were undoubtedly aware of the high stakes involved for female authors in this competitive literary marketplace. As shown by Plock and Catherine Clay, in their chapters on Eve and the feminist weekly Time and Tide respectively, the years 1927–9 represent a crucial period for these periodicals’ showcasing of work by women writers – both modernist and middlebrow, expanding our understanding of the kinds of media that supported what Bonnie Kime Scott describes as a ‘second rise in modernism’ identified with ‘the women of 1928’ (1995: xxxvii). Clay’s discussion of the ways in which Time and Tide utilised the participatory forum of its correspondence column to foster discussion among readers about varieties of fiction published in its pages, further evidences the sophisticated strategies deployed by women’s periodicals to mediate culture for the modern woman in an increasingly segmented literary marketplace. Scott’s insight that women’s literary criticism had also ‘hit stride by 1928’ (184) is borne out in chapters which explore the significant role of the female critic in the modern literary marketplace, namely, Stella Deen’s discussion of Clemence Dane’s book essays in the mass-market monthly Good Housekeeping, and Battershill’s discussion of the anonymous female reviewers who contributed to the regular ‘Bookworm’ column in Everywoman. The gradual ‘“academicization of English studies’ in the interwar period (Matthews 2009: 848), exemplified by the literary magazine Scrutiny founded in 1932 by Cambridge academics F. R. and Q. D. Leavis, marks the continuation of a process, beginning in the late nineteenth century, whereby the authority of the amateur critic or Victorian ‘man of letters’ gave way to that of the academic expert or specialist in the new professionalised study of University English (Guy and Small 2000). Clemence Dane, a commercially successful novelist and playwright, founding member of the Book Society, and president from the 1930s of the Society of Women Journalists, rejects two distinct descriptions of the modern reader: the notion of a feminine ‘distracted’ reader of mass-market forms on the one hand, and the notion of a ‘professional’ academic reader on the other. While modernism, as Jaffe observes, ‘in a sense, professionalized its readers’ (2005: 19), both Dane and the anonymous reviewers for Everywoman take the ordinary woman reader seriously, investing in her a civic responsibility for the cultivation of a strong literary culture of ‘good books’ that is far more expansive in scope than that reified by a ‘minority culture’ identified with modernist and university-trained critics. As such, both discussions reveal the significant role played by commercial interwar women’s magazines in evolving and competing regimes of literary evaluation, and in the social construction of readership – a vital area for new scholarship. Part I concludes with two chapters which provide detailed analysis of popular women’s magazine genres – romance weeklies and film fan papers – that have typically been regarded as retrograde cultural forms and undeserving of scholarly attention. However, as Lisa Stead puts it in her discussion of the latter, their ‘historical and critical

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value resides precisely with this lowbrow and seemingly more ephemeral status . . . offer[ing] immediate reflections on women’s experiences of modernity, where popular culture, public life, and debates about women, home, duty, and domesticity intersected’. As Lise Shapiro Sanders also shows, in her discussion of the romance fictions published in business-girl papers and mill-girl magazines (targeted at working-class and lowermiddle-class female readerships), by affording a place for fantasy for young women readers these periodicals engaged women in active negotiations of modern ideas of femininity – thus overturning contemporary representations of the ‘modern girl’ as a passive and mindless consumer of such texts. Indeed, one of the most fascinating findings to emerge from these discussions is that while both genres focus on ‘fashion, glamour, and romance at the expense of explicitly political discourses around suffrage, work, and family, in their pages the figure of the modern girl came to stand in for changing perceptions of women’s social and political agency’ in the interwar period (Sanders). As such they invite surprising connections not only with the glamorised versions of modern womanhood found in upmarket fashion periodicals and domestic ‘service’ magazines (see Parts II and III that follow) but also with the more politicised discourses of feminist and organisationally based media that is examined in Parts IV and V of this volume.

Works Cited Collier, Patrick. 2015. ‘What is Modern Periodical Studies?’ The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 6.2: 92–111. Guy, Josephine M. and Ian Small. 2000. ‘The British “Man of Letters” and the Rise of the Professional.’ The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 7, Modernism and the New Criticism. Ed. A. Walton Litz, Louis Menand, and Lawrence Rainey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 377–88. Harding, Jason. 2009. ‘The Idea of a Literary Review: T. S. Eliot and The Criterion.’ The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, vol. 1, Britain and Ireland 1880–1955. Ed. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 346–63. Jaffe, Aaron. 2005. Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Matthews, Sean. 2009. ‘“Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth . . .”: Scrutiny (1932–53).’ The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, vol. 1, Britain and Ireland 1880–1955. Ed. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 833–55. Scott, Bonnie Kime. 1995. Refiguring Modernism, vol. 1, The Women of 1928. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

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1 ‘Tricks of Aspect and the Varied Gifts of Daylight’: Representations of Books and Reading in Interwar Women’s Periodicals Claire Battershill

My books have taken me to many places I shall never visit for myself. There are book friends who will spread a magic carpet and transport you across an African desert, or leave you spell bound lost in the wondrous majesty of Niagara. You may be transported from city streets to flower-gardens, among the hills, and so vividly do these friends bring what they describe before your vision, that the scent of the flowers and the music of hill-side springs are for the moment almost real to you. Winifred S. Telford, Woman’s Magazine (Feb 1928: 402)

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inifred S. Telford’s 1928 essay ‘Are Your Books Real Friends?’ in the monthly women’s periodical Woman’s Magazine offers a framework for reading and for treating the books one owns, and for distinguishing those that truly matter. ‘How many book friends have you?’ Telford enquires, ‘[o]f course, you have read lots of books. But what about the books you actually possess? Do these mean any more to you than a book-case of attractively bound volumes, gained as prizes, or received as gifts, that provide just a pleasant literary touch to the furnishing of your room?’ (402). Telford’s impassioned plea is for the careful selection and cherishing of books that provide a ‘magic carpet’ and transport the reader to lands unknown from the comfort of her own home. Book friends, for Telford, bring richness and diversity to individual experience, opening up the world as the book opens. The ‘book as friend’ metaphor is one that occurs frequently in Victorian and early twentieth-century writings, and, as narrative theorist Wayne Booth has pointed out, it was a common way of framing reading as an ethical act: ‘[the tradition of thinking of books as friends] never forgot that the quality of anyone’s life is in large part identical to the company he keeps’ (158).1 Figuring books as friends allows reading to be seen as more a social than a solitary activity. It also invokes the ‘emphasis on pleasure’ and the deeply emotional connection to literature that Nicola Humble suggests was a common feature of depictions of female reading during this period (2001: 8). As such, the selection of books and reading material can be treated as an aspect of social and personal life in the pages of Woman’s Magazine – books are just as significant as fashion, interior decoration, hostessing, career and family concerns,

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and travel in defining and determining the ways in which a woman might relate to the world, and the ways in which she might see and characterise herself. This chapter surveys a range of magazines in order to explore some of the ways in which books and readers are depicted in interwar periodicals specifically targeted at women. While, as the examples that follow will show, there is considerable diversity in the representations of reading practices across periodicals, books are consistently central to constructions of femininity, feminism, and domesticity. Each individual reader might choose her own ‘book friends’, to use Telford’s phrase, and might relate to them in her own ways, but the importance of these friendships is never questioned. From the feminist weekly review Time and Tide to the monthly consumer magazine Good Housekeeping, women’s print media during the interwar period was deeply engaged with books and with reading culture. Not only did the magazines act as reading material themselves – providing stories, articles, and reviews – they also gestured beyond their own pages to the world of books and publishing at large. Traditionally, book history and periodical studies have occupied adjacent but separate corners of the scholarly field. However, as Elizabeth Dickens suggests, in the interwar period the book trade and the periodical press ‘often worked together, providing content, ideas, and promotion for each other’ (2011: 165). Intersections between books and magazines during the interwar period exist at every level: writers like Telford were waxing lyrical in the pages of magazines about the social power of books; readers, of course, often drew pleasure from each and kept both books and periodicals around the house; writers often worked with book publishers and magazine editors alike; publishers sometimes produced both books and magazines; and even illustrators and designers moved between and across venues in their professional lives.2 Rather than seeing the periodical as a form that exists in isolation, it can be illuminating to contextualise it alongside the broader book world in which it also participated. Recent scholarly work like Dickens’s has emphasised the crucial connections between the interwar book trade and intellectual weekly periodicals, such as the Times Literary Supplement and the Nation and Athenaeum. Dickens argues persuasively that the interwar book trade relied on the weeklies to promote ‘so-called serious books’ that might actually be purchased rather than borrowed from circulating libraries (2011: 170). As Dickens points out, intellectual weeklies acted not only as venues in which publishers advertised books, but also ‘forums for discussing all aspects of books and book-buying’ (166). The direct links between publishers and the weekly reviews discussed by Dickens existed alongside discussions about books and reading that were also occurring in looser, less structured ways in other periodical venues. This chapter positions itself, therefore, at the intersection of book history and periodical studies, and it considers, too, representations of and discourses about books and reading in order to reveal how reading as an activity was broadly characterised within women’s magazines. The cultural construction of reading, and the representation and trafficking of books as objects, can be found in many places in the magazines sampled, from reviews and feature articles to publishers’ advertisements. In the spirit of much of the excellent theoretical and material work that has been done on periodical and print

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Figure 1.1 Book-Related Content in Twenty Interwar Women’s Periodicals. culture, it is essential to consider the magazines as total objects, attending to the advertisements, photographs, and illustrations on the same terms as the texts of the articles that appear in their pages. Sean Latham and Robert Scholes emphasise the importance of taking advertisements into account in order to adequately describe both the commercial materiality and the cultural impact of early twentieth-century magazines (2006: 520–1). Given that books, too, were treated within magazines both as commodities to be sold and advertised, but also as cultural objects provoking debate, a multifaceted discussion of reading and books in women’s periodicals necessarily considers commerce, domesticity, and literary art together. I find three primary modes of engagement with reading and books in the magazines I discuss: regular book review columns and literary critical essays; publishers’ advertisements; and ‘book-as-object’ discussions, which contextualise books and related accessories alongside other household purchases.

Book-Related Content in Women’s Periodicals: Some Trends and Patterns Of the twenty women’s periodicals surveyed, from fashion and ‘service’ magazines to feminist papers and pulps, the most book-oriented publications were the intellectual feminist periodicals and the more expensive home and fashion magazines (Figure 1.1).3

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Generally speaking, pulp magazines priced at 2d, such as Peg’s Paper, Joy, and Red Letter tended not to contain much book-related content, in part because they consisted themselves largely of often-serialised romantic fiction. Rather than gesturing outward and suggesting books to their readers, the pulps tended to stand in as reading materials and to self-advertise (promoting the next issue’s instalment).4 The pulps were, however, among the women’s periodicals that acted as venues for fiction during the period. Some of the other periodicals, such as Woman’s Magazine, contained individual short stories, but their content did not primarily or dominantly consist of fiction. The bookish content in Teacher’s World, a vocational periodical, tended to focus exclusively on books used in educational settings (an article on teaching Winnie-the-Pooh, for instance), while Labour Woman (discussed in chapters by Karen Hunt and June Hannam in this volume) contained regular book recommendations, particularly non-fiction on political and labour-related matters. Titles such as Good Housekeeping, priced at 1s, were more likely to contain book-as-object discussions and, concurrently, substantive critical discussions of books and book reviews, while fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar frequently treated the season’s books with the same thoroughness as the season’s trendiest holidays or overcoats.5 Finally, the intellectual and feminist periodicals, notably Time and Tide and Everywoman, emphasised book culture very strongly and featured it prominently in their pages.6 This chapter focuses on this most bookish group of magazines (mostly higher-end periodicals), since the representations of reading and books here are more abundant and more complex than in the cheaper periodicals published in the same period.

Regular Book Review Columns and Literary Essays Patrick Collier’s Modernism on Fleet Street portrays the early twentieth-century literary scene as one flooded with books. Citing statistics from the Author, the periodical engine of the ‘Society of Authors’, Collier notes that publishers’ outputs increased every year between 1919 and 1937 (2006: 80). The English Catalogue of Books produced annually by the Publisher’s Circular during the same period confirms this rise in the number of books published. My own calculation of the Catalogue’s annual figures suggests that the rate of increase in the overall book market between 1919 and 1939 was 41 per cent. Correspondingly, book reviews were increasing during the interwar period in volume and frequency; although, as Collier notes with reference to bitter complaints by Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot, not always in quality. The task of the reviewer in this period of enormous growth in the book industry, therefore, was to narrow things down: to distinguish, in Telford’s terms, those books that could become a reader’s ‘real friends’ from those she might simply read and discard, or choose not to read at all. Although general-audience newspapers and intellectual weeklies were important venues for the discussion of books and for book-trade advertisement, women’s periodicals aimed at middle-class readers also saw a growth in book review content. The review columns in these periodicals took various and often shifting approaches to reviewing. Some employed a regular named columnist who carried readers through the unpredictable territory of the publishers’ lists, and offered opinionated commentary on the works at hand. Others continued the practice, dominant in the early part of the century, of printing anonymous reviews (although that anonymity was

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sometimes explicitly gendered female). Still others, such as Good Housekeeping, contained a rotating cast of reviewers who were also well-known literary figures (for example, Winifred Holtby and A. A. Milne). Some, like Time and Tide, also included library lists and briefer reading recommendations alongside more expansive review essays. Regular columnists often wrote in styles and with voices that established trust and familiarity week to week. They frequently employed conversational tones, addressing the reader directly and imploring her to read specific books or in specific ways. Of course, each reviewer also had his or her own particular trademarks and drew from his or her professional and literary life outside of the magazine. One such reviewer was Frank Swinnerton, who wrote a regular column for the British edition of Harper’s Bazaar, and was, at the same time, a publisher’s reader at Chatto & Windus. He also wrote a regular column for the Bookman and reviewed for other newspaper venues such as the Observer.7 A prolific novelist himself, Swinnerton’s influence on the literary culture of the 1920s and 1930s was profound (Nash 2003b), and he embodies some of the clear connections between the worlds of book publishing and periodical culture. His columns in Harper’s Bazaar, like his publisher’s readers’ reports, show his rather brusque, opinionated prose style, and replicate what Andrew Nash describes as his ‘idiosyncratic values and tastes’ (2003b: 187). Nash writes that ‘as befitting a man who all but destroyed the reputation of Robert Louis Stevenson, he [Swinnerton] disliked romance and thought historical novels boring’ (187). Instead Swinnerton tended to recommend works of non-fiction and serious literary novels to his readers, and this was true of his reviewing for Harper’s Bazaar as it was of his reports for publishers. Swinnerton himself was in many ways representative of the most common type of reviewer to be found in the interwar newspaper and periodical press (including women’s magazines): the well-respected professional literary man, whose reputation in the publishing world located his views within a community of experts.8 In contrast, a regular unsigned column in Everywoman called ‘The Bookworm: At Work on Books of the Week’ establishes a different set of criteria for its evaluation of books. As the headnote to the column indicates, the responsibility of the anonymous ‘Everywoman’ reviewer is to record and document contemporary book culture in what is positioned as a free-floating, public-facing weekly digest unmoored from the professionalised world of the critic: Books are written for the general public, but have hitherto been reviewed by that ‘superior’ person, the critic. Authors have complained, the reading public has disagreed, but the reviewer continued his work. Everywoman introduces a new means of letting the public know the value of the book received for review. The notes which appear below are the expressions of opinion of non-professional reviewers who, taken on the whole, represent the average feminine point of view. (29 Feb 1924: 11) The Everywoman column here rhetorically positions itself alongside its readers and clearly distinguishes between the professional critic and the consumer of the magazine. The assumption behind this column’s premise is that the best-qualified person to recommend reading material to a reader of Everywoman is not a professional critic, but a person just like her.9 The contrast across these two magazines between the professional

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reviewer (Swinnerton) and an anonymous everywoman exemplifies a broader debate in modern literary culture about the nature of amateurism and professionalism in reading. Collier notes, for example, that Virginia Woolf often sought to position herself somewhere on a continuum between professional and amateur, frequently oscillating between the two kinds of literary identity in order to gain different kinds of trust with different audiences (2006: 92). Similarly, the different periodicals place value by turns on the literary professional, who could be relied upon due to experience, and on the amateur, whose intuition might prove a virtue. In Swinnerton’s case, his experience in the publishing world is seen as an asset, and his tone authoritative; in the case of the anonymous reviewer for Everywoman, the tone is instead familiar and intimate. Stylistically, though they profess to offer a generalised feminine perspective, the Everywoman columns employ the first-person singular throughout, and present candid and opinionated views. In a commentary on Horace Horenell’s The Talking Woman, for instance, the reviewer expresses her disbelief at the central character’s oddity, stating ‘I found Sabrina Varey a little exhausting’, and goes on to appeal to the broad perspective that the column’s headnote promises: ‘I wish she had been a little more like the people I meet every day’ (29 Feb 1924: 11). In contrast to reviews like Swinnerton’s in Harper’s Bazaar which aimed for a familiar, direct style established by a professional book man, ‘The Bookworm’ in Everywoman shuns the idiosyncratic voice in favour of a more generalised, if gendered, view. Everywoman’s ‘The Bookworm’, therefore, was not only working to include non-professional opinions in discussions about books. It was also providing another kind of corrective by declaring that it was presenting exclusively women’s perspectives on the books under review. Finding and creating space in literary discussions for women’s perspectives and views was one of the explicit goals of feminist periodical culture of the period, and this extended to characterisations within review columns of the imagined reader herself. Some of the review columns directly address reader demographics, and describe the kinds of people who habitually read the books that appear in their columns. For example, a review article by Sara Gertrude Millin in Time and Tide entitled ‘The Reader Past Thirty’ (16 Aug 1929: 985) addresses both age and gender as identity factors that might determine an author’s ability to find a readership. Quoting the nineteenth-century novelist Samuel Butler (1835–1902) who stated that ‘the author who writes for success must keep in mind the fact that, not counting the specialist, his chief reader is the person between twenty and thirty years of age’ (985), Millin counters that this assessment ‘did not, in Samuel Butler’s day, and it does not now, apply to women’ (985). Rather, she argues that women are frequently consistent, lifelong readers, not confined to the narrow age range that Butler suggests. By the end of the article, however, she admits that perhaps women fall into Butler’s exceptional category of the ‘specialist’: ‘But women are specialists. They are specialists in that very field which chiefly engages the literary activities of the day: the field of human comfort’ (985). The description of domesticity as a ‘specialty’ posits the kind of writing and work represented in women’s magazines as professional (and this, too, contrasts with Everywoman’s celebration of the female amateur).10 Millin’s association of ‘the field of human comfort’ with literariness and literary activity indicates a vital connection between reading and domesticity that I will explore further in the final section of this chapter, but it also crucially argues that women ought to be treated as ‘specialist’ readers – experts in their fields. She therefore offers a possible model of specifically

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feminine reading between the professional or expert reviewer and the amateur book recommender, both of whom offer readers guidance in the matter of choosing the books that might become their cherished favourites. So what kinds of books did these reviewers, whether positioning themselves as professionals or as amateurs, actually review? There is a striking heterogeneity in the subject matter of the columns themselves. Everything from ostrich farming to puppetmaking to experimental fiction was fair game in the book review world; books reviewed ranged from non-fiction to fiction; small press to large commercial firm; serious to frivolous. Indeed, variety was seemingly the only rubric, and nearly every review periodical bounced around between genres, price points, styles, and kinds of books. Even within the same week’s column, reviews were often rather miscellaneously strung together, sometimes connected only by their presence in the same essay. The poet Edith Sitwell, for example, occasionally contributed reviews to British Vogue, and her columns tended to contain a variety of different titles – considering in one week’s column Arthur Waley’s translation of Sei Shonagan’s The Pillow Book (Allen & Unwin) alongside The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound (Faber & Gwyer) and the ‘delicately light . . . sylph-like’ novels of Ronald Firbank (Duckworth) (9 Jan 1929: 43). In this sense the selection of books was likely governed by the publishers’ lists, and by new books appearing in a given week, rather than by a specific editorial criteria designed to appeal to specific kinds of readers. Instead, the reviewers themselves (whether amateur, expert, or somewhere in between) were the ones whose approaches and identities determined the tone of the review culture within a specific magazine.

Publishers’ Advertisements While review columns and literary essays offer the detailed views on the book world and its readers by named or unnamed critics and staff writers, at the same time publishers themselves were advertising books within the pages of the periodicals. Most publishers of the period spent a large portion of their advertising budgets on pictorial and (more often) textual advertisements placed in newspapers and periodicals for each season’s new list. These advertisements, along with book reviews and (rarely) cinema and radio specials, were the primary modes used in the marketing of books.11 However, in the interwar period, like today, publishers often had limited budgets and were judicious in their purchasing of advertising space. Consequently, advertisements appeared more frequently in more expensive magazines associated with a book-buying (as opposed to book-borrowing) demographic. So what exactly did these advertisements consist of? What kinds of publishers were advertising in women’s periodicals? Of the twenty magazines, only three – Harper’s Bazaar, Woman’s Magazine, and Time and Tide – contained book publishers’ advertisements regularly (though nearly all of the magazines I examined contained at least some advertisements for book or writing-related materials, such as bookshelves, pens and stationery, creative writing courses, or secretarial courses). Some of the magazines had a practice of only advertising books published by their own firm or venture (examples of this type include cookbooks and sewing instructional manuals published by Good Housekeeping). In each of the magazines that did contain book publishers’ advertisements, the notices belonging to a particular publishing firm tend to appear over and over again in a particular magazine, implicitly suggesting a connection

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between particular publishing imprints and particular periodicals. Others had regular advertisements by specific firms. These associations could create comfortable and often mutually beneficial ties between certain periodical titles and certain publishers. The Hogarth Press, for example, had close ties to Time and Tide owing to the personal relationship between the Woolfs and Time and Tide’s editor, Lady Rhondda. Because of this connection, the Hogarth Press advertised in the periodical frequently; however, if the Woolfs wanted to include advertisements or serial publications in periodicals with different demographic features (such as the daily papers or broader circulation magazines), they often had to work through literary agents in order to secure these kinds of relationships. Mid-sized commercial firms with strong literary lists, Heinemann and J. M. Dent, were similarly frequent advertisers in Time and Tide. Advertisements for Macmillan (another mid-sized commercial publishing house) and Heinemann appear in Harper’s Bazaar with similar frequency to Hogarth Press advertisements in Time and Tide. Through the repeated placement of advertisements week after week in specific periodicals, publishers were seeking to create a shared readership with magazines whose pricing, thematic emphases, and explicit demographics matched their own. Given the somewhat precarious nature of book sales (though not book production) in this period, judicious placement of publishers’ advertisements at this point were especially important when book purchasing was still a nascent activity: ensuring that the right advertisement appeared in the right periodical was a high-stakes endeavour for the publisher. Although reading culture of the interwar period was still largely dominated by book borrowing through circulating and subscription libraries rather than by purchase, books were increasingly affordable and came to be in the reach of some purchasers. Some of the innovations in publishing that came later in the 1930s, such as the Penguin paperbacks, were preceded in the 1920s by organisations like The Book Society, Britain’s first book club, which also advertised in magazines like Time and Tide, sometimes in conjunction with publishers.12 Despite these innovations, and although the number of books being published was on the rise, the question of whether sales were keeping pace with production is much less easily answered since publishers kept sales figures confidential and they now often remain in fragmented archival records.13 Editorials on the subject were often quite pessimistic: ‘one gathers that all is not well with the publishers’, a columnist in Time and Tide writes in reference to the slim profit margins in the industry (14 Oct 1929: 1281). From the publisher’s side, the documentary record of relationships with the periodicals mostly takes the form of ledgers recording the costs of advertisements and press clippings books of the advertisements once they appeared in the magazines. Advertisements placed by the Hogarth Press in magazines like Time and Tide and the Nation are now contained in the Press Clippings Book in the Hogarth Press Business Archive. Most publishers’ advertisements of this period (in all of the magazines mentioned here) are black and white and minimally illustrated. They generally range in size between one tenth and one half of a periodical page, and very rarely do full-page advertisements for books appear in the magazines. Often the advertisements listed a few books on offer in the current publisher’s season along with brief review quotes, information about book pricing, and the publisher’s logo and address. The sparse, minimal nature of many of these advertisements means that unlike in the review columns, there is little sense (beyond the demographic implied by the venue of the advertisement) to be gained here of the kind of reader that the publisher is

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targeting with book advertisements. Rather than tailoring advertising designs to specific periodicals, publishing houses tended to create one standard marketing programme and design package and use it for a variety of periodicals (sometimes increasing the size of the advertisement but seldom changing the actual typography or style).14 The bibliographical details, however, about the price, format, and size of books advertised can be compared in some instances to the price, format, and size of periodicals published. Generally, as might be expected, the more expensive magazines also published ads for more expensive books. However, by far the most common price for a book advertised in the periodicals’ pages was the standard novel price of 7s 6d, and many of the books advertised were novels. Whereas advertising for fiction tended to be relatively uniform across periodical venues, publishers promoting non-fiction tended to select titles that might be more specifically targeted at female readers. Routledge, Kegan & Paul, for example, ran an advertisement in Time and Tide showcasing three titles: Vera Brittain’s The Future of Monogamy (2s 6d); The Women of To-Day (6d) by The Hon. Mrs Pollock; and Nursery Life 300 Years Ago by Lucy Crump (10s 6d). While the subject matter of each of these is specifically concerned with relationships, female identity, and family, it is interesting to note that the price points for these volumes indicate that for the publisher the target here is really the readership’s interest in the content of the books rather than the specific type of book. By including everything from a 6d pamphlet (scarcely more expensive than a magazine) up to an expensive 10s 6d volume which includes illustration plates, the publisher is counting specifically on gender as a criterion for selecting specific works to advertise rather than grouping books along genre or price lines, which was the standard practice in intellectual weekly periodicals like the Nation (Dickens 2011: 166). One final point to note about publishers’ advertisements for books is that they seldom contain illustrations or images of books themselves; the publisher’s logo is often the only pictorial element to be included in the advertisement. While decorative borders and occasionally additional typographical ornaments such as stars, manicules, or crosses are frequently included to add visual appeal to the text-heavy notices, books themselves are not usually visually depicted. Conventionally, any material features of a book are advertised instead in text (for instance, illustrations are usually listed by the number of plates, and the price point usually indicates something about the quality and perhaps the format of the book). It could be argued that the absence of pictorial representation emphasises the intellectual contents of the advertisements and de-emphasises the book as material object. However, as I argue below, book-as-object illustrations and discussions take place elsewhere in the magazines, for example, in advertisements for bookshelves, which frequently appeared alongside publishers’ advertisements and typically included images of books neatly arranged.

Bookshelves, Home Decor, and the Domesticity of Reading Although domestic magazines like Good Housekeeping scarcely contained advertisements for books beyond their own in-house publications, they still engaged with the book world by commenting on books as essential elements of home decor. Much work in the field of book history has attempted the difficult task of characterising and theorising

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reading practices, which can tend to remain undocumented.15 It can be difficult to extrapolate information about actual reading practices from the kinds of materials I have discussed so far in this chapter. Since advertisements in periodicals provided no guarantee that the books would eventually be purchased by the readers, and since book reviews document in detail only the reading experience of the reviewer, the evidence for reallife reading experience is sparse. Interwar articles about bookshelves might in one way seem to be beside the point: surely these kinds of essays are about furniture, and perhaps about design, but not so much about reading. However, as the work of Chiara Briganti and Kathy Mezei (2006) on the relationship between domesticity and modernity during this period has shown, household decorations and decisions are far from innocuous when it comes to the expression of taste and identity. The commentary on bookshelves in women’s periodicals confirms some of the important questions about literary production, book buying, and reading practices in the period, and relates back to the ideas of socialisation in other more explicitly bookish articles, like Telford’s on ‘books as friends’. One central question in book history scholarship of this period, as noted in relation to publishers’ advertisements, above, is about the relationship between book buying and book borrowing. Nash has recently argued that despite the rise of book sales in the 1920s and 1930s, the book-reading public of the interwar period was still largely a book-borrowing rather than a book-buying public (2011: 11). An unsigned article in Good Housekeeping confirms this: ‘the majority of people do not buy books; indeed, it is a pretty common feeling . . . that there is something vaguely sinful about spending money on books’ (9 Nov 1928: 22). This tendency for book borrowing as a practice also explains, in part, why publishers’ advertisements appeared predominantly in the more expensive magazines, and with less frequency than regular book review columns, and why publishers were judicious in their placement of advertisements. Book reviewers in the periodicals were working to suggest books to read, but not necessarily to suggest books to buy. It was not until the late 1930s that Penguin paperbacks had been naturalised in the market and had created a fully fledged purchasing culture. The Penguins themselves could be seen as emblems of modern domesticity (as Briganti and Mezei point out) since they were priced at the same rate as a pack of cigarettes and designed on similar principles as other affordable conveniences (81). This transformation over the course of the interwar period means that many of the discussions in Good Housekeeping from the 1920s still accord books an important place in the home. If books were indeed purchased, then, their high value ensured that they were in the foreground of the domestic landscape. Even the positioning of books within a bookshelf could therefore be considered a domestic art. Another columnist in Good Housekeeping suggests that ‘there are tricks of aspect and all the varied gifts of daylight to be considered’ (9 Nov 1928: 23) when finding the perfect spot to show books to the greatest advantage. Domestic magazines tend to present books as necessary features of a well-decorated, respectable, and peaceful home. In this realm, the aesthetics of the material book are particularly important, and in many of the articles uniformity is one of the most desirable aesthetic qualities. The seriousness with which books and their place in the home is discussed reflects the attitude expressed by Millin about domestic life as an area of ‘specialisation’ and expertise.

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Neat rows of books of identical size and colour were often considered the most pleasing. This is, in part, because books are presented as a way of ensuring an atmosphere of domestic peace that contrasts with the glaring modernity of the outside world: [I]n the year 1928 it is particularly pleasant to browse [bookshelves], for there are more noisy and distracting things invading our lives than there have ever been in the world before; thousands of new cars and loud-speakers and gramophones and such-like strident reminders of the outer world. A home should be a refuge from all this scurrying mechanism . . . and to many people quiet rooms and books and secluded gardens are more agreeable than most of the spectacular and energetic diversions modern life provides. (9 Nov 1928: 21) Even in the late 1920s, long before our own nostalgic attachment to paper books in the face of e-book technology, books were objects that suggested a nostalgic domestic landscape. Questions that concerned publishers (as the advertisements showed) about price, about format, and about size, also deeply concern the interior decorator attempting to fill a bookshelf. Partly, the Good Housekeeping author suggests, there is the question of arrangement: does one sort by size or by colour, by author or by theme? In other words, does one sort the books as objects or does one sort the contents of the books themselves? This question is tantamount to actually asking whether books are things or whether they are abstract entities that transcend their physical forms. The author even describes the bookshelf as a material unit that also structures thought: ‘these questions are difficult when we persist, as most of us do, in thinking horizontally along shelves’ (163). The spatial configuration of the bookshelf is sometimes at odds with the thematic or conceptual concerns that might affect the place of books in a home. Not only do conceptual categories sometimes challenge the horizontal linearity of the bookshelf, but so too do the publishers practices in producing books: uniformity does not always appeal to publishers. There is a roughly standard size for the seven-and-sixpenny novel, but authors who, like Mr. H. G. Wells and Mr. Rudyard Kipling, have gained the singular distinction of being published in more than one variety of uniform edition, are difficult to accommodate in a row without a lot of disturbing ups and downs. (163) The irony of the uniform edition – a publishing phenomenon that has received increasing scholarly attention lately, especially in relation to the book world of the 1930s (Nash 2003a) – is that unless one acquired a full set, sometimes clashing uniformities introduced chaos to even the most well-ordered of bookshelves. Wells and Kipling are also significant choices to be mentioned as particularly successful authors (they were not, in fact, ‘singularly distinguished’ in having multiple uniform editions). These two writers occupy a cultural position in between the high modernisms of, for instance, Woolf and Joyce, and the Victorian novels of Dickens and Gissing. Wells and Kipling are both prose stylists whose work would not bring the clash and clang of the city into the home, but whose work was contemporary enough to seem current and not passé. They are also both men whose writings occupy a middle

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ground between the avant-garde and the popular. These selections reflect an appeal to what Humble describes as ‘a new reading public’ that emerged in the interwar period: ‘the expanded suburban middle class, more affluent, newly leisured, and with increasingly sophisticated taste in narratives’ (2001: 10). The magazines with the most bookish content, too, were orienting themselves toward this public and its expanded living spaces, newly furnished with books.

Conclusion This chapter has offered an exploration of the diverse range of representations of books and reading in a variety of interwar women’s periodicals. What these examples show is that while books were treated in a variety of ways – as objects, as cultural signifiers, as vehicles for identity, and even as friends – they were always accorded significance in determining and defining taste. The ways in which we can access these identities through women’s print media are also various: book review columnists and essayists are often the most vibrant voices in the conversations about books and reading that appeared in the magazines, but they are far from the only contributors to the development of a book culture within the pages of periodicals. Publishers’ advertisements tended to have a fairly neutral representation of reading – often consisting of simple, image-free text. However, the repeated placement of advertisements in specific magazine titles by the same publishers suggests that readerships for books and periodicals were often considered alongside one another by magazine editors and the book publishers alike. Finally, the discourse on books and reading finds a somewhat unexpected place in articles about household decoration and design that position the book-as-object within a specific kind of domestic sphere that comes into contact with literary as well as decorative ideas about the home. Though the ‘tricks of aspect and the varied gifts of daylight’ might show different books from different perspectives through the magazines, their centrality in the home and in the mind are never in question. Along with the serialised stories, current affairs articles, and fashion spreads, bookish content provided readers with rich and various cultural and intellectual materials. The magazines themselves, of course, acted as reading materials and encouraged above all the continued and devoted consumption of their own future issues, in part as a way of accessing the broader world of books.

Notes 1. Margaret Beetham points out that the friendship metaphor prevailed in women’s periodical culture as well: in constructions of ‘The New Journalism’ one of the specific ways of establishing femininity was for writers of columns in women’s periodicals themselves to adopt the persona of the reader’s ‘friend’ in order to establish a tone of intimacy and trustworthiness (1996: 181). 2. There are many such artists and illustrators, but perhaps the most iconic artist of this period was E. McKnight Kauffer, whose designs appeared not only in books and magazines but also famously on the London Underground and on posters for the Post Office. (On his work for the Hogarth Press, see Willson 2010.) 3. In this table, an ‘x’ indicates the presence of these features in a number of issues of the magazine over a two-year period between 1928 and 1930.

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4. See the chapter by Lise Shapiro Sanders in this volume for a discussion of this genre of women’s periodical publishing. 5. See Stella Deen in this volume for a discussion of Clemence Dane’s book essays for Good Housekeeping. 6. Time and Tide significantly expanded its coverage of books when it increased in size and price in October 1928. See Clay 2009 and 2011. 7. For Swinnerton’s own detailed account of his career, see Swinnerton: An Autobiography (1937). 8. Another prominent example of such a professional literary man is Arnold Bennett, whose critical work is part of what led Woolf to use him as an iconic Edwardian ‘man of letters’ in ‘Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown’ (1924). 9. Josephine M. Guy and Ian Small reflect on the shift that occurred in the early twentiethcentury from a ‘man of letters’ model to a professional literary critic, marked by academic credentials (2000: 377). I would further argue that the ‘professional’ desgination could be drawn not only from academic qualifications but also from working experience in, for example, the publishing industry as in Swinnerton’s case. See also Stella Deen in this volume on the professional culture of book reviewing. 10. For more on the housewife as a domestic expert, see Alice Wood in this volume (Chapter 13); also Adrian Bingham (Chapter 14) on the technical expertise associated with domesticity. 11. A case in which a book was advertised in the cinema by a publisher was the publication of Virginia Woolf’s Flush by the Hogarth Press. For more on advertising practices relating to the novel, see Wilson (2014). 12. For more on the Book Society, see Wilson (2016). 13. What this means is that sales figures are now sometimes (though inconsistently) available in publishers’ business archives, but have not been aggregated and published in places like the Publisher’s Circular or Author. 14. This standard practice is evident in the publishers’ archives which sometimes contain documents outlining the advertising practices of individual firms. The Hogarth Press, for example, kept advertising materials with other documents relating to specific works. Chatto & Windus kept separate scrapbooks of all of their advertisements (including details of price, advertisement size, and date). These materials can be found at the University of Reading’s Archive of Publishing and Printing, MS2570 (Hogarth Press) and CW D (Chatto). 15. See for instance the foundational discussion by Darnton and the more recent collection by Towheed et al. Although some documentation of individual reading experiences are documented in resources like the Reading Experience Database and the Mass Observation Archives, these tend to be haphazard and individual.

Works Cited The English Catalogue of Books. 1919–39, 20 vols. London: Publishers’ Circular. Beetham, Margaret. 1996. A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800–1914. London: Routledge. Booth, Wayne. 2006. ‘“The Way I Loved George Eliot”: Friendship with Books as a Neglected Critical Metaphor.’ The Essential Wayne Booth. Ed. Walter Jost, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 155–78. Briganti, Chiara and Kathy Mezei. 2006. Domestic Modernism, the Interwar Novel, and E. H. Young. Farnham: Ashgate. Clay, Catherine. 2009. ‘On Not Forgetting “the importance of everything else”: Feminism, Modernism and Time and Tide.’ Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism. 7: 20–37.

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—. 2011. ‘“What We Might Expect – if the highbrow weeklies advertised like the patent foods”: Time and Tide, Advertising, and the Battle of the Brows.’ Modernist Cultures 6.1: 60–95. Collier, Patrick. 2006. Modernism on Fleet Street. Farnham: Ashgate. Darnton, Robert. 1991. ‘History of reading.’ New Perspectives on Historical Writing. Ed. Peter Burke. Cambridge: Polity. Dickens, Elizabeth. 2011. ‘‘Permanent Books’: The Reviewing and Advertising of Books in the Nation and Athenaeum.’ The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 2.2: 165–81. Guy, Josephine M. and Ian Small. 2000. ‘The British “Man of Letters” and the Rise of the Professional.’ The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism. Volume VII: Modernism and the New Criticism. Ed. A. Walton Litz, Louis Menard, and Lawrence Rainey. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. 377–88. Humble, Nicola. 2001. The Feminine Middlebrow Novel 1920s to 1950s: Class, Domesticity, Bohemianism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Latham, Sean and Robert Scholes. 2006. ‘The Rise of Periodical Studies’ PMLA 121.2: 517–31. Nash, Andrew. 2003a. The Culture of Collected Editions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. —. 2003b. ‘A Publisher’s Reader on the Verge of Modernity: The Case of Frank Swinnerton.’ Book History 6: 175–95. —. 2011. ‘The Production of the Novel, 1880–1940.’ The Reinvention of the British and Irish Novel 1880–1940, The Oxford History of the Novel in English. Vol. 4. Ed. Patrick Parrinder and Andrzej Gasiorek. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3–20. Swinnerton, Frank. 1937. Swinnerton: An Autobiography. London: Hutchinson. Towheed, Shafquat, W. R. Owens, eds. 2011. The History of Reading. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Willson Gordon, Elizabeth. 2010. ‘On or about December 1928, the Hogarth Press Changed: E. McKnight Kauffer, Art, Markets, and the Hogarth Press 1928–1939.’ Leonard and Virginia Woolf, The Hogarth Press, and the Networks of Modernism, Ed. Helen Southworth. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 179–205. Wilson, Nicola. 2014. ‘Archive Fever: The Publishers’ Archive and the History of the Novel.’ New Directions in the History of the Novel. Eds. Andrew Nash, Patrick Parrinder, and Nicola Wilson. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 76–87. —. 2016. ‘Virginia Woolf and the Book Society Limited.’ Virginia Woolf and her Female Contemporaries. Ed. Julie Vandivere and Megan Hicks. Clemson University Press: Woolf Selected Papers. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. 48–55. Woolf, Virginia. 1924. Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown. Hogarth Essays. Vol 1. London: Hogarth Press.

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2 ‘A Journal of the Period’: Modernism and Conservative Modernity in EVE: THE LADY’S PICTORIAL (1919–29) Vike Martina Plock

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n 27 October 1926 the British society magazine the Sketch, ran an advertisement promoting another interwar journal: Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial, a women’s weekly that included reports on the latest fashions, society columns, articles on childcare and other domestic issues, regular features on motoring, sport, and golf as well as short articles about literature and the arts. Minimalistic in design, the advertisement in the Sketch produced a vertical line-up of the journal’s title letters to create the catchy slogan: ‘Excellent Value Every Week’ (Figure 2.1). Eve, the reader is informed, now incorporates the well-established women’s weekly, the Gentlewoman, but can still be obtained ‘every Wednesday’ for ‘one shilling’. Not only the magazine’s relative affordability is declared, but the advert also promotes Eve’s mission, declared on the front cover of its first issue, to be a ‘journal of the period’ (Sep 1919) that changed with the time to provide content that remained of interest to its female readers.1 Indeed, a brief glance at the publication history of this particular interwar magazine shows how regularly Eve was given a facelift: what began as Eve: A Magazine for Women in September 1919 was rebranded only two years later when the Lady’s Pictorial was incorporated to create a ‘unique journal for the modern woman’ that hoped to ensure

Figure 2.1 Advertisement for Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial. (Source: the Sketch 27 Oct 1926)

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‘the highest possible standard of excellence in all departments – Fashion, Art, Literature, Society, and Domestic Affairs’ (24 Feb 1921: iii). Then, only three years after the Gentlewoman was absorbed in 1926, publication as a women’s weekly was permanently suspended when Eve merged with the current affairs journal Britannia to form ‘the most beautiful, witty and well-informed magazine British journalism has yet produced’, the ‘new illustrated monthly journal’ Britannia and Eve (24 Apr 1929: 909) – a publication that would proudly identify itself as a ‘monthly journal for men and women’ on every subsequent cover page.2 This chapter investigates the rhetoric used in Eve’s articles and other written content to ensure the periodical’s ongoing popularity with readers and hence its financial sustainability before the merger with Britannia in 1929. As I will show, its miscellaneous columns effectively negotiated a possible tension between tradition and modernity by alternating the occasional approval of progressive outlooks with a thinly veiled promotion of patriarchal standards and nationalist viewpoints. Through representing ‘the plurality of possibilities open to women after the upheaval of the First World War’ (Hackney 2008: 116), Eve, in other words, fashioned itself as a dialogic space that aimed to address the various, at times, contradictory experiences and interests of women in the interwar period. In fact, the sporadic inclusion of features written by or about modernist women authors attests to the willingness of editors to make room for alternative, if not unorthodox, voices and opinions among the magazine’s conservative columns. Throughout its first decade, therefore, Eve at times functioned as an educational tool for readers who were as interested in sartorial fashions as they were keen to learn about the latest trends in literature and the arts. In this manner, the journal expressed exactly the kind of cultural atmosphere that dominated, according to Alison Light, the interwar years in Britain: a ‘conservative modernity’ that is defined by Light as ‘a conservatism itself in revolt against the past, trying to make room for the present’ (1991: 10, 11) while holding on to aspects of a traditional cultural apparatus. In what follows, I will first discuss the magazine’s concern with upholding traditional values in some of its columns and in a selection of adverts. I will then examine Eve’s promotion of modernist women writers which peaked in the years before the journal’s merger with Britannia. In what could be regarded as the magazine’s brief ‘modernist turn’, a number of names familiar to readers of interwar literature make repeated appearances in its columns. On 5 October 1927, for instance, the journal printed a short text by poet and novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner entitled ‘The Kingdom of Elfin’ (14–15), and as her critics will instantly recognise, this piece surprisingly anticipates by fifty years the publication of a collection of stories on fairy lore with a practically identical title.3 Eve’s editors, it must be assumed, recognised and further developed readers’ taste for unconventional rather than traditional viewpoints, approving rather than censoring the articulation of multiple and converging opinions not only about literature but also about contemporary gender politics and social norms. These contributions that so obviously presented other and more adventurous propositions for female career and personality development can therefore show Eve’s hybrid nature as an interwar women’s magazine that promoted both traditional and progressive values in its columns. By further analysing the particulars of this productive dialogue between conservatism and progressiveness in Eve, my chapter will advance research on interwar periodical culture, suggesting that some existing critical designations such as ‘little’, ‘smart’, or ‘service’ magazine inadequately describe

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the heterogeneity of the printed materials found in this particular 1920s magazine marketed to middle-class women readers. Most certainly, the appearance of modernist content in Eve significantly complicates Deirdre Beddoe’s suggestion that 1920s ‘service magazines’ promoted ‘the housewife and mother’ as the ‘only one desirable image held up to women’ (1989: 8).4 Additionally, the appearance of modernist features in Eve presents scholars of interwar literature with the opportunity to revisit debates about modernism’s engagement with contemporary mass and periodical culture, and it encourages us to consider alternative audiences as recipients of modernist work. While critics such as Ann Ardis have argued that ‘the periodical industry’ of the interwar period was characterised by a ‘commitment to what we might now term Bakhtinian dialogics in the public sphere’ (2007: 409), the work of many scholars writing in her wake has concentrated on exploring the circulation of modernist material in non-commercial ‘little’ or in mass-marketed ‘smart’ magazines. Daniel Tracy, for one, investigates the particular form of engagement with modernism found in Vanity Fair and the New Yorker – magazines, in which the bulk of the articles consisted of ‘pedagogical or critical articles (including art and book reviews)’ (2010: 43). Predictably, perhaps, many of these critical discussions focus on examining the dialectic relationship between highbrow intellectualism and popular literary culture as it manifested itself in such ‘middlebrow’ publications as H. L. Mencken’s Smart Set – a magazine ‘that managed to be both popular and avant-garde’ and thereby managed ‘to serve the needs of art beyond boundaries’ (Hamilton 2012: 142). The current chapter is indebted to the critical notion that interwar periodicals were hybrid textual forms that included a variety of different voices and viewpoints. However, it deliberately seeks to extend this suggestion beyond the realm of literature, taste, and cultural standards by arguing that the appearance of modernist work in Eve’s later issues testifies to modernism’s firm embeddedness in the everyday concerns of middle-class, female readers of the interwar period. Here we find a magazine, in which features with modernist content comfortably appear next to columns on household management. And even if – as critical voices might suggest – these most forward-looking features in Eve are unfortunately marred by errors and misspellings that might indicate unfamiliarity with the contents sporadically advocated, the appearance of modernist voices in this particular periodical attest to modernism’s availability to readers (female, middle class, with domestic interests) not conventionally associated with avant-garde art forms.5 As such, my analysis of Eve’s hybrid nature hopes to challenge not only such critical designations as ‘smart’ or ‘service’ magazines that are interested in associating a particular type of 1920s reader with a particular type of interwar magazine. I am also suggesting – through my reading of modernist materials published in Eve – that the work of some modernist artists was far more integrated in the everyday culture of the interwar period than conventional constructions of this particular artistic movement might make us believe. Ultimately, that is, the appearance of modernist content in the interwar women’s magazine Eve questions a direct and unproblematic association of such relational concepts as ‘exceptional’ and ‘normal’, ‘radical’ and ‘conformist’ – concepts conventionally aligned with modernism, on the one hand, and with women’s magazines and women’s interests on the other. From the point of view of Eve’s editors, it seems, both women’s domestic concerns and modernism were

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equally important news items that could help to sell more copies of the periodical. Studying Eve in more detail will assist today’s readers to better understand the particular mode of dissemination of modernist content in the interwar period. It can reveal the cultural mechanisms responsible for making modernist experimentations relevant for female, middle-class homemakers of the 1920s.

The Flapper and the House-Parlourmaid: Conservative Modernity in Eve Investigation of Eve’s composition during its decade as a women’s periodical shows that many of its features and adverts fashioned a predominantly domestic position as the journal’s editorial preference. As Cynthia L. White observes, Eve ‘was aimed at the daughters of the New Rich’ (1970: 94) and as such it was designed to address the concerns of the modern middle-class woman of the postwar period who had domestic and often maternal obligations. Advertisements carried by the magazine regularly promoted cooking classes, maternity wear, and children’s clothing while the periodical included, as early as 1921, a ‘Children’s Page’ that appeared alongside such columns as ‘Fashions of To-Day and To-Morrow’, ‘Eve in PARadISe’, ‘Eve Goes Shopping’, and ‘Eve and her Car’ that were clearly more metropolitan or cosmopolitan in focus. In 1926, editors also introduced a ‘Growing Up’ series that dealt with common questions about child-rearing, and in May 1928 this feature was complemented by a ‘Home Furnishing, Decoration and Management’ series that once more brought to the fore the journal’s commitment to promoting ideals in line with traditional notions of feminine interests. Eve’s conservatism was even more explicit in its society columns which often contained images of women photographed next to their children. One such feature pictured film star Gladys Cooper together with her son, Rodney, in his nursery (30 Mar 1921: 402–3). In February 1923, a photograph of Gerald and Daphne du Maurier (the future bestselling novelist) appeared next to the caption ‘Me and My Girl’. ‘Miss Daphne du Maurier’, readers are told, is ‘Sir Gerald and Lady du Maurier’s younger daughter. . . . Sir Gerald is as popular in the family circle as on the stage. His new and exacting part in “The Dancers,” at Wyndham’s, is an object lesson in the arts of love-making and acting’ (28 Feb 1923: 259). What appears to be a feature on Daphne ultimately metamorphoses into a promotional campaign of her actor-manager father and his latest play. Read alongside countless photographs of women posing for photo shoots in nurseries, this picture therefore reinforces the suggestion that women were repeatedly consigned to the role of supportive actors in the pages of Eve. Very infrequently, it seems from this initial assessment of women’s photographic appearances in Eve, were they allowed to play the star role of political, social, or intellectual actor in their own right. The occasional ‘nursery issue’ (9 Feb 1927; 8 Feb 1928) dedicating almost the entirety of its pages to maternal concerns further consolidates this impression of Eve’s traditional outlook. Upholding patriarchal values was also the aim of some of Eve’s written contributions. On 20 January 1921, an article problematically associated women’s (professional) aspirations with inevitable destitution. ‘Goodness knows’, the writer asks, ‘what becomes of the young “flapper” who can sing a little, dance a little, flirt much, who doesn’t marry, and never could sew a button on? . . . She might have

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made an excellent house-parlourmaid’, he proposes, ‘if some fine friend had not told her she was “another Gladys Cooper”.’ Cautioning modern parents to ‘bring up their children, especially the girls, on two home truths’ (to have ‘an “interest” outside of oneself’ and be aware ‘that the destiny we think ought to be ours, is the kind of destiny which very rarely is’) (67), this author, emphasising modesty, restraint, and unpretentiousness as essential feminine qualities, clearly promoted a very reactionary model of female self-formation. For women with emancipatory agendas who aspired to more than marriage and careers in domestic service, this open denunciation of the flapper as an image signposting women’s social and cultural modernity could only have been objectionable. Even among these conservative views surfacing in Eve, however, another article entitled ‘Women and Politics’ is certainly extreme in its propagation of patriarchal values. Published on 22 October 1924, a week before the general election, it startlingly announced that readers can ‘take it for granted that most of the women who have votes will not vote at all’. ‘Most of them’, the author declares, ‘did not care about having the vote, and do not bother to use it now they have got it.’ And why is that? According to the writer, women consider political activities ‘healthy and amusing’ for men, but believe that they ‘have no practical use and not much importance’ for women who should focus on keeping ‘others living in harmony with the mysterious rhythm of life in general, of which they hold the secret’ (131). Evidently, this construction of women as political non-participants and as providers of an intangible vital force flies in the face of suffragettes’ fiercely fought-for victories. It also affirms patriarchal beliefs in the pages of a publication designed to reflect the interests of the modern woman of the interwar period. Eve’s conservative streaks found a slightly different expression in an editorial published in the first issue after the Lady’s Pictorial had been integrated in 1921. In this particular case, editors stated that the periodical, in its made-over version, would continue to cater ‘for the woman of to-day and to-morrow who is interested in sports and in the open-air life, and yet retains live mental interests and knowledge of affairs intimately connected with women’s domestic life’. Additionally, they stated, it would also focus its energies on promoting national culture and businesses. The magazine’s ‘object’, the article explains, ‘is to produce a clean, healthy English paper’. Too many ‘other papers of a similar type have in the near past’, ‘been inclined to lean too much upon American or Parisian ideas, neglecting the sound genius that is latent in our own country’ (2 Mar 1921: 259). And to be sure, throughout the periodical’s lifespan, the promotion of English brands and retailers had certainly been a priority. Department stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Marshall & Snelgrove unflaggingly advertised their wares while home-made articles were promoted with similar verve. An advert from a 1921 issue for the Suffolk-based company Spunella could therefore headline its products as ‘British Made Silks’, which were ‘unequalled for wear’ and could be obtained at ‘special reduced prices’ at Harvey Nichols (19 Oct 1921: no page). This emphasis on promoting home-made articles reappeared in Eve’s written contributions. ‘English Chic’ was the topic of a 1924 article that argued that ‘the Englishwoman has evolved for herself a style of dressing which rivals the art of her Parisian sister’. Today, the article suggests ‘the English shop-girl can hold her own’ with the ‘smartness of the Parisian midinette’ by buying ‘everything in the English shops’ (8 Oct 1924: 57). The economic rivalry between France and Britain, two imperial

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nations with significant geopolitical influence in the interwar period, unmistakably structured the rhetoric of British fashion advertising used in Eve. Nonetheless, throughout the 1920s, the magazine continued to run its ‘Eve in PARadISe’ column that promised to bring readers the latest fashion news directly from the French capital while other articles repeatedly paid tribute to the cosmopolitanism of the Parisian couture and lifestyle.6 Read collectively, then, these editorials, adverts, and articles on fashion and quotidian sociopolitical affairs referenced so far make up an eclectic mix of opinions, advocating a certain amount of cosmopolitan modernity but only in so far as this did not jeopardise the preservation of patriarchal traditionalism emphasised in the bulk of Eve’s features. A similar dynamic can be seen in the dialogue between orthodox and progressive perspectives in Eve’s literature and arts columns, which could be depended upon to review the latest plays, books, and films in such regular features as ‘Eve and her Books’ and ‘Eve at the Play’. On 28 September 1921, for instance, Eve went abroad to inform readers about plays currently performed in Germany. Although its author is pleasantly surprised by the frequency with which English-language plays are produced in Germany – ‘Imagine’, readers are told, ‘Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde appearing daily on the average theatre list’ (397) – this article ends on a damning review of a performance of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial and sexually explicit play Reigen (La Ronde, first published in 1903) and makes a thinly veiled attempt to support theatre censorship. An earlier issue published in the same year, however, contained a review of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence (1920). Here, Wharton’s ‘Balzac-like quality of minuteness, sincerity, and sometimes uncomfortable perspicacity’, is praised while the writer also condemns Newland Archer, Wharton’s protagonist, as a ‘chivalrous coward’ who ‘marries the perfect ingénue, and has many children’ (27 Jan 1921: 112). If the controversial sexual dynamics of Schnitzler’s Reigen were considered decidedly offensive by one of Eve’s theatre correspondents, a much more tolerant outlook informed this book review that wanted to see Wharton’s character break with the social customs that prevent him from following his true passion. It is this willingness to consider and, at times, promote the unconventional, the modern, or the radical that distinguished aspects of Eve’s literature and arts columns, and it is at this point that modernist topics also come into view. The second number, published in November 1919, had already contained a review of the Russian Ballet that praised its ‘abounding vitality’, locating the company’s success in its readiness to frequently revolutionise its artistic practices: ‘with the restless ferment of the true artist’, the writer attests, the dancers ‘forever itch to be at something fresh’ and ‘are perpetually breaking out in new places’ (6). The work of the British painter C. R. W. Nevinson was similarly hailed as ‘that development in realism in modern art called “Modernism”’ in a 1921 review (5 Oct 1921: 14) while a 1928 double-page feature, reproducing many of her artworks, celebrated the British artist Laura Knight as ‘the world’s greatest woman painter’ a year before she was awarded her DBE (21 Mar 1928: 595). A March issue from 1927 contained a review of Fritz Lang’s German expressionist film Metropolis (30 Mar 1927: 642; 688) and Luigi Pirandello was introduced to readers as ‘the great Sicilian dramatist’ in an article from June 1925 (24 June 1925: 691). Throughout the postwar decade, Eve’s editors, it can be surmised, aimed to have their ear to the ground to inform readers about the latest developments in the arts.

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Naturally, the above paragraphs can only provide a fraction of the many topics and debates that made up Eve’s colourful appearance as an interwar magazine addressed to modern women. But what has hopefully become apparent is that, throughout Eve’s lifespan, attention to untested ideas was balanced with an insistence on the ongoing relevance of political, social, and cultural orthodoxies. If women’s identities and biographies were less rigidly fixed in the time after the First World War, Eve was participating in a more general debate about the variety of different careers and opinions available to its middle-class, female readers. To be sure, it held on to more traditional notions of domestic femininity in the majority of its features. But clearly, this conservative modernity characterising significant parts of every single journal issue also makes the presence of modernist themes all the more striking. It is to Eve’s dissemination of modernist literature produced by women writers that I shall turn next. Looking at these particular aspects of Eve’s composition in more detail, I shall suggest, can significantly advance scholarly debates about modernism’s obvious implantation into women’s everyday lives during the interwar period.

‘Not so “Dusty”’: Women Writers and Eve’s ‘Modernist Turn’ Even in early numbers, references to modernist texts make sporadic appearances in Eve. For example, in 1922, the year considered by many critics as the apex of high modernist experimentation, a book review discussed D. H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod (1922) and while the reviewer is critical of Lawrence’s ‘terror of women’, he or she also approvingly stated preference for the ‘genius’ of the Nottinghamshire-born writer when compared with ‘that of the much discussed Mr. James Joyce’ (28 June 1922: 411). This is, I believe, the only time Joyce is mentioned in Eve. But even this passing reference to the author of Ulysses in this review of Lawrence assumed the reader’s familiarity with writers who are associated with the modernist movement. For the comparison to work, readers needed to know who Joyce was and what constituted his apparent ‘genius’. Other male modernist writers who are mentioned in passing are Ford Madox Ford and E. M. Forster (15 Feb 1928: 315; 9 May 1928: 303), and the name of D. H. Lawrence reappeared when he contributed the short story ‘The Blue Moccasins’ to the 1928 Christmas number (22 Nov 1928: 24–5, 27, 70, 74). On the whole, however, male modernists were less frequently represented than their female counterparts – a suggestion already made by Laura Doan who argues that Eve was ‘at the forefront of promoting women’s artistic achievements and activities’ (2001: 183). Particularly during the second half of the magazine’s lifespan, the number of references to women writers rose significantly. While Collette and Edith Wharton were mentioned as early as 1921 (14 Jan 1921: 45, vi; 27 Jan 1921: 112), later issues regularly featured short contributions by or about Elizabeth Bowen, Bryher, Radclyffe Hall, Winifred Holtby, Storm Jameson, Rosamond Lehmann, Anita Loos, Rose Macaulay, Jean Rhys, Edith Sitwell, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf. The years 1927–9 seemed to have been particularly fertile ones for the popularisation of modern and modernist women writers’ work thereby confirming Bonnie Kime Scott’s hypothesis that 1928 ‘was a high point for the women of modernism’ (1996: 240). The above-mentioned Christmas number from 1928

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contained, apart from Lawrence’s contribution, short stories by Storm Jameson and Elizabeth Bowen.7 Noticeable in some features are the editorial apparatuses introducing these writers to Eve’s readers. Bowen, for instance, is presented as the author ‘whose first novel “The Hotel” was the acclaimed “book of the month” in America last summer’ (22 Nov 1928: 34). By referencing her prize-winning novel, the article explicitly spelled out Bowen’s cultural significance and signalled the intention to use the periodical for educational purposes. And Bowen’s is by no means an isolated case. In the last few years before its merger with Britannia, Eve very often introduced women writers of the period with such quality endorsements, informing readers about the reputation of these writers, journalists, or critics who were featured in the magazine. For example, Rebecca West is introduced as ‘one of the most brilliant women journalists of the day’ (5 May 1926: 232) and Edith Sitwell as a ‘poetess and modernist’ whose avantgardism is conveyed in the description of her as ‘a law unto herself’ (29 Feb 1928: 405). Britain’s most famous female modernist Virginia Woolf was presented as ‘the winner of the much-coveted “Femina” prize’ when Eve published her essay ‘The Waxworks at the Abbey’ in 1927 (23 May 1928: 429).8 She might already have been a well-known author but what seems to qualify Woolf’s work for inclusion in Eve was the receipt of a prize awarded by an exclusively female jury.9 Prefaced by such introductions, the contributions made by women writers to Eve (and to literary life in Britain) were reframed so as to make them accessible to Eve’s readers. Instruction might have been one important objective of editors when they attractively packaged highbrow content in this manner. But the magazine also participated in the forging of an emerging celebrity culture that insisted on the construction of (women) writers as cultural icons when it commissioned works by or about well-known authors. Jane Garrity has written compellingly about the mutually beneficial promotional activities that launched Bloomsbury modernism in the pages of British Vogue, especially Woolf’s ‘participation in the publication’s commercialization of Bloomsbury’ (2000: 187). Eve, I want to argue, aimed for similarly strategic collaborations with women writers of the 1920s, showcasing their talent while using the names of these emerging (and sometimes well-established) writers to suggest the journal’s sophistication and refinement. However, in contrast to Vogue, which made no gender distinctions when running features on or by modernist artists, Eve’s focus on women’s contributions to interwar literary culture explicitly contributed to a process that Light has termed the ‘redefinition of Englishness’ in the interwar period. These years, Light argues, ‘saw a move away from formerly heroic and officially masculine public rhetorics of national destiny . . . to an Englishness at once less imperial and more inwardlooking, more domestic and more private – and, in terms of pre-war standards, more “feminine”’ (1991: 8). By featuring articles on domestic issues, Eve addressed women as homemakers. And by pairing these features with articles on women’s literary achievements, editors further demonstrated their commitment to assist in creating a communal female culture essential for the regeneration of a nation in recovery from the aggressively ‘masculine’ rhetoric that had dominated the war years: the women authors showcased in Eve might have been exceptional in achieving acclaim as professional writers but their integration in the journal’s pages

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suggested to readers that their achievements were on a continuum with those of ordinary housewives whose work on improving the homes of the nation was by no means to be dismissed as inconsequential. In this fashion – by aligning the accomplishments and triumphs of very different women – Eve presented Britain’s female population as a collective united in efforts to reconstruct the country after the war. Women workers of all professions, the journal proposed, were indispensable in this process. This desire to participate in the creation of a collective female culture, both remedial and reconstructive, explains why Eve’s conservative agenda was not necessarily threatened by the innovations characterising the work of some of the women writers featured in its pages: all contributions made by women to a vigorous cultural tradition emerging in Britain in the interwar years were extremely welcome and worthy of discussion. And as the particular example of Rosamond Lehmann can show, even those careers marked by moments of notoriety and transgression ostensibly contravening the journal’s rhetoric of measured progressiveness were effectively recalibrated to confirm the conservative motion configuring Eve’s mission to celebrate female cultural achievements. Lehmann’s rise to literary stardom was comprehensively covered in the journal. But readers were carefully prepared for the rebelliousness of Dusty Answer, her 1927 succès de scandale novel containing references to extramarital sex and to same-sex desire. In March 1927, a month before the novel was published, Lehmann’s photograph appeared in Eve and she was presented as ‘Mrs Leslie Runciman’. Making no reference to her forthcoming novel, the article further described her as ‘the daughter of Mr. Rudolph Chambers Lehmann’ and the wife of ‘the elder son of that staunch Liberal Mr. Walter Runciman, M. P.’ (2 Mar 1927: 428). Thus introduced by her social credentials, the author and her book are mentioned two months later in a ‘Talking about Books’ column representing Dusty Answer as a novel, which is ‘published under [the author’s] maiden name’ and which ‘is about life at a women’s college’ (4 May 1927: 248). A June issue subsequently elected Lehmann’s novel as the ‘book of the week’ and described it as a ‘remarkable study of modern youth – not in the way youth changes (it doesn’t), but in the way it has to face modern problems unprepared, because they are so different from the problems of a generation or so ago’ (29 June 1927: 741). Lehmann’s status as literary celebrity is then confirmed in August 1927 when Eve printed the author’s caricature under the title ‘Not so “Dusty”’ in another ‘Talking about Books’ column which used her pen name for the first time and added, almost as an afterthought, that in ‘private life Miss Lehmann is Mrs. Walter Runciman’ (17 Aug 1927: 29) (Figure 2.2). In the short time span of only a few months Lehmann’s position as high society spouse was therefore radically overhauled as Eve not only represented but also advanced her career and refashioned her as a female writer of cultural significance. In doing so, it might be argued, the journal condoned or even sanctioned those aspects of the novel that must have struck some contemporary readers as decidedly controversial. But Eve’s editors reached this compromise with the novel’s subversive elements by determinedly presenting Dusty Answer as a text about sorority and modern female identity formation. In this way, Lehmann (and the radical nature of her work) could be absorbed in the journal’s efforts to assist in cultivating a collective female culture that was meant to function as Britain’s vehicle for progress and cultural reconstruction.

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Figure 2.2 Sketch of Rosamond Lehmann. (Source: Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial 17 Aug 1927: 329) Somewhat different is the case of Radclyffe Hall, whose career was also given significant consideration in Eve. As early as 1923, her short piece ‘The Scarecrow’ was published (9 Sep 1923: 366–7) but this author became even more prominent around the time when the Well of Loneliness trial in November 1928 secured this novel a permanent place in English literary history by pronouncing it ‘obscene’. Eve immediately endorsed Hall’s novel, including a brief note about The Well of Loneliness in its book review section only three days after James Douglas, editor of the Sunday Times, denounced the novel on 19 August 1928 as ‘A Book that Must be Suppressed’. Eve’s supportive column conversely argued that Hall’s novel is ‘an intensely poignant and tragic study of a woman who is . . . well, who is not as normal women are’. Although refraining from speaking candidly about matters addressed in The Well of Loneliness, the correspondent proposed that ‘there is absolutely nothing in it to offend anyone; except, peradventure, those whom I will call the human ostriches – the man or woman who is ready and willing to condemn everything they do not understand and to bury their head in the sands the moment something disturbing and strange admits of no denial’ (22 Aug 1928: 363). Indirectly acknowledging the radical nature of Hall’s subject matter, Eve therefore positioned itself on the side of such liberal intellectuals as Havelock Ellis, who had endorsed the novel’s frankness in dealing with ‘one

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particular aspect of sexual life as it exists among us to-day’ (no page). When Eve featured a sketch of Hall in the following issue and reminded readers that the author ‘is a distinctive figure in the literary world’ who has been ‘awarded the “Femina” prize’ (29 Aug 1928: 407), it once again presented itself as the promoter of this controversial work. From cautious defence Eve’s editors rapidly moved to open endorsement of Hall’s novel, clearly noticing that its status as one of the most divisive products on the late 1920s literary marketplace needed to be discussed. But if Radclyffe Hall’s case reads like an exceptionally uplifting story about Eve’s willingness to endorse this landmark text in the history of sapphic modernism, this observation must be qualified immediately since Eve was in many cases exceptionally selective in its endorsement of modernist voices. Overall, editors clearly showed preference for work that affirmed the magazine’s domestic accents. The example of Bryher confirms Eve’s partiality for speaking about and for this type of modernist work: in July 1925, its book review section praised A Picture Geography for Little Children (1925) as the ‘ideal book of geography for little children’ because it is ‘making young pupils understand and appreciate geography as any parent or teacher could wish to discover’ (1 July 1925: 772). By the time Bryher published this geography primer, she was already known in literary circles as the author of Development (1920) and Two Selves (1923), two romans-à-clef about the personal, sexual, and artistic development of a young lesbian woman. Although Two Selves did not attract much critical attention, Development was ‘reviewed very widely for a first novel, prompting responses in both newspapers and literary periodicals’ (Winning 2000: xvii). Eve’s correspondent, however, only refers to ‘a delightful book of travel in America’ to introduce the writer of this valuable educational tool (1 July 1925: 772). It seems, therefore, as if Bryher and her unconventional life (and life writing) had to be carefully customised. Had Eve mentioned her novels and their discussion of non-normative (sexual) desires, the journal’s domestic outlook would have been compromised. In light of Eve’s traditional outlook, the willingness to discuss Hall’s The Well of Loneliness is therefore remarkable. It is certainly true that this writer’s profile stands out among the many others sketched in the journal’s pages. But it is worth remembering that the inclusion of features on this book and author occurred at a moment in the journal’s history when the sensational aspect of the novel’s reception could mean an increase in sales figures. As Karen Leick proposes, the ‘idea that books were news and thus a natural subject for newspapers to discuss was common in the first decades of the twentieth century’ (2008: 130) and Eve was no exception. In fact, the magazine’s outspoken advocacy of The Well of Loneliness in the year before it merged with Britannia might well have been an attempt to boost sales figures when the journal struggled for continuing existence.10 At a time when the obscenity trial surrounding Hall’s novel was capturing the attention of the nation, Eve’s main concern might not have been the dissemination of modernist work. Rather, editors might have felt that this sensationalist event, which had become one of this year’s most significant current affairs in the arts, had to be addressed in Eve’s book review section if the journal hoped to survive.11 Nonetheless, the fact that modernist texts and discourses circulated in Eve should remain important to scholars of modernism and to those studying interwar periodical culture. Although Eve’s editors might have been cautious when reviewing, discussing,

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and occasionally recommending modernist work in features printed alongside its domestically focused columns, the appearance of modernist materials unsettles the straightforward classification of Eve as an interwar ‘service’ magazine devoted exclusively to domestic matters. Rather, its aim to inform, educate, and divert readers by printing features on or by modernist women writers evidences an aspirational agenda conventionally attributed by today’s critics to the ‘smart’ magazines of the same period. Eve’s composition as a journal incorporating divergent voices and heterogeneous contents therefore challenges aspects of the critical language used in periodical studies. What a reading of Eve can demonstrate, in other words, is that such critical designations as ‘service’ or ‘smart’ magazine, albeit helpful, are insufficient in addressing the diversity of materials incorporated in this particular 1920s woman’s magazine. By the same token, the study of modernist content in Eve can show us that some of the experimental articulations of the avant-garde were firmly linked to everyday concerns in the interwar cultural imaginary. From the point of view of Eve’s readers, it can be surmised, the perusal of work by modernist women writers obtained as much significance as the study of articles on household management and the examination of society photographs. In this manner Eve’s appearance as a democratically organised textual space giving expression to both traditional and progressive viewpoints, encourages the critical suggestion of a culturally embedded modernism that was, in some cases at least, far from exclusive and elitist. Without introducing or reproducing notions about cultural hierarchies, Eve’s editors put modernism on a par with fashion columns. This decision evidences trust in the reader to appreciate the latest developments in the arts. Ultimately, however, it suggests the attempt to turn modernism into a topic with news value for the interwar periodical market aimed at women. In the pages of Eve, modernism, that is, becomes one of many aspects important in a modern woman’s everyday life. In 1919, Eve’s editors had announced that the periodical hoped to be a ‘journal of the period’ (Sep 1919: front cover). Articles on momentous cultural events of the 1920s were included among its many household columns, while the journal also continued to transform itself by updating its content pages and by absorbing other periodicals and their readership. Eve, it must be said, remained a journal of only one period, and content with modernist tenor all but disappeared when Eve became Britannia’s appendage in 1929. But this one period was documented for female readers who were as committed to their domestic responsibilities as they were interested in literary and artistic work that hoped to challenge some of those conventions that had such a strong hold over their lives. What emerges from the above analysis is the image of a journal that represented the tensions and strains as well as the opportunities determining the lives of those women who wanted to embody the image of modern British femininity in the interwar period. And for readers today, Eve is an indispensable historical source: it is from its pages that we can reconstruct many of the narratives that informed, challenged, but also reinscribed the cultural atmosphere dominating the interwar years in Britain – not only in relation to contemporary constructions of modern womanhood but also in relation to avant-garde art as everyday concern in the 1920s. The author would like to thank Catherine Clay and Fiona Hackney for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter.

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Notes 1. Interestingly, the archive includes two first issues of Eve: A Magazine for Women. The first was published in September 1919, the second in November 1919 and there is no issue for October 1919. It has not been possible to ascertain why there are these two first issues. However, as an editorial in the December 1919 issue announced, in March 1920 Eve became a weekly rather than a monthly magazine (contents page). It is possible, therefore, that editors were testing the market in the autumn of 1919 to determine if a new women’s weekly would be sustainable. 2. Both the Gentlewoman (1890–1926) and the Lady’s Pictorial (1881–1921) were highquality women’s magazines printed on glossy, expensive paper. They contained a wealth of illustrations and were founded in the late nineteenth century to reach, as Margaret Beetham explains, ‘the Upper Ten Thousand’ (1995: 148). Eve’s range widened significantly after the incorporation of these two publications. When the Lady’s Pictorial was absorbed, for instance, new features such as a column on hotel recommendations entitled ‘Where to Stay’ now joined the original ‘Eve in PARadIS’ and ‘Eve and her Car’ features. It clearly seems, therefore, as if its editors hoped to market Eve as a modern reincarnation of these two long-established, high-quality journals. As they noted in 1921, for instance, the merger of Eve and the Lady’s Pictorial resulted in the ‘concentration of the best hitherto existing in the world of women’s journals’ (24 Feb 1924: iii). The story of Eve in the 1920s, in other words, reads like one of consistent expansion and indicates commercial success – until the merger with Britannia occurred in 1929. 3. The title of Warner’s later collection is Kingdoms of Elfin (1977). See Plock 2015 for more information on this recently rediscovered piece by Sylvia Townsend Warner. 4. ‘Service magazines’ are those interwar publications whose principal objective was ‘to render the woman reader “intimate personal service”’ and which used the ‘concept of “reader identification”’ as ‘the standard recipe’ for increasing their circulation (White 1970: 96). 5. Rosamond Lehmann’s first name is misspelled ‘Rosamund’ in one feature, Radclyffe Hall’s ‘Femina Prize’ novel is retitled ‘Adam’s Bread’, Sylvia Townsend Warner, we are told, wrote a novel called ‘Solly Willowes’, and Virginia Woolf is, apparently, the author of ‘The Lighthouse’ (4 May 1927: 248; 29 Aug 1928: 407; 18 Aug 1926: 331; 23 May 1928: 429). 6. See, for example, an article that identifies Paris as the home of the ‘cosmopolitan society’ while it also deems ‘French clothes’ as ‘clothes for the world’ (25 Jan 1928: 157). 7. Storm Jameson, ‘A Pretty Point’; Elizabeth Bowen, ‘The Pink Biscuit’ (22 Nov 1928: 8–9, 72; 34–5, 76, 78, 80). 8. The essay is included as ‘Waxworks in the Abbey’ in Woolf 1994: 540–2. 9. The Prix Femina Vie Heureuse-Bookman Prize ‘was founded in 1904 . . . as an alternative to the Académie Goncourt, all of whose judges were men’. It ‘was awarded in both France and England’ and the ‘purpose was to reward a work that informed one culture about the other’ (Southworth 2002–3: 97). 10. Hall and her publisher Jonathan Cape ‘profited hugely from The Well of Loneliness’, which had become an international bestseller by 1929 partially because of the publicity lavished on the book by its supporters and opponents (Potter 2013: 132). The novel’s controversy therefore provided significant income for those associated with its publication. 11. The suggestion that Eve’s editors tried to increase the journal’s circulation by capitalising on the novel’s cultural clout is confirmed by a September 1928 review making the controversy about the book the main issue. Here, the article simply referred to Hall as the ‘author of the banned novel, “The Well of Loneliness”’ (12 Sep 1928: 499).

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Works Cited Ardis, Ann. 2007. ‘The Dialogics of Modernim(s) in the New Age.’ Modernism/Modernity 14.3: 407–34. Beddoe, Deirdre. 1989. Back to Home and Duty: Women between the Wars, 1918–1939. London: Pandora. Beetham, Margaret. 1995. A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800–1914. London: Routledge. Doan, Laura. 2001. Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. Ellis, Havelock. 1928. ‘Commentary.’ Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness. Paris: The Pegasus Press. No page. Garrity, Jane. 2000. ‘Virginia Woolf, Intellectual Harlotry, and 1920s Vogue.’ Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Ed. Pamela L. Caughie. New York: Garland. 185–218. Hackney, Fiona. 2008. ‘“Women are News”: British Women’s Magazines 1919–1939.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 114–32. Hamilton, Sharon. 2012. ‘“Intellectual in its Looser Sense”: Reading Mencken’s Smart Set.’ Middlebrow Literary Culture: The Battle of the Brows, 1920–1960. Ed. Erica Brown and Mary Grover. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 130–47. Leick, Karen. 2008. ‘Popular Modernism: Little Magazines and the American Daily Press.’ PMLA 123.1: 125–39. Light, Alison.1991. Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism between the Wars. London: Routledge. Potter, Rachel. 2013. Obscene Modernism: Literary Censorship and Experiment 1900–1940. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Plock, Vike Martina. 2015. ‘A Note on Sylvia Townsend Warner’s “The Kingdom of Elfin”.’ The Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society. 2015: 1–8. Scott, Bonnie Kime. 1996. Refiguring Modernism, Volume 1: Women of 1928. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Southworth, Helen. 2002–3. ‘Correspondence in Two Cultures: The Social Ties Linking Colette and Virginia Woolf.’ Journal of Modern Literature 26.2: 81–99. Tracy, Daniel. 2010. ‘Investing in Modernism: Smart Magazines, Parody, and Middlebrow Professional Judgment.’ Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 1.1: 38–63. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines, 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph Ltd. Winning, Joanne. 2000. ‘Introduction.’ Bryher, Two Novels: Development and Two Selves. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. v–xli. Woolf, Virginia. 1994. The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume 4: 1925–1928. Ed. Andrew McNeillie. Orlando: Harcourt.

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3 Sketching Out America’s Jazz Age in British VOGUE Natalie Kalich

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rom 1922 to 1926, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Dorothy Todd collaborated with romantic partner and editor Madge Garland to create a fashion magazine that published members of Bloomsbury alongside features on American jazz culture. Until recently, scholars such as Aurelea Mahood, Nicola Luckhurst, and Jane Garrity have focused on British Vogue’s tumultuous relationship with Bloomsbury, particularly Virginia Woolf.1 While scholarship on Bloomsbury in Vogue expands our understanding of modernism in commercial cultures and modernism as a network of producers and promoters, Todd and Garland were also invested in American popular culture, as evidenced by several articles and pictorials by Anne Harriet Fish and Miguel Covarrubias on Jazz Age icons such as the flapper and the New Negro. The publication of these features alongside editorials by Aldous Huxley and advertisements for pantyhose demonstrates Todd and Garland’s cultural inclusivity, a rarity for commercial fashion magazines.2 Fish and Covarrubias humourously depicted various ‘types’ of women and African Americans, educating Vogue readers on Jazz Age figures, but the caricatured style of these cartoons raises questions regarding the Modern Woman and New Negro’s status: were they symbols of progressive modern life, or were they objects of ridicule? This chapter investigates how Vogue visually constructed American popular culture for a British, white female readership, fostering the Jazz Age’s transatlantic network. Publisher Condé Nast created British Vogue in 1916, after the First World War prevented consistent exportation of American Vogue into Europe. In 1922, Nast hired Dorothy Todd as the editor-in-chief for British Vogue, a rather progressive act in a time when women magazine editors were still rare.3 While American and British Vogue were similar in their emphasis on haute couture fashion and luxury consumerism, Todd and Garland were committed to publishing the avant-garde work of Bloomsbury and pursuing the growing influence of American popular culture in Europe. According to Alice Wood, ‘[t]hrough such inclusion of and commentary on modernist writers, 1920s Vogue fuelled its readers’ interest in highbrow and experimental literature’ (2016: 45). Moreover, as Garrity observes, British Vogue ‘helps us to see how modernism was popularly read and legitimated’ (2000: 190). Both modernism and the rise of popular culture were largely ignored by American Vogue, which was much more conservative in its emphasis on propriety and depictions of life among the wealthy. Scholarship on the central role played by ‘little magazines’ in ‘the making of a “modernist” cultural aesthetic and the institution of modernism’ (Brooker and

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Thacker 2009: 11) has recently expanded to consider the ways in which mass-market periodicals participated in the circulation of modernist texts and discourses. As Sean Latham and Robert Scholes observe, ‘high literature, art, and advertising have mingled in periodicals from their earliest years, and major authors have been published in magazines both little and big’ (2006: 519). Furthermore, in Marketing Modernism, Catherine Turner describes modernism as an ‘integrative mode’, that is, ‘both as a style and a cultural formation’ made up of artists, editors, publishers, promoters, and audiences large and small. Understanding modernism in this way positions it ‘within the past and within the larger structures of modernity, especially consumer culture’ (2003: 6–7).4 Uncovering modernist texts in commercial contexts and investigating larger-circulating magazines reaffirms that modernism was an extensive social network. As Michael Levenson argues, ‘[m]odernism needs to be understood not as an elite craft refined in secret but as a complex exchange between artists and audiences’ (2011: 3). Magazines like British Vogue further our understanding of this complex exchange not only between people, but also between different cultural spheres and media forms – textual and visual. Investigating the Modern Woman and the New Negro in Todd’s magazine, which also published the work of Bloomsbury figures (often regarded as synonymous with ‘high modernism’), reveals how mainstream culture created parallels between the avant-garde and developments in popular culture. Cultural shifts, from high to popular and from America to England, are recorded in the pages of British Vogue along with changes in hemlines and hat making. Indeed, throughout Todd’s tenure, change is an underlying theme in many articles, coupled with speculation on the positive and negative consequences of such swift transitions. Nast biographer Caroline Seebohm attributes the preoccupation with change to postFirst World War conditions, remarking: The Great War, as well as changing forever America’s cultural isolationism from Europe, also transformed Europeans’ opinions of America. By 1918, drained of material from its own fatigued shores, British Vogue turned enthusiastically to things American – American cars, American parties, American mansions, American money. (1982: 124) However, Vogue’s content also includes more reactionary responses to American culture, as in the following article entitled ‘The Wind from America’: The telephone has intruded on the old privacy, the gramophone has replaced the grandfather clock and spurts out its negro melody, destroying many a family ghost. . . . Devonshire House jazzes to its death, and the skyscraper reigns in its stead. The cocktail, banished from its own land, has here ousted the port and sherry of the 18th and 19th centuries. (June 1923: 35) Genevieve Abravanel’s investigation of the Americanisation of Britain’s culture considers England’s fear of international cultural homogenisation through jazz: ‘Part of the trouble with jazz, for those who watched with horror as its popularity spread, was that jazz could modernize England out of itself, rendering its pastimes identical to those enjoyed in America as well as France, Italy, and even Germany.’ However, ‘[i]n Britain,

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varying reactions to jazz reflected the broader history of Americanization, developing into a conflicted love-hate relationship with American jazz’ (2012: 3). Contrary to Seebohm’s claim, it is more precise to say that British Vogue articulated England’s ambivalence toward American culture. America’s major export during this time was jazz, which came to represent, for good and ill, the 1920s syncopated pace. Court Carney describes how the similarities between jazz and Harlem Renaissance writing deepened both their connection and popularity: ‘As radio produced a larger national audience for a new music, and the writers of the Harlem Renaissance crafted a new language of modernity, jazz came to define a decade, a generation, and a nation’ (2009: 87). In 1921, Bloomsbury art critic (and occasional Vogue contributor) Clive Bell had erroneously rung the death knell for jazz, declaring, ‘Jazz is dead – or dying, at any rate – and the moment has come for someone who likes to fancy himself wider awake than his fellows to write its obituary notice’ (Bell 1922: 214). By mid-decade, however, the intelligentsia had come around. In an interview with George Gershwin for Vanity Fair that was also published in British Vogue, the author, named only as a ‘Highbrow’, dismisses Bell’s presumptuous claims: ‘Mr. Clive Bell tried, a year or two back, to stem the tide [of jazz]. In vain: our books, our clothes, our life, as well as our music, grow each year more definitely syncopated’ (Mar 1925: 47). Instead of dying off, jazz’s significance has moved beyond music to infiltrate all aspects of life and culture. Gershwin acknowledges how jazz has elevated the status of American popular culture: ‘For years, popular music has been despised in America: at last they see it has character. And it took Europe to tell America that. It was in Paris that musicians and writers first gave serious attention to jazz’ (47). The cultural jazz pendulum has swung; ironically, European high culture is responsible for America recognising jazz’s value because the latter had dismissed its revolutionary contributions to the music world. British Vogue capitalised on the European acknowledgment of jazz’s worth by publishing articles on jazz music and its cultural representatives, namely the Modern Woman and the New Negro. Fish’s and Covarubbias’s pictorials in British Vogue were originally, sometimes simultaneously, published in the American fashion magazine Vanity Fair, which was also published by Nast. Fish became famous for her satirical depictions of the flapper, which, unlike John Held’s iconic flappers published on the covers of America’s Life magazine, poked more fun at the flappers’ male escorts than at the flapper herself. Meanwhile, Covarrubias’s illustrations of the New Negro and other Jazz Age ‘types’, are more problematic. Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance were originally created and developed by African American artists, yet Vogue often published work on these subjects by non-African Americans, reaffirming many black artists’ fears that their creative efforts were being appropriated by the dominant race – both in terms of production and reception. Meanwhile, scholars like Anne E. Carroll have analysed the internal debates Harlem Renaissance writers like Alain Locke and W. E. B. DuBois engaged in over representation of African Americans in periodicals such as the Crisis and Opportunity, which were created for and by African Americans. Many Harlem Renaissance writers believed, ‘[f]or the highest quality work to be produced . . . the freedom of the artist needed to be protected – even if that meant he or she did not produce “positive” images of African Americans’ (Carroll 2007: 102). The problem

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of representation existed within and across races, making Covarrubias an interesting case study as a Mexican immigrant who befriended many Harlem Renaissance artists and contributed illustrations to their texts while also working for magazines created for and run by whites. Additionally, while Fish’s humour would have been obvious to Vogue readers, Covarrubias’s caricatures may not have been read as exaggerations due to many British readers’ distance from geographical Harlem. Moreover, the European response to African Americans tended to exoticise and primitivise their bodies and their culture. While America considered Josephine Baker too risqué, she quickly became popular in Paris, most notoriously for wearing a skirt made of bananas and nothing else. Scholars like Anne Anling Cheng have pinpointed how Baker functions to expand our understanding of modernism and primitivism, which informs my approach to these subjects. The ocularcentrism surrounding Baker creates an ‘intimacy between Modernism and Primitivism . . . teach[ing] us to see’. Cheng further argues, ‘techniques of seeing were so rapidly changing, for not only do new visual technologies affect how we see racial difference, but . . . racial difference itself influences how these technologies are conceived, practiced, and perceived’ (2011: 6). Magazines like Vogue provided these technologies of vision, reinforcing that relationship through work by artists like Covarrubias. Constructions of African Americans as a modern, yet exotic spectacle are reflected in his New Negro caricatures, which perpetuated the racist image of the ‘savage Negro’, even if this image was ‘celebrated’ in the 1920s rather than denigrated as in decades past. Analysing the pictorials by Fish and Covarrubias exposes the complexities of depicting the Jazz Age phenomenon – especially to an international audience. These works may just be cartoons, but they also signify the era’s use of comedy and visual humour as a means of coping with deeper anxieties regarding women’s increasing independence and the emergence of African American culture as part of mainstream American culture.

Anne Harriet Fish: An Artist without Whom the Modern Woman is Incomplete Fish’s humorous cartoons depict the Modern Woman as playful, constantly in motion, and either oblivious or apathetic to the frustrations of her male counterparts. Perhaps the most recognisable Modern Woman type is the flapper, and her visual ubiquity was due, in no small part, to the talent of Fish’s illustrations. These pictorials are a visual representation of Pamela Caughie’s description of the Jazz Age as the moment when people became conscious of cultural identity production: The increased mobility and new permeable borders of the early-twentieth century – made possible by new sound and visual technologies as much as by new modes of transportation – made people aware . . . of the production of cultural identity, the way identity is mediated through various cultural forms. (2005: 403) Fish’s work certainly emphasised the Modern Woman’s mobility in the public sphere, but it could also be argued that the cartoonish manner in which Fish drew flappers and also vamps undermined their construction of an emboldened cultural identity.

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Yet Fish’s style differs from the mocking tone of John Held’s flappers, because Fish’s characters are balanced out by a sense of fun. Held’s flappers appeared on the covers of Life magazine throughout the 1920s and became iconic. However, as Carolyn Kitch points out, ‘In Held’s cover work for Life . . . the flapper was certainly a form of political backlash, a way of making fun of assertive women by showing them as immature and vapid’ (2001:132). Parodying the Modern Woman contained her threat to the status quo: those pencil-thin limbs were too weak to stand up to the patriarchy or seriously threaten the intellectual aristocracy also featured in Vogue. While Held made the flapper appear ridiculous, Fish’s illustrations make everyone else around the Modern Woman appear foolish. Rather than depicting a flapper with legs akimbo, dancing with a much older, but very wealthy, gentleman – as depicted in one of Held’s most famous Life covers – Fish draws an athletic woman thwacking a tennis ball at her (age-appropriate) male opponent. For Fish, modern women can beat men at their own game as they reconstruct their cultural identities and a new femininity. Fish takes on the most famous Modern Woman type in the Early March 1926 issue, in a pictorial entitled ‘A Complete Set of Flappers: Types Without Which No Party Is Complete’ (Figure 3.1). In this pictorial, Fish draws on the public’s simultaneous fascination with and vilification of the flapper that Liz Conor describes: More than any other type of the Modern Woman, it was the Flapper who embodied the scandal which attached to women’s new public visibility, from their increasing street presence to their mechanical reproduction as spectacles. . . . Like other modern feminine types, the Flapper complicated the picture of the Modern Woman – and the status of the woman-object – by associating agency with her visibility. (2004: 209) Fish’s illustrations feature much more prominently than the text, emphasising the ocularcentrism that surrounded the Modern Woman. As Conor argues, ‘women’s bodies became a place of action in modern visual culture’ through ‘techniques of appearing – the manner and means of execution of one’s visual effects and status’ (2). The Modern Woman was often interpreted as either a mark of social progress or a harbinger of cultural deterioration. For Fish, the Modern Woman behaved like a trickster figure, intent on securing a man’s money as well as his mortification. Like Covarrubias, Fish also risked playing into negative stereotypes by depicting the Modern Woman as seemingly free while remaining dependent on men’s money. However, the ambition, confidence, and mischievousness of the Modern Woman present a more complicated image than stereotypes allow. The captions underneath the cartoons educate Vogue readers on both flapper types and the contributions flappers make to various social events. For example, an illustration of ‘The Cut Up’ is accompanied by a caption reading: [O]ne of those little devils who start out to be the Life of the Party and is almost the death of it. After the fourth Bronx, she breaks into a Charleston, which lasts, with intermissions for refreshments, until she is laid on her side in a dark room, usually in her hostess’s bedroom. She has a dreadful time trying to explain it all to The Man Who Thinks Her Sacred. (Mar 1926: 44)

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Figure 3.1 Anne Harriet Fish, ‘A Complete Set of Flappers’. Anne Harriet Fish / Vogue © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd. (Source: British Vogue Early March 1926)

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Meanwhile, ‘The Tennis Fiend’ shows how energetic the flapper can be in the daytime: She leaps, she breathes, she hath her being – and he who would win her must return stroke for stroke, chop for chop, and twist for twist. The double-edged flaming sword of the angel who protects maidens is a charred poker when compared with the mean tennis racquet of this lady. (44) Fish depicts these women in comedic fashion – the Tennis Fiend seems to intentionally smack the ball into her suitor’s face, the Cut Up’s legs are positioned in impossible angles as she dons a top hat, followed by an ‘After’ sketch of her explaining to her gentleman suitor how it is that she happened to fall asleep on the hostess’s bed. While these are not necessarily positive depictions of women, the absolute disregard each type pays to her accompanying male is empowering – the Tennis Fiend knows how to hit the ball better than her male opponent, and despite the Cut Up’s bad behaviour, she is still considered sacred. Additionally, the illustrations are funny because the women are utterly oblivious to the havoc they wreak upon the men. These women are mobile and, while not independent of men’s wallets, are certainly independent of men’s judgements. The Modern Woman’s cultural identity was significantly shaped by the illustrators of this era, but Fish’s pictorials reveal her identity to be more playfully dynamic than Held’s more farcical flappers. Another Modern Woman type famously portrayed by Fish appears in the combined Early & Late June 1926 issue: ‘Those Killing Charms or Why Do Men Marry Murderesses?’ This page investigates the vamp, otherwise known as the femme fatale, who represents the darker side to the Modern Woman. In his distinction between ‘flapper’ and ‘femme fatale’, Joshua Zeitz explains: The ‘vamp,’ commonly associated with the actress Theda Bara, was an exotic, sexually charged creature who left behind a trail of ruined lives and craven men. . . . In a world where female sexuality was increasingly discussed – but still feared and misapprehended – the vamp was a tantalizing yet sufficiently dark and distant figure for public consumption. (2006: 231) As ‘A Complete Set of Flappers’ shows, the flapper was flirtatious but ultimately nonthreatening in her sexuality. In contrast, ‘Those Killing Charms’, introduces readers to Aholibah (her name immediately indicating exoticism and danger), who has gone through four husbands and is currently on number five. The pictorial depicts the various ways Aholibah disposed of her previous husbands and how she escapes imprisonment because of ‘high-souled motives’ ranging from the uncovering of repressed childhood memories at inconvenient moments to ideals she holds on the subject of love (June 1926: 62). What begins as an interrogation into the femme fatale turns into a satire on psychoanalysis. One sketch shows Aholibah shoving her third husband’s head underwater, the caption explaining, ‘severe mental strain had given a nasty jolt to Aholibah’s subconscious’. As a result, her honeymoon ‘was quite spoilt for her by the obsession that once in infancy she had been compelled to swallow some Tapioca’ (62). Aholibah is acquitted of all charges by a jury that understands the trauma caused by a repressed

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subconscious. As with the previous Fish pictorial, it is not the woman who is mocked, but the modern craze of psychoanalysis. As Michael North explains, in the 1920s, ‘the enthusiasm for things psychological was so extreme, both in the United States and in Great Britain, that it might quite reasonably have seemed a psychological symptom itself’ (1999: 66). The vamp exploits this societal self-consciousness to avoid capital – or, indeed, any – punishment. The public’s familiarity with psychoanalysis was, in some part, due to this new science’s difficult conceptual terminology. According to North, psychology became popular by virtue of its ‘supposed inaccessibility’, which made it ‘almost ubiquitous’ (1999: 65). Psychology, like modernism, became a cultural phenomenon in part because of the challenge involved in comprehending various psychoanalytic terms. Nonetheless, while Freud’s texts and theories may have been too technical for the layman, Fish’s pictorial boils down complex concepts into language any Vogue reader can understand. As Daniel Tracy claims, ‘magazines promised national audiences . . . that they too could read the best literature . . . and writers started making money by summing up everything you needed to know, to be in the know, about history and art’ (2010: 40). Fish provides a similar (yet visual) service in using the vamp to teach and mock the popularity of psychology. Furthermore, Fish’s sketch demonstrates that it was more important to understand that psychology was fashionable than to understand the science itself. Aholibah also suggests that by 1926 women had already learned how to manipulate this new science and the public’s superficial comprehension of it to their own advantage, not unlike the flapper’s ability to manipulate a party. Ultimately, Fish participates in the heightened visual quality of the Modern Woman, producing a cultural identity that was mobile, modern, and amusing.

Miguel Covarrubias: Harlem Renaissance Promoter or Exploiter? While Fish was playful in her pictorials, Covarrubias’s illustrations demonstrate the problematic manner in which whites were engaging with black popular culture. When Covarrubias came to New York from Mexico, he quickly befriended Carl Van Vechten, who introduced him to Harlem Renaissance writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Covarrubias quickly became part of the Harlem Renaissance network, working with writers and producers to create and promote this unique aesthetic. As Cherene Sherrard-Johnson relates: Understanding the Harlem Renaissance as a multidisciplinary era of collaboration is crucial. Artists from a variety of national and ethnic backgrounds, such as Aaron Douglas, Winold Reiss, and Miguel Covarrubias, worked with writers to create and/or illustrate period-defining texts. . . . Identifying points of intersections between visual and literary culture brings to light the interracial and internationalist aspects that propelled a presumably local phenomenon – the Harlem Renaissance – into a diasporic movement. (2010: 228) British Vogue is one example of how the Harlem Renaissance became a diasporic movement, as readers encountered articles and Covarrubias pictorials on this aesthetic phenomenon thanks to Todd and Garland. Investigating Covarrubias’s pictorials in

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Vogue also furthers the work of critics like Carroll, who connect representation to public opinion: [T]he resulting combinations of expository and creative texts suggest the degree to which participants in the Harlem Renaissance saw the arts as working with other kinds of texts to redefine African American identity and to undermine racism. . . . If we are true to that vision when we study The Crisis and Opportunity, we will be better able to assess the ability of the magazines to use texts to influence public opinion about African Americans. (2007: 90) However, British Vogue’s opinion of the Harlem Renaissance remains questionable when analysing Covarrubias in a white commercial magazine. Regardless of his Harlem Renaissance connections, his cartoonish style combined with British Vogue’s bibliographic code impacts, and perhaps limits, white readers’ understanding of this historic moment.5 In the Late February 1925 issue, a pictorial entitled ‘The Negro de Nos Jours’ depicts cartoonish African Americans in various states of exaggerated movement: some are dancing wildly, the women with their skirts swirling high enough to expose their underwear, and the men with prominent white teeth beaming out of otherwise almost featureless black faces, wearing top hats and white gloves. There are three captions surrounding the drawings, telling the ‘history’ of the African in America, and three short poems describing various aspects of jazz culture such as how to ‘Charlestone [sic]’ and do the ‘Scronch’. One caption reads, ‘In the 18th century we made money out of the negroes. In the 20th they make money out of us. We used to send them missionaries; we now send them telegrams’ (53). This caption claims that the economic tables have turned, which has resulted in a shift from exploitation to communication between the races, as well as increasing African American cultural capital. The increase in communication, however, could also lead to misinterpretations of the art originating from black culture. In a 1926 Vogue article entitled, ‘The Truth About Jazz’, the unnamed author explains to readers: And it is the negroes who have revealed what Jazz really is, a return to Nature; not the elegiac Nature of benevolent milkmaids and languishing goatherds which our eighteenth century ancestors believed in, but Nature red in tooth and claw, the Nature of the jungle and the swamp, where spotted lianas strangle the trees and death is the penalty for a moment’s negligence. (Aug: 45) Langston Hughes viewed primitivism as a celebration of African heritage in his 1926 essay ‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain’, declaring jazz ‘one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America; the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul – the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world’ (95). Yet not all Harlem Renaissance writers agreed with Hughes, arguing that primitivism encouraged white culture’s belief that black culture was less advanced. This dilemma lies at the heart of what Carroll highlights in her work: ‘Locke’s emphasis on positive representation was, of course, challenged by those who chafed against the idea of putting African Americans’ collective best foot forward in texts – and the idea that artists, writers, and performers had a duty to do so’ (2013: 438). Primitivism represents a crux in the

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representation conflict – did it represent the roots of African American culture, and thus what made it unique and beautiful, or was it another way for white culture to stereotype black culture as ‘savage’? For his part, Covarrubias insisted that his depictions of African Americans were not parodies: ‘I don’t consider my drawings caricatures. Most of them are studies. They are – well – they are drawings. A caricature is the exaggerated character of an individual drawn with satiric purpose. These drawings are done from a more serious point of view’ (quoted in Nadell, 2004: 103).6 Despite his assertions to the contrary, Covarrubias was known to the public and became famous in the 1920s as a caricaturist. Regardless of intent, his work in British Vogue reveals the African American as easily defined and commodified. A couple of months later, in the April 1925 issue, another Covarrubias pictorial appears, ‘Enter, the New Negro, a Distinctive Type Recently Created by the Jazz Spirit of Their Own Making’ (Figure 3.2). This pictorial demonstrates that the ocularcentrism surrounding the Modern Woman also applied to the New Negro, except that this time the joke seems to be on the pictorial’s main subject. As Marlon B. Ross explains, during the first decades of the twentieth century, ‘the New Negro was the physical manifestation . . . emerging from the more abstract conceptual demand for racial uplift. In other words, uplift was the elusive theory whose practice was embodied in the presence of a New Negro image’ (2010: 151). Observing how Covarrubias’s pictorial emphasises promiscuity and sloth, it is doubtful W. E. B. DuBois would have considered these types as part of the Talented Tenth.7 ‘Enter, the New Negro’ also features captions written by Harlem Renaissance writer Eric Walrond, whose use of a black vernacular dialect contributed a kind of ‘authenticity’ for readers. Walrond has become a less familiar Harlem Renaissance figure to contemporary readers, but his short story collection Tropic Death was a critical and commercial success when it was published in 1926. Furthermore, as James C. Davis relates, ‘[n]ot only was Walrond “considered by everyone to be a top-notch writer,” in the words of Ethel Ray Nance, he was also by many accounts the straw that stirred the drink uptown: charismatic, gregarious, and above all a hustler’ (2010: 73). Walrond’s fame within the Harlem Renaissance derived from his literary talent, networking capabilities, and diverse publishing record: ‘[Walrond] wrote about black writers for black publications . . . about black writers for white publications . . . and perhaps most interesting of all given the racial divisions of the time, about white writers for white publications’ (72). Walrond’s use of black dialect could have been political, a refusal to write in standard (white) English in order to elevate the African American voice. In the context of Vogue, however, which featured aspects of wealthy white culture and which was constructed with white readers in mind, the reception of the pictorial becomes more ambiguous.8 Nevertheless, Walrond’s captions represent one of the few times Vogue published an African American artist’s words, as opposed to a white artist commenting on black art. Here, Walrond proclaims the types represented in this pictorial have eradicated the previously derogatory African American stereotypes, including ‘the Coloured Crooner of Lullabys, the Cotton-Picker, the Mammy-Singer and the Darky Banjo-Players, who have now Happily all Died of Ingrowing Sentimentalism’ (Apr 1925: 62–3). The piece seemingly seeks to describe the individualistic nature of the New Negro, but the extent to which these new individuals simply become new stereotypes remains questionable.

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Figure 3.2 Miguel Covarrubias, ‘Enter, the New Negro’. Vogue © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd. (Source: British Vogue Late April 1925)

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Covarrubias biographer Adriana Williams asserts: ‘Miguel’s contribution to the Harlem Renaissance is justifiably arguable. While he intentionally challenged old stereotypes, he unintentionally begat new ones’ (1994: 48). But ‘unintentionally’ may not be entirely accurate either, as Covarrubias and Walrond’s pictorial self-reflexively portrays the New Negro in cartoonish illustrations and language reminiscent of that used to depict the Cotton-Picker and the Mammy-Singer a generation ago. Other new types depicted in ‘Enter, the New Negro’ include, ‘That Teasin’ Yalla Gal’, who is ‘seen in Paris in a cabaret or a “dancing” between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.’ She is also a ‘lady of mystery. Unescorted. Unescortable. . . . Impossible to tell the exact colour of her skin’ (Apr 1925: 62). The ‘mulatta’ figure was a popular Jazz Age trope and the ambiguity of her race heightens her exoticism and sexuality, which is reinforced by Walrond in labelling her a ‘lady of mystery’ and ‘Teasin’. Her ambiguous race and the various ways in which she was represented lead to multiple, even contradictory, interpretations. While the biracial woman became a signifier for sexual promiscuity, she also represented the breaking down of racial boundaries, as the flapper did with gender boundaries. However, as Cherene Sherrard-Johnson explains, ‘[u]ltimately, the idealization of black women as mulattas, madonnas, teachers, or socialites in Harlem Renaissance literature, visual art, periodicals, and aesthetic discourse established parameters that restricted artistic expression and agency for black women’ (2007: 11). Initially, the flapper and the mulatta symbolised the new permeability of identity boundaries, but through constant repetition they became commodified stereotypes and caricatures. On the other hand, the cartoonish nature of Covarrubias’s drawings, combined with Walrond’s exaggerated captions, indicates a degree of irony. After all, ‘That Teasin’ Gal’ may be unescorted by choice, in an attempt to push back against those who would attempt to limit her. Another illustration in the pictorial also focuses on the sexuality of African American women as it rephrases a Hughes poem and labels a hip-thrusting young woman ‘2 A.M. at ‘The Cat and the Saxophone’ (Apr 1925: 63). In this cartoon, the image of the woman represents the nightclub – she is the main (visual) attraction. While other types are categorised in humanistic terms, she becomes conflated with the jazz club as the caption asks, ‘You wanna be happy? Den watch dis kid!’ (63). Her spectacularisation is further enhanced when the caption repeats, ‘Watch what she’s fixin’ fo’ to do. Dance? She can’t do nothin’ else but! You show ’em sister!’ (63). Covarrubias and Walrond show us that The Cat and the Saxophone is not just a place where one listens to jazz and sips a cocktail, but a place that offers its customers ocular delights as well. While the Cotton-Picker and the Mammy-Singer may have met their demise, the Yalla Gal and the cabaret dancer have risen to take their place. While writers like Walrond and Hurston used dialect to increase the verisimilitude in their stories, publishing these captions alongside Covarrubias’s caricatures could be interpreted as heightening the parody of the New Negro types. Covarrubias’s style was generally satirical, and his multiple pictorials for Vanity Fair show that African American ‘types’ were not the only victims of his caricaturising. Analysing this pictorial’s appearance in Vogue highlights the effects of interpreting a work based on its bibliographic code – if this work had been published in the Crisis, its parodic elements would have been more apparent to the magazine’s predominantly African American readers. Conversely, in the context of a magazine that featured aspects of white, upperclass culture and which was constructed with white British readers in mind, the satire

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of the pictorial becomes more ambiguous. Ultimately, by presenting various ‘distinctive types’, these artists, regardless of intention, contributed to the stereotyping of African Americans, thus making the New Negro less threatening to Vogue’s predominantly white readers. Vogue readers’ understanding of the Harlem Renaissance and jazz culture via Covarrubias and Walrond is made more troublesome when considering how Vogue depicted the origins of jazz. In ‘Enter, the New Negro’, one caption reads, ‘them Broadway stars do come on uptown where [the New Negro] is at, and see him do he stuff, and den go on back downtown and struts his stuff as if they jess got it natchely’ (Apr 1925: 63). Here, Walrond winks at white appropriation of black culture: white performers slum it in Harlem, and then take what they see back to Broadway, dancing as if they came by the moves ‘natchely’. Any resentment felt by this appropriation is left unmentioned, perhaps because Walrond knew what side of the colour line his readers were on. White appropriation of black culture also occurs in Vogue articles that attribute the origins of jazz to white musicians. In ‘The Truth About Jazz’, the unnamed author argues, ‘How far syncopated music derives from the negroes is doubtful. But certainly they are its best interpreters’ (Aug 1926: 45). This demonstrates white culture’s resistance to attributing the origin of such a powerful cultural phenomenon to a marginalised group. Moreover, Gershwin asserts in his interview: The negroes sing it well, and have the inspiration to write it, but not the technique. When they get the technique, they lose the inspiration. . . . sometimes I have got an inspiration from negro spirituals. But it is doubtful if they are negro at all. Paul Whiteman says they are mostly old English tunes. (Mar 1925: 88) For a white bandleader to divert jazz’s roots in New Orleans and Chicago to England is practically laughable, but it also speaks to a larger problem of white culture’s appropriation of jazz. Denying African Americans’ ability to create aesthetic forms and techniques reaffirms primitivism because it rests on the assumption that black culture is not advanced enough to impose form on art. Covarrubias’s drawings and Walrond’s captions contributed to this primitivisation in the pages of Vogue, and only presenting African American culture in this way prevented British readers from fully understanding the breadth and depth of jazz and the Harlem Renaissance. Had Todd published other pictorials by Covarrubias, for example, his comical rendering of international film star Marlene Dietrich, or had she pushed back against the European exoticisation of black bodies by publishing editorials by other Harlem Renaissance thinkers, Covarrubias’s irony and Walrond’s political use of black dialect would have been more obvious. Despite Covarrubias’s (stereo)types in these pictorials, publishing Harlem Renaissance artists in a British women’s fashion magazine demonstrates Todd’s commitment to exposing readers to transatlantic cultural moments. Through Vogue, Todd and Garland contributed to the displacement of the high/popular cultural binary in their unflagging support of Bloomsbury and American popular culture. Rather than creating a niche periodical focused on the latest in haute couture and only affordable to the wealthy, or a mass-market magazine primarily concerned with jazz and celebrity culture, Todd and Garland combined the elite with the popular under the Vogue

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masthead. Analysing the construction of the Modern Woman and the New Negro in a commercial magazine demonstrates how original readers were first introduced to the 1920s Jazz Age aesthetic and broadens our understanding of its function in commercial settings. These diverse collaborations across country, gender, race, as well as cultural and artistic spectrums, reveal a complexity in women’s periodical culture between the wars, one that resists readings that are merely black and white.

Notes 1. According to Nicola Luckhurst, Todd ‘[transformed] Condé Nast’s product – a women’s magazine whose staple elements were high society, the rich and famous, plus high fashion – into a review for the avant-garde. Todd’s aim was to inject Vogue with as much high culture as it would stand’ (1998: 3). 2. My work continues that of scholars like Christopher Reed, who argues: ‘To attempt to return to the 1920s on its own terms is to discover a culture flourishing with many of the transgressive pleasures – of wit, mass culture, self-conscious performativity – that post modernism later claimed for itself in contrast to the ossified modernism of the intervening years’ (2006: 41). For more on interwar fashion magazines, refer to Part II in this volume. 3. As Caroline Seebohm discusses, against the chauvinism of the women’s magazine industry during this era (illustrated by Ladies’ Home Journal editor Edward Bok who, in 1920, declared that full editorial authority of a modern magazine could not ‘safely be entrusted to a woman when one considers how largely executive is the nature of such a position’), Nast ‘consistently and unhesitatingly hired women for most of the important editorial posts’ (1982: 150). 4. Andreas Huyssen’s influential thesis of a ‘great divide’ between ‘high’ and ‘mass’ culture in the modernist period (1986) has been effectively overturned by a large body of scholarship (beginning with Lawrence Rainey’s Institutions of Modernism, 1998) revealing modernist authors engaging productively with commercial culture for financial and promotional purposes. 5. According to Jerome McGann, ‘Bibliographic code can include features of page layout, book design, ink and paper, and typeface as well as broader issues which D. F. McKenzie might call “the sociology of texts,” like publisher, print run, price, or audience’ (quoted in Bornstein, 2001: 7). Everything about the content and format of Vogue constructed the magazine for a white readership and Covarrubias’s pictorials stand out as the only visual representation of non-white subjects. 6. Covarubbias’s insistence on not caricaturising the New Negro despite visual evidence to the contrary was echoed by the African American artists Archibald Motley Jr and Palmer Hayden during the 1930s. Phoebe Wolfskill takes on their works, which tend to exaggerate the noses, eyes, and lips of their black subjects, asserting: ‘Motley described the subversion of harmful stereotypes of African Americans as the central objective of his artistic career. The artist wrote that he sought to remedy the common caricatures of what he termed ‘the ignorant Southern “darky” by painting “honest” images of African Americans’. Ultimately, Wolfskill argues: ‘In embracing the culture that surrounded them, a culture infatuated with ideas about ancestralism, primitivism, and racialism that reinforced stereotypical ideas about black identity, Motley and Hayden adopted artistic vocabularies engaged with new ideas about race and representation as well as long-established constructions of blackness’ (2009: 343). 7. The Talented Tenth represented, according to DuBois, the ‘exceptional men’ who would ‘save’ the ‘Negro race’ because they ‘[show] the capability of Negro blood, the promise of black men’ (1903: 31, 44). This essay began the representation conflict, as DuBois believed

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that the Talented Tenth would save the race through its education and by representing the ‘best collective foot forward’ for white audiences. 8. I have come across no evidence of how these illustrations were received by readers. Nast publications did not feature Letters to the Editor consistently (and Vanity Fair, never).

Works Cited Abravanel, Genevieve. 2012. Americanizing Britain: The Rise of Modernism in the Age of the Entertainment Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bell, Clive. 1922. ‘Plus de Jazz (1921).’ Since Cézanne. New York: Books for Libraries Press. 213–30. Bornstein, George. 2001. Material Modernism: The Politics of the Page. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Brooker, Peter and Andrew Thacker, eds. 2009. The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Vol. I, Britain and Ireland 1880–1955. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Carney, Court. 2009. Cuttin’ Up: How Early Jazz Got America’s Ear. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Carroll, Anne E. 2007. Word, Image, and the New Negro: Representation and Identity in the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. —. 2013. ‘Questionnaire Responses.’ Modernism/Modernity. 20.3: 436–8. Caughie, Pamela. 2005. ‘Passing as Modernism.’ Modernism/Modernity. 12.3: 385–406. Cheng, Anne Anlin. 2011. Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Conor, Liz. 2004. The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Davis, James C. 2010. ‘There Has Been an Inward Change: In Search of Eric Walrond.’ Modernist Star Maps: Celebrity, Modernity, Culture. Ed. Jonathan E. Goldman and Aaron Jaffe. New York: Ashgate. 71–80. DuBois, W. E. B. 1903. ‘The Talented Tenth.’ The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of Today. Ed. Booker T. Washington. New York: James Pott & Co. 31–76. Garrity, Jane. 2000. ‘Virginia Woolf, Intellectual Harlotry, and 1920s British Vogue.’ Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Ed. Pamela L. Caughie. New York: Routledge. 185–218. Hughes, Langston. 1926. ‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain (1926).’ The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader. Ed. David Levering Lewis. New York: Penguin Books, 1995. 106–8. Huyssen, Andreas. 1986. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Kitch, Carolyn. 2001. The Girl on the Magazine Cover: The Origins of Visual Stereotypes in American Mass Media. London: University of North Carolina Press. Latham, Sean and Robert Scholes. 2006. ‘The Rise of Periodical Studies.’ PMLA. 121.2: 517–31. Levenson, Michael. 2011. Modernism. New Haven: Yale University Press. Luckhurst, Nicola. 1998. Bloomsbury in Vogue. London: Cecil Woolf. Mahood, Aurelia. 2002. ‘Fashioning Readers: The Avant-Garde and British Vogue, 1920–1929.’ Women: A Cultural Review. 13. 1: 37–47. Nadell, Martha Jane. 2004. Enter the New Negroes: Images of Race in American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. North, Michael. 1999. Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Reed, Christopher. 2006. ‘A Vogue That Dare Not Speak its Name: Sexual Subculture During the Editorship of Dorothy Todd, 1922–26.’ Fashion Theory. 10.1–2: 39–71. Ross, Marlon B. 2010. ‘Racial Uplift and the Literature of the New Negro.’ Companion to African American Literature. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 151–68. Seebohm, Caroline. 1982. The Man Who Was Vogue: The Life and Times of Condé Nast. New York: Viking Press. Sherrard-Johnson, Cherene. 2007. Portraits of the New Negro Woman: Visual and Literary Culture in the Harlem Renaissance. London: Rutgers University Press. —. 2010. ‘Transatlantic Collaborations: Visual Culture in African American Literature.’ Companion to African American Literature. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 227–42. Tracy, Daniel. 2010. ‘Investing in Modernism: Smart Magazines, Parody, and Middlebrow Professional Judgment.’ Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 1.1: 38–63. Turner, Catherine. 2003. Marketing Modernism. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Williams, Adriana. 1994. Covarrubias. Ed. Doris Ober. Austin: University of Texas Press. Wolfskill, Phoebe. 2009. ‘Caricature and the New Negro in the Work of Archibald Motley Jr. and Palmer Hayden.’ The Art Bulletin 91.3: 343–65. Wood, Alice. 2016. ‘Modernism and the Middlebrow in British Women’s Magazines, 1916–1930.’ Middlebrow and Gender, 1890–1945. Ed. Christoph Ehland and Cornelia Wächter. Leiden: Brill Rodopi. 39–59. Zeitz, Joshua. 2006. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women who Made American Modern. New York: Three Rivers Press.

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4 Clemence Dane’s Literary Criticism for GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: Cultivating a ‘Small, Comical, Lovable, Eternal Public’ of Book Lovers Stella Deen

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aunched in March 1922, Good Housekeeping constructed its audience of women readers as social beings with rich inner lives. The ‘first concern of Good Housekeeping’, announced the editors, would be ‘the daily life of women – what concerns them and interests them most profoundly and most intimately, what they talk about, think about, and wish to read about in their favourite magazine’. Good Housekeeping explicitly linked what women ‘wish to read about’ to their leisure, and leisure meant ‘time to think, to read, to enjoy life’ (Braithwaite et al. 1986: 11). But what women read, and how they profited from their leisured reading, were topics of considerable controversy in early twentieth-century and interwar Britain. Women’s novel reading had long been suspected of promoting their self-seclusion, escapism, and self-indulgence in fantasy (Flint 1993: 254; Littau 2006: 38). In the early twentieth century, anxiety about women readers honed in on their lack of selfdiscipline: their indiscriminate consumption of magazines and bestsellers, and their passive absorption of reading matter falling woefully short of the cool application of critical judgment (Littau 2006: 37–40). Clemence Dane’s literary criticism for Good Housekeeping actively resisted these assessments. Beginning in 1923 and extending over a decade, Dane’s monthly book essays connected women’s leisure-time reading to their social and cultural empowerment. Reading would increase women’s cultural literacy and foster the development of their social networks. And by women’s judicious selection of reading matter, they would promote the continued writing and publication of good books. In this sense, Dane’s reader-centred literary criticism gave her audience of ‘real book lovers’ authority over the production of good books (May 1924: 59). Clemence Dane was the pen name for Winifred Ashton (1888–1965), a prolific writer in multiple genres. A versatile novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist, Dane contributed to British literary and cultural life in a career that spanned nearly fifty years, beginning with her bestselling novel, Regiment of Women (1917). Dane’s play A Bill of Divorcement (1921), whose initial run alone totalled more than 400 London performances, established Dane as a talented playwright and active feminist voice. Clemence Dane thus embodied one of the ‘interesting people’ – the title of a 1925 reply to readers’ letters – that her readers strove to become.

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Using a topical approach to her book essays for Good Housekeeping, Dane covered a remarkable range of books. While some articles focus on single authors – examples include Richard Jefferies, Rose Macaulay, and Oliver Onions – most explore a genre, character type, or theme. ‘Lost Ladies’ (Sep 1927), which followed the initial publication of Yeats’s poem ‘The Tower’ in T. S. Eliot’s influential literary review the New Criterion is characteristic. A newly published text inspires a wide-ranging discussion that includes classical as well as contemporary examples of ‘the lady lost’, from Eurydice to Ophelia to Catherine Earnshaw. Dane’s regular essays supported Good Housekeeping’s sustained attention to literary and book culture during the interwar period. Each issue included a generous supply of short stories and serialised fiction, often from well-known names, as well as a regular drama column by St. John Ervine. In addition, occasional special articles, such as Vera Brittain’s memoir ‘The Somerville School of Novelists’ (Apr 1929), afforded readers an exclusive glimpse of the private history of successful authors. Photographic portraits of writer subjects, as well as Good Housekeeping’s editorial previews touting a forthcoming ‘brilliant’ or ‘fascinating’ piece by a ‘famous’ literary figure, cultivated the celebrity status of authors. Within this book culture, Dane’s essays represent a literary and erudite approach to books and reading. The typical Dane essay for Good Housekeeping begins by drawing the reader into a quotidian event: a thought, perception, or conversation Dane has had by which she segues to the subject of the essay. In her inaugural review, ‘The Twelve Best Books for Women’, Dane dramatises the way the assignment, which she first greets with scepticism, works its way around in her consciousness like a puzzle. ‘Which are the twelve best books for women?’ The question challenges her in a way that anticipates Woolf’s persona at the outset of A Room of One’s Own: ‘Why twelve?’ I demand of the moon in the night-watches. ‘Why for women? And what exactly does “best” mean? The most useful? The most interesting? The most – ?’ Oh bother! I get up, shut out the moon with a tug of the curtains, drink a glass of water, and settle down again. This time I will get to sleep . . . (Oct 1923: 19) Dane’s struggle humanises her as a critic and as a reader; it establishes precedent for the reader’s own possible scepticism about book lists, and it insinuates humour into a potentially didactic setting. Thus even as she acknowledges the critic’s usual duty to assign each book its place in a hierarchy of value, Dane prefers to engage her readers in a conversation between book lovers. Dane’s first book essay for Good Housekeeping models a lively free play of the mind that establishes books’ connection to one another. These signature features of the essays, sustained over the next decade of her work, would form the basis of Dane’s contention that book lovers’ reading practices, not professional credentials, authorise their role in the development of English literary traditions. This chapter situates Clemence Dane’s criticism within the context of interwar women’s literary journalism and discusses her programme for the cultural and social empowerment of women readers. First, I present Dane’s reviewing as a case study in women’s interwar literary journalism; her regular column provided the structure for repeated and incremental instruction in literary tradition and guidance of readers’ choices. Countering pessimistic narratives of a hopeless battle against distracted

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reading and the pursuit of cheap thrills, Dane models a holistic pleasure encompassing both sensuous and intellectual experience. Second, I argue that amateur critics such as Dane were not edged out by academic and modernist critics, but often challenged their evaluative standards. On some literary questions, moreover, we find a concurrence between ‘modernist’ and ‘middlebrow’ literary critics. Illuminating the principles and methods of Dane’s literary criticism, I demonstrate that she worked to restore for her readers a literary heritage that provided the basis for appreciation of individual texts, even as the emerging voices in modernist criticism worked to strip the literary object from its historical and biographical contexts. Third, I show that Dane’s model for pleasure in reading figured it as the gateway to cultural, social, and ultimately political benefits for readers. Literary journalists such as Dane thus helped to shape a progressive modernity for women. In ‘Twelve Best Books for Women’, Dane advises women to read Dickens, invoking modern woman’s newly realised power – it is up to ‘that creature of power, the modern woman, to restore him to her bookshelf’ – and enlisting her pride in the service of cultural restoration: ‘lest, in losing him, we lose touch with that special creation of the English genius, the Victorian age’ (Oct 1923: 106). Dane’s monthly discussions of new books set them within literary traditions whose vitality endured beyond the spiritual fatigue that Dane thought hampered creativity in the postwar years. In designating the woman reader as a ‘creature of power’ with responsibility for cultural preservation, Dane intervened in heated debate about women readers and the ‘levelling down’ of cultural standards. As Patrick Collier documents, the assumption that newspapers would prepare the newly literate masses for participatory democracy gave way in this period to a growing conviction that commercial motives drove the content of newspapers and magazines, shaped readers’ responses, and manipulated their taste. Critics repeatedly drew a connection between drifting and indiscriminately consuming modern women and the vulgarisation of newspaper content. The ‘increased mobility, visibility and discursive power of women’ made for a facile link between women and the features of the mass-market press: its sensationalised stories and articles, its advertisements evoking female desire, and even its ‘collage-like’ format, ‘which juxtaposed non-related stories and advertisements, [and] could signify the troubling migration of things female from their proper places’ (2006: 25). Could newspapers and magazines still take up the task of educating readers, or had they debased their mission by manufacturing and insidiously reflecting readers’ desires? If this question stood behind the perceived ‘crisis in journalism’ (Collier 2006), as a woman journalist writing for a woman’s magazine Dane needed to address a gendered form of this question: Could the female literary critic cultivate discriminating and critical female readers? Dane’s response was to articulate literary critical principles that addressed concerns about female and mass readerships: she shifted responsibility to readers to demand from writers what they wanted; she urged readers to adopt effortful reading practices; and she modelled the pleasure and the confidence that awaited the reader steeped in the literary traditions in which new books could most meaningfully be situated. Clemence Dane’s prolific literary criticism for Good Housekeeping complicates our understanding of women’s popular literary journalism between the wars as it consistently exceeds the cultural work of supporting middlebrow reading and writing. Dane’s literary criticism routinely connects women’s reading to the cultural and political power they wield to shape modernity.

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Women’s Literary Journalism Between the Wars Introduced to readers as ‘the famous author, critic and playwright’ (Oct 1923: 19),1 Dane was the first regular reviewer for Good Housekeeping, which launched the feature in October 1923; she held the post until it was taken over by Winifred Holtby in 1933. Good Housekeeping was one of several women’s magazines that regularly published substantial book reviews in this period.2 Others include Time and Tide, Modern Woman, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Everywoman.3 While reviewing provided an avenue for women writers’ entry to the journalism profession,4 it also carried the taint of hack writing and could place the woman writer on the ‘wrong’ side of the perceived divide between literature and journalism (Trodd 1998: 42; Clay 2013: 206). Recent feminist criticism, however, has underscored the ways in which reviewing helped establish some women’s reputations as literary critics.5 Moreover, as Catherine Clay argues, ‘novelist-critics’ such as Clemence Dane, Stevie Smith, Phyllis Bentley, and Rosamond Lehmann promoted middlebrow fiction, ensuring that it be given serious critical attention during the very period in which it was excluded from modernist criticism (2013: 207). As literary critic for Good Housekeeping and as a member of the first selection committee for the Book Society, established in 1929, Dane actively cultivated middlebrow reading practices, and staked out both offensive and defensive positions in the interwar ‘battle of the brows’. In ‘Advice to Book Buyers’, Dane’s contribution to a symposium published in the Workers’ Educational Association journal, The Highway, Dane calmly defended her role as a literary middleman by evoking the explosion of books during the period – over 1,000 new titles a year, counting novels alone – and the consequent need met by book recommenders (Feb 1930: 9–10). As fresh scholarship on middlebrow culture has compellingly demonstrated, middlebrow practitioners frequently disrupted the boundaries between highbrow and middlebrow by extending the range of styles, genres, and rhetorical modes in their repertoire, including parody and satire.6 Dane’s book essays for Good Housekeeping, for example, make frequent and sometimes parodic reference to the contingent nature of taste and the prejudices motivating the designation of readers’ brows.7 Rather than aping high culture or pedalling well-worn idioms, middlebrow practitioners dialogically shaped culture. While the middlebrow is often tied to feminine conservatism between the wars,8 Marion Shaw identifies a progressive women’s middlebrow novel that offered readers an ‘awareness of the possibilities of social and sexual reform’ (1998: 35). In the context of this middlebrow progressivism, Dane’s feminist writing is compatible with her book reviewing in one of the foremost women’s domestic magazines of the period. Indeed, many women writers contributed both to feminist journals and women’s magazines (Trodd 1998: 42). Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, and Lady Rhondda, editor (from 1926) of the feminist Time and Tide, all contributed to Good Housekeeping. Following her 1921 play A Bill of Divorcement, dramatising the effects on women of a divorce bill then under discussion in Parliament, Dane frequently published on such topics as education, women and the vote, and women and paid work. Dane’s Good Housekeeping articles on pivotal social issues arguably reinforced her opinions as a literary critic, and vice versa. Some of Dane’s feminist writing is collected in The Women’s Side (1926).

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As book critic for Good Housekeeping, Dane established and renewed each month a bond to her readers that afforded her repeated opportunities to model the choices and habits of ‘real book lovers’. The reviewer’s duty to recommend new books could be efficiently discharged within a broader conversation about all things related to books: history, genre, and fellow human beings. The reader-reviewer bond also addressed the perception that periodical reading induced harmful reading habits and degraded readers’ sensibilities. According to Cambridge academic I. A. Richards in Practical Criticism (1929), which played such a pivotal role in the development of English as a university subject, the ‘ephemeral Magazine’ epitomised the deplorable ‘mixtures of culture that the printed word has caused. Our everyday reading and speech now handles scraps from a score of different cultures’ (1929: 339). In her influential Fiction and the Reading Public (1932), Cambridge scholar Q. D. Leavis concurred: newspapers and magazines encouraged the absorption of material ‘at a glance’ (183); offered ‘cheap and easy pleasures’ (225); and made readers incapable of persevering to complete long or serious works (226). Dane’s book essays countered the feared ephemeral and superficial effects of magazine reading. Ranging from about 2,700 to 4,800 words the book essays claimed her readers’ sustained attention, while Dane’s literary-critical approach encouraged readers to view the literary tradition as a line extending behind and stretching out ahead of the present day. Dane’s regular placement of contemporary books within literary traditions also put her in conversation with academic and amateur literary critics of her day.

The Authority of the Amateur Critic As literature began to be treated as an academic subject within universities, the practice of a new class of professional academics diverged from that of amateur critics serving a generalist audience. Academic scholars underscored the evidence-based, verifiable nature of their judgments (Guy and Small 2000), while amateur critics emphasised alternative bases for their authority, invoking moral or aesthetic truth (Atherton 2005: 68) or cultivating personal forms of authority. In ‘Flapdragon’ (Dec 1924) Dane establishes a personal form of authority – the critic’s integrity – as well as an extrapersonal form of authority that is not the university: the centuries-old tradition of the English reviewer. Appearing to foreground the reviewer’s vulnerability, Dane quietly secures her position within the long-established conversations between reviewers and their publics. ‘Flapdragon’ lays out a tripartite design in which to resolve the reviewer’s complex position, taking as its governing metaphor the traditional English game in which players vie to snatch plums from burning brandy. First, Dane foregrounds the difficulties and uncertainties of the conditions in which the modern reviewer works. She looks back enviously at the golden age of the eighteenth-century British literary and society journal the Tatler in which you ‘wrote what you pleased so long as the public pleased; when time and all the subjects in the world were your own’ (49). The modern reviewer experiences an anxiety of influence, for in vivid ‘plums’ of phrases Richard Steele (the Tatler’s founder) captured the game of flapdragon 200 years earlier, and did so in ‘two sentences instead of a laborious page’ (49). Added to the contemporary reviewer’s feeling of inadequacy with respect to a daunting predecessor is her humiliation in the game of ‘literary flapdragon’. The ‘conscientious reviewer’

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labours on behalf of the reader, tasting any number of ‘windfalls and withered fruit’ on the chance that she will at last pluck out a ‘strange new plum’ to recommend to her readers (194). Second, the fallibility of the reviewer is revealed to be part of her heritage. Dane shares the ‘horrific legends’ of reviewers such as Samuel Johnson and Lord Byron who have pilloried the writers we now hold in highest esteem (149). Paradoxically, however, the fallibility of the contemporary reviewer’s judgement strengthens her affiliation with such distinguished predecessors and so bolsters her authority. Third, Dane establishes the critic’s integrity. As she begins to review the month’s books, Dane admits that praise or censure from a great name such as Joseph Conrad or John Galsworthy cannot but influence her approach to a new book. She insists, however, on her obligation to form her own judgement, though it might mean, regretfully, that Dane is ‘incapable of appreciating a book that Conrad liked’ (195). The critic’s integrity resides in her recognition of her duty to arrive at an evaluation independently of powerful influence. Through this portrait of the reviewer’s place in a line of distinguished reviewers, her dogged service, and her integrity, Dane secures the authority of the amateur literary critic.

Book Lovers’ Shared Literary Heritage The integrity and authority of the reviewer in ‘Flapdragon’ suggests that interwar amateur critics were not edged out by academic and modernist critics but engaged dialogically with their premises and criteria. No neat demarcation separated modernist from middlebrow practice in the interwar period. Instead, literary value was shaped in heterogeneous, porous, and overlapping valuing communities (Frow 1995: 143), and middlebrow critics such as Clemence Dane worked alongside modernist critics such as T. S. Eliot to formulate modern literary critical principles. Both Dane and Eliot turned to myth to ground modern literature. Both rejected the writer’s personal emotions as a valid basis for literature and called for an impersonal standard; and both identified the artistic handling of material as crucial to the success of a work of art.9 But if Dane’s literary criticism shares some of the concerns of contemporaries such as the Scrutiny critics and T. S. Eliot, she also departed from them in significant ways. Both Eliot’s theory of modern poetry and Q. D. Leavis’s programme for fiction insisted on the sensitive writer’s critical detachment and the ideal reader’s intellectual effort. In contrast, Dane respected the reader’s ability to be moved by literature; she did not discount the reader’s heart; and she did not deny the somatic pleasures of reading. The variety of ways in which readers are moved by literature forms the basis of Dane’s mythic approach to literary criticism. In this subset of her essays, Dane might theorise the evolutionary origins of a literary genre, identify a sacred pattern transcending human behaviour, or endorse a contemporary literary expression of a primordial human impulse. By embedding contemporary books within meaningful archetypal patterns, Dane could sketch a concept of great literature – literature that moved the reader with fear, dread, pleasure, or a sense of wonder – and validate readers’ responses to it. Literary evaluation begins with the reader’s own affective response to a text. Thus in ‘Things That Go Bump in the Night’ (Jan 1924), Dane suggests that popular ghost stories may qualify as ‘great literature’ when she claims that ‘all great literature is packed full of this immortal superstition’, the mixed terror and delight

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with which we regard the supernatural and that is based on the ‘question for ever in the back of our minds’: ‘where do we go when we die?’ (32). In redeeming an affective standard for judging literature, the prevailing standard in classical literary theory, Dane did not merely align herself with Horace or Longinus. Indirectly, she also critiqued the assumption that great literature is the province of highbrow readers who exercise intellectual scrutiny to master a complex text. As she intervenes in the ‘brows’ debates of her day, Dane makes it clear that craft, form, and even genius do matter. Indeed, individual genius can help shape literary history. Thus in ‘Things that Go Bump in the Night’, Dane finds that when May Sinclair, ‘a woman of genius’, interests herself in the ghost story, ‘it is once more, after many years, altering its whole character, just as the whole character of the novel altered when women began to use it as a means of expression’ (136). But genius, form, and craft are only ingredients in the story that must ultimately pass a rhetorical test to be admitted as great literature. While the discourse of readers’ brows in this period frequently distinguished between highbrow readers’ qualities of mind and middlebrow and lowbrow readers’ feelings, Dane troubles these categories so as to preserve a place for affect in great literature. The highbrow in ‘Goliath Slings the Pebble Back’ believes that ‘poetry is a question of brains and head’, but Dane herself asserts that it is ‘a question of ear and heart’ (Bookman, Dec 1925: 409). By linking readers’ affective responses to literature that endures, Dane implied that common readers were in possession of a literary heritage. Moreover, the deeper readers’ acquaintance with a vital literary tradition is, the greater their independence from the judgements of others. Dane’s own critical practice exemplifies the freedom and versatility of such a reader, and as modernist literary criticism gained momentum, her programme to build ordinary women readers’ confidence became increasingly important. Under the influence of T. S. Eliot, the Scrutiny circle, and the New Critics, new procedures for textual interpretation and a revised understanding of the canon were shifting interpretive activity decisively away from the Victorian ‘man of letters’ and his common readers to an expert, critical minority who would identify, safeguard, and develop British literary culture. Thus, while Dane works to restore for her readers a common literary historical heritage, the dominant voices in modernist criticism isolate the literary object from its communal contexts. While Dane believes that understanding a shared heritage will enhance the enjoyment of literature and empower ordinary readers to evaluate it, modernist literary critics develop a critical methodology for trained experts. Dane validates the enduring human experiences expressed in literature, while modernist critics focus on the complexity of formal and linguistic experiment. Dane’s approach made new literature familiar, in Hugh Walpole’s formulation, to the plain ‘man in the street, plus a little culture’ (1929: 13), while modernist criticism posed it as an enigma for an expert to decipher.

The Pleasure in Reading Carried out over a decade in some 120 book essays, Dane’s reader-centred programme sanctions individual readers’ pleasure, and envisions the simultaneous realisation of cultural, social, and political benefits; as readers make intertextual connections or form reading circles, they sustain the climate in which good books thrive. Dane’s holistic

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vision of reading in postwar Britain joins two functions of reading – private and public – that in the course of history had diverged. Rather than designating a critical minority, Dane gave ‘plain readers’ oversight of the longevity of good books and the continuation of literary traditions. In ‘Monuments’, published two years after Arnold Bennett’s essay ‘Is the Novel Decaying?’, Dane found that modernist critics were bemoaning the ‘decay of the novel’ in their ‘special newspapers’ (Aug 1925: 59).10 Dane takes up the question, focusing on the contract between the novelist and the reader. At present, the novelist fails to understand his job to ‘tell tales about his neighbours, without preaching, without moralising, without recommending remedies’ (132), and as a result, readers are turning to biography, intuiting the close relation of the two genres. Paradoxically, readers secure the novel of the future by turning away from the novel of the present and holding the biographer to their standard of a good tale. ‘So strong is this desire for a gossip that whenever the tale is in danger of decay the reader turns instinctively to biography’ (132). The novel will return ‘in due season, re-accomplishing’ itself (131). Dane’s confidence that ordinary readers might prompt the production and survival of good books arose from a strong historical sense that although the economic and social conditions for the composition and dissemination of literature might change across the centuries, Britain’s powerful heritage combined with readers’ ‘ten-thousand-year-old instinct’ would continue to support the partnership between readers and the writers of good books (132). Such a partnership would depend, nonetheless, on readers assuming their responsibility to demand good books. Dane holds up the Victorians as a successful example of this co-operation, arguing in ‘Best Sellers and Good Books’ that Victorian readers virtually created the Victorian novel. They demanded plot, a large canvas, and characters who were ‘roast-beef-and-bread-and-butter alive’. In a word, Victorian readers ‘knew what they wanted and saw that they got it’ (Oct 1924: 92). Dane urges that modern readers retain the responsibility of holding writers to their expectations. Their enjoyment of good books will ensure that such books continue to be written and read. In this sketch of a symbiotic relationship between good readers and good books, each ensuring the survival of the other, both a private and a public goal are realised. The Good Housekeeping reader’s private enjoyment in moments of leisure is enhanced; and a public good of strengthening a shared cultural heritage is advanced. Dane’s emphasis on both the private and public functions of reading marks her resistance to the historical atrophy of reading for social and moral purposes and the corresponding contemporary emphasis on private uses of reading, including entertainment, stimulation, and escapism (Littau 2006: 17–22). Dane rejuvenates the public functions of reading in an era emphasising its private and degraded ones. Admitting a variety of influences on its formation, Dane did not attempt directly to shape readers’ taste. Instead, she discouraged some reading practices and fostered others. Along with influential critics like I. A. Richards, F. R. Leavis, and Q. D. Leavis, Dane deplores ‘our national drug habit, light reading’, as she characterises it in ‘The Sea and the Sex’ (Nov 1924: 48). And she worries about the effects on reading of the modern ‘overproduction’ of books. In ‘A Bunch of Daisies’, Dane figures the Good Housekeeping reader ‘skimming’ her own monthly reviews and reflects: ‘But, as it is, does a vague dissatisfaction ever depress you as you hurry to your library, as you tick off the latest novels on your list?’ (Feb 1924: 92).

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However, in Dane’s corpus of criticism, these cautionary representations of reading are subordinated to her persistent depiction of reading as engaging readers’ somatic, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual responses. Intellect and emotion are not diametrically opposed; instead, intellectual effort falls within a holistic representation of the book lover’s enjoyment that includes reading practices such as rereading, endorsement of free play of the mind, and appreciation for metaphor and allusion. In ‘History and Story’, Dane’s account of reading Conrad offers a good example of this complete reading experience, one that engages the body, heart, mind, and spirit: In the typical Conrad novel the reader has a sensation which I can only compare with the sensation of half swimming, half struggling, eyes open, under water. The element in which you move is only half familiar; everything is seen in a strange light: the shapes and colours of familiar things, sand, stones, your own body, have changed. There is no sound but the sound of pounding ear-drums: you long for breath: you are ready to drown: and you emerge at last into daylight, dazzled and bewildered, out of touch with common sky and common sunshine. And that strange element in which Conrad’s creatures move and struggle is fate itself. (May 1924: 158) Reading bewilders and profoundly transforms the reader, estranging her from ordinary life. It is akin to confronting one’s fate, or falling in love. Indeed, the critic’s credentials as a ‘book lover’, not her stature as an ‘author-critic’, constitute her authority. It is not university education or superior sensitivity that underwrites her judgements, but the ‘long established habit of reading’ that she invokes in ‘Interesting People’ (Apr 1925: 88). Dane’s deployment of this persona is the foundation for the conversational style that characterises her book essays. Each essay continues an ongoing dialogue between book lovers; the essays thus foreground reading pleasure on two levels. Readers take pleasure in resuming a lively conversation about books, which themselves promise to reap further pleasurable rewards. Dane creates and sustains the milieu of pleasure by evoking a sensuous material environment. In a sequence of pleasurable consumption, ‘Flapdragon’ yokes book shopping, Christmas dinner, and private reading in the aftermath of Christmas festivities. ‘Busy Bees’ takes a different tack, leaving behind the Good Housekeeping reader of the present day and recreating the textures of Dane’s childhood reading in the family home. Dane evokes the alcove in the family sideboard where the Hundred Best Books lived, the copper kettle, ‘the silver egg boiler’, and ‘the plated biscuit box’ (Oct 1925: 63) that anchored her childhood reading. The sensuous associations of reading do not, of course, exhaust the nature of its pleasure. Indeed, in ‘Near Home and Far Off’ Dane links rereading and deep reading – practices that she might have associated with scholarly reading – to the pleasure of reading. It is only by rereading a beloved book that one reaches its heart: To buy a book is not to possess it! Indeed, almost any book that one dearly loves may only be said to have been acquired after half a dozen readings at least. It is impossible to reach such a book’s heart at a sitting. At the twentieth reading and the hundredth ‘dipping’ you will still find yourself uncovering beauty after

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new beauty, discovering a hidden scheme, and realising that the familiar sentences are serving the author in twenty subways, instead of the plain surface one of first acquaintance. (Feb 1925: 175) Dane denigrates the commercialised associations of reading; the reader who buys a book is far from reaching its ‘heart’. Through a series of active verbs designating the role of the reader, Dane ties rereading and deep reading, the antithesis of ‘light reading’, to exploration, discovery, and aesthetic appreciation. By recognising and validating a full spectrum of reading pleasure, including both embodied and intellectual experiences, Dane challenges the contemporary association of women readers with indulgence in passive and indiscriminate pleasure. Along with effortful reading practices such as rereading for deep reading, Dane’s criticism deploys extended metaphors and allusions drawn from a significant fund of historical and cultural knowledge. In ‘Busy Bees’ Dane begins by drawing the reader into a contemporary debate about anthologies: ‘I can never make up my mind whether anthologies, “flower-gatherings,” as the dictionary translates them, come as a curse or a blessing to men’ (Oct 1925: 63). Extending the organic metaphor, she continues: is it ‘better to buy the best honey refined and jarred, or to wander over the fields and by-ways, picking posies for oneself, for their scent and colour’s sake, chancing the honey in them’? (63). Dane draws the metaphor from the anonymous Book of Pluscarden (1461), whose author announces his intention, in the interest of concision, to ‘seek out, extract, and arrange, like a honey-bee amid wild flowers, doing them no hurt, whatever seems necessary for the proper telling of the story’ (2–3). Allusion, Q. D. Leavis found, keeps a shared literary culture alive and sets the expectation that readers will rise to the intellectual level of the author (1932: 85–8). Additionally, through allusion Dane establishes a link between two widely separated eras, each of which engaged in a form of anthologising. But should the reader miss the allusion, the metaphor of the honeybee ranging among flowers nonetheless suggests that the mind of a reader naturally establishes connections between apparently unlike phenomena – reading and harvesting honey – through the free play of her mind. Moreover, the metaphor underscores the sensuous associations of this free play. Throughout her essays, Dane likens reading to everyday activities: gardening, furniture rearrangement, eating sweets. Dane’s metaphors are often both quotidian and domestic, as these examples illustrate. But they also draw on culture and on current events and imply readers’ competency in these domains. For example, in ‘Busy Bees’, Dane alludes to an event of 1920, comparing it to the anthologising practices of the Hundred Best Books: ‘You remember what Lord Leverhulme did with Augustus John’s portrait of himself? In that fashion was the world’s literature treated in the H.B.B.s!’ (Oct 1925: 63). Apparently displeased with the portrait, Leverhulme intended to hide it away in a safe, but finding that it would not fit, he cut the head away from the rest of the picture and placed it in the safe. (‘Portrait of Lord Leverhulme’). Anthologies are represented as impulsive, violent, and irrational butcherings of an organic whole. Dane herself is ‘still hunting for the arms and legs’ of stories she read in the Hundred Best Books as a child. Having first described anthologies as flower-gathering and then compared them to a dismembered portrait, Dane, it would seem, has resolved any ambivalence about anthologies with which she began the essay.

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But in a characteristic turn, Dane then considers anthologies in yet another light. Dane’s experience of the Hundred Best Books ‘did do for the reader what an anthology should and does not always do; it did rouse your curiosity, it did send you hunting, just because it was so tantalising, so fragmentary, in season and out of season, for the whole books from which it had ravished its contents’ (63). Moreover, Dane’s essay exhibits the kind of flower-gathering that good anthologies can prompt, as she considers the Victorian fondness for using quotations as epigraphs, Sir Walter Scott’s similar use of quotations, and a recently published anthology of Thomas Moore’s diary entries in which Scott is mentioned. Thus Dane demonstrates a way of reading fostered by anthologies and encourages Good Housekeeping readers to adopt it: the power to move between texts speaking to one another through the reader’s associative connections.

The Woman Reader as Social and Political Agent For Dane, the responsibility of readers to contribute to debates about literary standards and canon formation is the foundation for modern women’s wider opportunities in the social and political spheres. In ‘The Sea and the Sex’, Dane posits a direct connection between women’s choice of reading matter and their ability to realise feminist goals, including ‘our long-desired physical and legal freedom, our intellectual independence, [and] this deep-rooted belief of ours that we are intended to move level with our menfolk in a shared existence’ (Nov 1924: 173). In ‘Interesting People’ (Apr 1925), Dane invites readers to extend their responsibility beyond the literary sphere by demonstrating how reading can broaden women’s social and cultural engagement. In these and other essays, Dane helped to transform the periodical into ‘a real and imagined space for female intellectual and political community’ (Tusan 2005: 2). The occasion for ‘Interesting People’ was Dane’s receipt of two letters from young women seeking advice. One is from a young teacher whose many desires Dane sums up as her wish to meet ‘interesting people’. The second is from a woman who with others wants to start a reading circle in order to make life ‘a little fuller’. Dane unites the desires of the two disconnected letter writers: both women exhibit intellectual hunger; and for both, the solution is to become the desired interesting person by making one’s self an agent in a generative circle of activity. Dane’s thesis is that ‘interesting people are within everyone’s reach so long as books continue to be printed’ (88). Thus the young letter writer’s desire to meet ‘interesting’ people can be satisfied by her reading the biography ‘of any man or woman she admires’ so as ‘to share their life with them and rediscover their discoveries and enjoy their pleasures and be admitted to their dreams’. But she must be willing to ‘stock her mind and exercise her imagination’ (90). Through her reading in the projected book circle, the ordinary woman becomes an interesting person. Her fired intellect and imagination generate new connections to others and new stimulating activities, such as research arising from the book being read, the production of a play, or travel to a site mentioned in a book. Finally, as she forms vicarious acquaintance with the subjects of the biographies she reads, she enters into a generative network of virtual, interesting people by reading books ‘in direct or indirect connection’ with these biographical subjects (88). The essay concludes that far from being out of touch with interesting people, the women in the

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reading circle will ‘have been in close touch, in a couple of months, with more interesting people and interesting things than an ordinary lifetime of haphazard meetings provides’ (88). As a book reviewer for a popular women’s magazine and a member of the selection committee for the Book Society, Dane was among the disdained ‘middlemen’ complicit in the commercial mediation of reading. Yet through her literary criticism for Good Housekeeping she advanced a progressive middlebrow culture that fed women readers’ hunger for ‘artistic practices that expanded their ideas and had a perceptible social function’ (Dowson 2009: 532).11 Dane’s literary criticism addressed fewer questions of what women should read and more questions of how reading could empower women both to engender good books and to influence the tenor of postwar public life. If an enduring and vital literary tradition was to provide security for readers’ enjoyment, readers had to curate it by demanding good books and by putting them in contact with one another. Dane’s frequent interpellation of book lovers implicitly recognises this task. With endearing irony, Dane characterised these self-elected readers as a little peculiar, while making membership in their club desirable. Real book lovers, Dane wrote in ‘Monuments’, are a ‘small, comical, lovable, eternal public’ (Aug 1925: 59).

Notes 1. Although Dane sought to distance her book recommendations from commercial mechanisms, epithets such as this one illustrate that Good Housekeeping commodified the name of this novelist-critic to build readership of her column. Notably, however, as Dane became a household name, the practice was allowed to lapse. 2. Although media reviews were a staple of nineteenth-century periodicals (Beetham 2006: 235), David Reed’s work indicates that literary critical coverage in popular women’s magazines declined in the interwar period (1997: 236–62). Even those periodicals carrying regular reviews were shortening them, as the press struggled to keep up with the explosion in the number of published books available for review (Collier 2006: 80). 3. Thanks to Claire Battershill for help gathering these titles. 4. Both Anthea Trodd and Margaret Beetham assess the success of various formulas for women’s rise in the profession of journalism. See Trodd (1998: 43) on the woman contributor to the mainstream journal and Beetham on the experiment of women-only run journals (2006: 237). 5. Catherine Clay makes this point about Woolf and West (2013: 206). Lyn Pykett (2000) emphasises the intervention of West’s reviews and other journalism in contemporary cultural and political debates. 6. Recent scholarship expanding our understanding of the character and role of the middlebrow in the interwar period includes Humble (2001), Hammill (2007), Brown and Grover (2012), and the articles collected in Modernist Cultures 6.1 (2011). 7. Examples include ‘The Poet’s Pen’ (July 1925); ‘Family Pieces’ (Jan 1925); and ‘Golden Opinions’ (Oct 1928). Dane published her most substantial commentary on the battle of the brows not in Good Housekeeping but in the Bookman, in ‘Goliath Slings the Pebble Back’ (Dec 1925). 8. Alison Light (1991) is the definitive study here. 9. See Eliot (1923), ‘Ulysses, Order and Myth’. Selected Prose of T. S. Eliot. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1945. 177–9.

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10. ‘Is the Novel Decaying?’ appeared in Cassell’s Weekly on 28 March 1923. Woolf replied in ‘Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown’ published in Britain in December 1923 in the Nation and Athenaeum. Also in 1923, Lawrence published ‘Surgery for the Novel – Or a Bomb’ in the April Literary Digest International Book Review. Chris Baldick (1996) provides an excellent summary of debates about the novel during this period. 11. Dowson here describes the relationship between women journalists and readers of Time and Tide.

Works Cited Anonymous. [1461] 1880. ‘Prologue.’ The Book of Pluscarden. Historians of Scotland. Volume X. Ed. Felix J. H. Skene. Edinburgh: William Paterson. 2–3. Atherton, Carol. 2005. Defining Literary Criticism: Scholarship, Authority, and the Possession of Literary Knowledge. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Baldick, Chris. 1996. Criticism and Literary Theory, 1890 to the Present. London: Longman. Beetham, Margaret. 2006. ‘Periodicals and the New Media: Women and Imagined Communities.’ Women’s Studies International Forum 29: 231–40. Braithwaite, Brian, Noelle Walsh, and Glyn Davies. 1986. Ragtime to Wartime: The Best of Good Housekeeping 1922–1939. London: Ebury. Brown, Erica and Mary Grover, eds. 2012. Middlebrow Literary Cultures: The Battle of the Brows, 1920–1960. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Clay, Catherine. 2013. ‘The Woman Journalist, 1920–1945.’ The History of British Women’s Writing. Vol. 8. Ed. Maroula Joannou. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 199–214. Collier, Patrick. 2006. Modernism on Fleet Street. Aldershot: Ashgate. Dane, Clemence. 1929. Tradition and Hugh Walpole. Garden City: Doubleday. Dowson, Jane. 2009. ‘Interventions in the Public Sphere: Time and Tide (1920–30) and The Bermondsey Book (1923–30).’ The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Volume 1: Britain and Ireland. Ed. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 530–51. Flint, Kate. 1993. The Woman Reader 1837–1914. Oxford: Clarendon. Frow, John. 1995. Cultural Studies and Cultural Value. Oxford: Clarendon. Guy, Josephine M. and Ian Small. 2000. ‘The British “Man of Letters” and the Rise of the Professional.’ The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism. Volume VII: Modernism and the New Criticism. Ed. A. Walton Litz, Louis Menand, and Lawrence Rainey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 377–88. Hammill, Faye. 2007. Women, Celebrity, and Literary Culture Between the Wars. Austin: University of Texas Press. Humble, Nicola. 2001. The Feminine Middlebrow Novel: 1920s to 1950s: Class, Domesticity, and Bohemianism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Leavis, Q. D. [1932] 2000. Fiction and the Reading Public. London: Pimlico. Light, Alison. 1991. Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism Between the Wars. London: Routledge. Littau, Karin. 2006. Theories of Reading: Books, Bodies and Bibliomania. Cambridge: Polity. ‘Portrait of Lord Leverhulme, by Augustus John.’ National Museums Liverpool, 2015. (last accessed 1 July 2015). Pykett, Lyn. 2000. ‘The Making of a Modern Woman Writer: Rebecca West’s Journalism, 1911– 1930.’ Journalism, Literature, and Modernity: From Hazlitt to Modernism. Ed. Kate Campbell. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 170–90. Reed, David. 1997. The Popular Magazine in Britain and the United States, 1880–1960. London: British Library.

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Richards, I. A. [1929] 1956. Practical Criticism. A Study of Literary Judgment. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Shaw, Marion. 1998. ‘The Making of a Middlebrow Success: Winifred Holtby’s South Riding.’ Writing: A Woman’s Business: Women, Writing and the Marketplace. Ed. Judy Simons and Kate Fulbrook. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 31–47. Trodd, Anthea. 1998. Women’s Writing in English: Britain 1900–1945. London: Longman. Tusan, Michelle Elizabeth. 2005. Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Woolf, Virginia. [1929] 1981. A Room of One’s Own. San Diego: Harvest-Harcourt.

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5 ‘The Magazine Short Story and the Real Short Story’: Consuming Fiction in the Feminist Weekly TIME AND TIDE Catherine Clay

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n recent years we have seen an upsurge of critical interest in the short story, a literary genre intimately connected in Britain with the rise of the periodical press at the end of the nineteenth century.1 The appearance in 1891 of the Strand Magazine, an illustrated sixpenny monthly combining fiction and non-fiction content and which inspired a host of successful imitators, is generally regarded as a watershed year for the British short story (Baldwin 2013: 41).2 After the turn of the century these ‘proto-slick’ magazines were joined by a flood of cheaper all-fiction ‘pulp’ magazines commanding even greater readerships (Ashley 2006: 12). In the interwar period the periodical market for short stories continued to flourish (Baldwin: 46), a major sector of this market being the women’s press. Cynthia L. White (1970) identifies as many as fifty-five new women’s magazine titles appearing between the years 1920 and 1939; most of these catered to the middle and lower-middle classes and regularly published fiction in their pages, while the 1920s also saw a boom in story papers for working-class women readers (Melman 1988: 108).3 As a basic unit of magazine production the short story warrants special attention in our discussion – in the present Part of this volume – of how literary and cultural materials circulated in British women’s periodicals between the two world wars. Providing writers with opportunities for aesthetic experimentation, the short story had also become ‘definitional to modernism’ by the time we arrive at the short fictions of Katherine Mansfield and James Joyce (Armstrong 2005: 52), and during the interwar period the short story’s status as commodity or art became the subject of increasing scrutiny and debate.4 Mary Agnes Hamilton, novelist, journalist, and a regular fiction reviewer for the feminist weekly Time and Tide, stated in an early review for this periodical: ‘There is the magazine short story and the real short story, as unlike each other as the best seller and the real novel’ (13 May 1921: 456). Hamilton’s vocabulary echoes that of numerous other authors, critics, and commentators who sought to differentiate between literary and commercial short fiction in the interwar years. John Cournos and Edward J. O’Brien, for example, in their annual best British and American short story collections (dating from 1923), worked to counteract the kind of formulaic writing that came to be labelled as ‘magazine fiction’, selecting stories which in their view evidenced the work of the ‘true artist’ in their unity of ‘organic substance and artistic form’ (Cournos and O’Brien 1923: xix). According to Hamilton, none of the stories assembled in the volumes she has under review conform fully to the ‘magazine story . . . a recognisable type’ (456), and it is significant that

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she devotes the largest space to the most experimental and modernist of these works – Monday or Tuesday by Virginia Woolf – elevating the ‘real’ short story as that most self-consciously concerned with art.5 Time and Tide, founded in May 1920 by Welsh businesswoman and former suffragette Lady Margaret Rhondda, was itself a paying outlet for short fiction. In September 1923 the Woman Journalist, organ of the Society of Women Journalists, listed Time and Tide at the top of its ‘Home Market’ list with information that the periodical ‘accepts serious and light articles. Short stories, from 400–1,000 words are given special consideration. Payment is from One to Two Guineas a thousand words’ (Sep 1923: 17). As a periodical that paid its contributors, Time and Tide was more commercially oriented than other feminist periodicals examined in this volume which did not offer payment to outside contributors, and relied almost wholly on work contributed by their own staff.6 At the same time, the space Time and Tide gave to fiction was considerably smaller than that afforded by publications in the commercial women’s magazine market, and the periodical was unable to pay authors the kind of rates that could be obtained in magazines with much higher circulations. Good Housekeeping, for example, which during the interwar period was ‘one of the premier fiction-carrying magazines in Britain’ (Ashley: 253), published stories of 4,000 to 7,000 words (usually four or five per issue) and, according to the Authors, Playwrights and Composers Handbook for 1935, offered a minimum rate of fifteen guineas per story. In its early years Time and Tide typically carried one or two short stories per issue, and sometimes published longer short stories in two or more weekly instalments. Occasionally it published serial fiction, but it is Time and Tide’s engagement with the short story as a genre that is my focus here. My primary objects of study in the discussion that follows are readers’ reactions, as demonstrated in private and published correspondence, to three short stories which appeared in Time and Tide in 1920, 1928, and 1935. Drawing on recent applications of affect theory in periodical studies, I am particularly interested in how attention to the ‘affective dimensions of periodical interactions’ (Dillane 2016: 6) reveals Time and Tide’s shifting relationship with its audience as it managed its own transitions in a complex and segmented literary marketplace. Dean Baldwin usefully notes that ‘[w]hat was once described simplistically as a two-part market (popular versus Modernist) is now seen as a fractured market of many audiences and an equally fractured literary psyche attempting to negotiate and survive the uncertainties of multiple audiences and aesthetics’ (156). But if we have now disrupted a simple, gendered opposition between ‘high’ and ‘low’ (as per Andreas Huyssen’s influential thesis regarding the ‘great divide’), the question of how gender figures in this more fractured market remains as important as ever.7 As a periodical that both harnessed the energy of interwar feminism, and sought to operate on far broader lines than such surviving former suffrage organs as the Woman’s Leader and the Vote (Clay 2016), Time and Tide occupies an ambiguous position in relation to the other women’s print media examined in this volume. It played a leading role in interwar feminist debates (as explored by Laurel Forster in this volume), used tactics deployed at the commercial end of women’s periodical publishing (for example, reader competitions offering cash prizes) to attract a far wider group of middle-class women readers, and developed important relationships with Bloomsbury modernism in its new orientation, at the end of the 1920s, towards the literary highbrow sphere.8 Readers’ expectations for fiction published in Time and Tide

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were thus informed by a variety of literary and reading communities shaped by different periodical contexts, from those associated with a growing commercial women’s magazine market, to New Woman fiction, suffrage fiction, and avant-garde fiction published in literary magazines. It is the affective encounter, I argue, that proves highly revealing of the process of negotiation involved between the periodical and its readers as Time and Tide worked to establish its identity and audience in the interwar years. Building on Fionnula Dillane’s insight that ‘attention to the affective constitutes attention to genre, network, audience, and the politics of aesthetics’ (11), I apply her concept of ‘discursive disruption’ to consider moments of conflict between Time and Tide and its readers over the fiction it published, and to recognise such ruptures as moments of opportunity for the periodical to articulate its own position and manage audience expectations. Dillane uses the term ‘discursive disruption’ to describe those moments when the stabilising patterns of repetition in periodical texts are ‘destabilized, however temporarily’, and argues that ‘[i]t is the contrast between anticipated repetition and actual swerve from the expected that creates affective intensity’ (12). While individual periodical environments provide generic security for readers (for example, that the short stories they encounter there will be of a particular kind) ‘there is always . . . the potential for shock’ (18): new writers are admitted to the periodical’s pages, editorial agendas change, readers from different kinds of reading communities come with different kinds of expectations. Attention to feeling in Time and Tide’s discussions of short fiction, therefore, yields important insights into audience expectations for the magazine, and its editorial agenda. As I argue below, moments of apparent crisis were in fact moments of construction through which Time and Tide renegotiated its readership, and its political and aesthetic affiliations.

‘A Little Happiness’ Time and Tide’s first fiction contribution was a children’s serial, ‘Prudence and Peter’, written by Elizabeth Robins (actress, playwright, novelist, and leading figure in the women’s suffrage movement) in collaboration with her lifelong companion, Dr Octavia Wilberforce. One of Time and Tide’s founding directors, Robins offered valuable contacts and advice on the literary side of the paper during its first thirty-six months, and several other early contributors of serial and short fiction were drawn from suffrage networks, including male writers who had supported the cause such as Laurence Housman and William Pett Ridge (Clay 2009: 21). Time and Tide’s feminism set the tone for much of this early creative content, continuing the political tradition of suffrage fiction in short stories which frequently take up questions relating to women’s freedom and opportunity, while fostering a sense of feminist community and what Barbara Green has described as ‘the feel of the feminist network’ (2016). At the same time, the appearance of short fiction by Henry Kitchell-Webster, one of the most popular authors of magazine serials in America, and Barry Pain, an enormously popular fiction writer in Britain’s magazine market, show that the periodical was simultaneously reaching beyond a feminist community of readers towards a wider popular audience. Another household name to appear in Time and Tide in the early 1920s was Richmal Crompton, author of the enduringly popular ‘William’ stories which were

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first published in Home Magazine, a women’s magazine for family reading. Crompton was a supporter of women’s suffrage, but the first story she contributed to Time and Tide (‘The Back Garden’, which explores a wife’s suspicion of infidelity in her husband which proves unfounded) has more to do with the feelings attached to women’s experiences of modernity than to political causes (6 Apr 1923: 377). The heterogeneity of Time and Tide’s early short fiction content suggests that from the outset the periodical was seeking to appeal to a variety of readers, and to straddle both political and commercial magazine markets. But while there was no one ‘type’ of short story favoured by the periodical, it was still possible for fiction it published to produce the feeling that it was out of place. In December 1920 a story called ‘A Little Happiness’ (about an impoverished man whose brief moment of happiness purchased by a win on the bookies is stolen from him when he is robbed on the street while he sleeps) drew an indignant response from Octavia Wilberforce in a private letter to Elizabeth Robins: I thought Time and Tide was to have a note of optimism – that story merely makes you loathe the paper. Quote me as ‘a story reader among hard-working professional women who look for relaxation and a note of cheering in a weekly paper.’ I defy anybody to be bucked up by that Time and Tide. A p[atien]t told me she liked the cinemas which made me laugh. It’s the duty of those who cater for hard-working people to give ’em cheerful stuff. For example, ‘The Grafter’ the Webster short story. Or the Barry Pain. Remember?9 This rare example of a reader’s private response to Time and Tide’s short fiction content reminds us that the ‘reading public tended to regard the short story as a form of entertainment’ (Baldwin: 132). According to Baldwin, the two qualities that dominated the commercial short story were ‘brightness’ and ‘love’ (90), and it is the story’s lack of ‘optimism’ and ‘cheer’, its failure to provide ‘A Little Happiness’ apropos its title, that disappoints. As a doctor Wilberforce represented the expanding class of ‘hard-working professional women’ who were Time and Tide’s core target audience. However, while she looks to Time and Tide’s short story content ‘for relaxation and a note of cheering’, the periodical’s founder had other ambitions. In early correspondence about the magazine Rhondda explicitly discussed her aims for Time and Tide as a ‘High Class Woman’s Weekly’, distinguishing it from the kind of commercial publications read by Wilberforce’s cinema-going patient – the ‘female fiction consumer’ who was, as Lisa Stead argues in this volume, ‘a signifier at this time for the intellectually damaging qualities of mass entertainment media’.10 Time and Tide actively differentiated itself from such popular, feminised media forms, and from its earliest issues was working to secure a position among the leading general-audience intellectual weeklies of the day, papers like the Nation and Athenaeum and the New Statesman. Time and Tide’s early orientation towards this class of periodical is indicated in a small item, in its issue of 18 November 1921, which castigates the Nation and Athenaeum for its ‘sweeping generality’ in a recent book review ‘that no woman can write short stories’ (1118). Time and Tide’s response to this blatant sexism echoes that of Virginia Woolf who, in October 1920, famously responded in the pages of the New Statesman to Desmond MacCarthy’s declaration in that paper that women

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were intellectually and creatively inferior to men. As Bashir Abu-Manneh has documented, women’s fiction was severely under-represented in the New Statesman, and especially under MacCarthy’s literary editorship during the years 1920 to 1928. ‘The New Statesman’, writes Abu-Manneh, ‘was very much a male journal, which mostly published male writers and was never really interested in promoting either fiction or poetry by women’ (2011: 121–2). In stark contrast with both the New Statesman and the Nation and Athenaeum, Time and Tide regularly counted women among its contributors of short stories, and in 1924 (the year following its listing in the Woman Journalist, noted above) published an unusually large crop of short fiction by such writers as E. M. Delafield, Susan Ertz, Ethel Mannin, Hilda Reid, Sylvia Thompson, and E. H. Young. In January 1927 Time and Tide’s introduction of a new ‘Miscellany’ section created an enlarged space for the publication of short fiction, and the purchase of second serial rights for a short story by the late Katherine Mansfield is an indication of the periodical’s ambition for publishing high calibre work by the best writers, both in terms of authors recognised and anthologised at the time, and those we still recognise today.11 Over the next few years Time and Tide’s ‘Miscellany’ would showcase short stories by many of Britain’s leading interwar women writers, including (in addition to the aforementioned) Stella Benson, Elizabeth Bowen, Winifred Holtby, Naomi Mitchison, Kate O’Brien, Jean Rhys, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Dorothy Whipple. This roll call of names testifies to the significance of Time and Tide as a platform for the modern woman writer; it also points to the periodical’s renegotiation of its readership and aesthetic affiliations as it moved towards the end of its first decade.

‘Decision’ In early 1928, Time and Tide’s publication of a short story by E. M. Delafield produced another reader’s ‘protest’ which was this time registered not in private, but in what Green has theorised as the ‘intimate public sphere’ of the correspondence page (2012: 466). Less than a thousand words long, ‘Decision’ (27 Jan 1928: 78–9) is a story about a young married woman who is persuaded to elope, but on the appointed day decides to resist temptation and stay at home. Writing a letter of renunciation to her lover she is startled by the telephone ringing, and upon hearing his voice her mind is remade in a flash and she exits the house with the intention of meeting him after all. The story shares with Delafield’s novel published the previous year, The Way Things Are (1927), an interest in the married state and the unsatisfied romantic yearnings of women. However, unlike the novel, in which the heroine, Laura, ultimately decides that she cannot leave her husband, this story’s open ending allows for this possibility. The sexual licence afforded to the story’s protagonist echoes some of the more radical discourses on sexuality that circulated in this period. British sexual culture in the interwar period remained broadly conservative, and as we shall see in the letter discussed below it is the story’s flouting of conventional morality that caused offence. The letter of protest was signed by a Miss Lillias Mitchell, who writes: I was sorry to see the story called ‘Decision’ in TIME AND TIDE . . . the contemplated act of adultery is so treated that no glimpse is given of the moral and physical uncleanness involved.

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It is not our business to judge those who regard adultery as something entirely one’s ‘own business’ and not as something quite anti-social, but it is surely the business of those of us keen on a better state of things to see to it that adultery is represented to be what it is – selfish and unclean; so unclean that it is a source of disease in every nation in the world and the cause of blighting with suffering the lives of many many children. My purpose in writing this letter is to urge that TIME AND TIDE, a pioneer paper, should seek to maintain a true standard of values even in short stories. (10 Feb 1928: 133) The force of this affective encounter lies in the moral outrage that accumulates in the language of vice and ‘disease’, and especially in Miss Mitchell’s repeated use of the word ‘unclean’ to denote the act of adultery. As Dillane theorises, such discursive disruptions tell us ‘something of the periodical as a dynamic, affecting object and something of the cultural political positioning of the subjects that encounter it’ (10). Here, Miss Mitchell’s response registers the conservative values and conventional morality that would have undoubtedly been shared by some of Time and Tide’s women readers. In the interwar popular press ‘married readers of advice columns were warned about the disastrous repercussions of extra-marital affairs’ (Bingham 2011: 55), and according to Baldwin ‘[a]ll classes of magazines except the avant-garde in this period were incredibly sensitive on matters of public morality’ (91). For Miss Mitchell, by publishing Delafield’s story Time and Tide lowered the standards expected of a ‘pioneer paper’, but what was meant by this could have a very different meaning for readers familiar with the literary and feminist avant-garde for whom Time and Tide’s editorial decision could well have been understood as an indication of the periodical’s advanced attitudes. One week after the publication of Delafield’s story Time and Tide’s Miscellany section contained a piece by Virginia Woolf, ‘The Sun and the Fish’ (3 Feb 1928: 99–100), evidence of the periodical’s new orientation, in the late 1920s, towards Bloomsbury modernism. The criticism registered by Miss Mitchell’s letter exposes a fault line between a more permissive culture associated with highbrow bohemianism and the traditional values held by some of Time and Tide’s core female readership, and appears to represent a moment of conflict in the periodical’s relationship with its audience. However, it in fact became a moment of opportunity to massage readers’ expectations as the periodical managed its own transitions in the literary marketplace. The following week Time and Tide published a reply from Delafield, who had recently joined the periodical’s board of directors (which also included Rebecca West, former literary editor of the pre-war feminist avant-garde periodical the Freewoman).12 Delafield begins by correcting what she describes as a ‘confusion of terms’ in Miss Mitchell’s letter, pointing out that ‘[a]n act of adultery . . . is not to be classed with the practice of promiscuous fornication’ (17 Feb 1928: 157). Even more significant, however, is the correction she makes to Miss Mitchell’s limited understanding of the short story. She continues: [I]n the short story called ‘Decision’ there is no question of ‘treating the subject’ of adultery at all. The interest of the sketch, which is purely a psychological one, lies in the exposure of the capacity for self-deception that enables a woman to think her mind irrevocably made up – whereas a sudden deviation of circumstances instantly causes her to change it again.

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catherine clay By all means let us, as Miss Mitchell says, ‘maintain a true standard of values even in short stories.’ (But why ‘even?’) But pray let it be maintained by the reader, as well as by the writer. (157)

Delafield’s letter makes two important moves. The first, in her final admonishment, is to reject the insinuation in Miss Mitchell’s use of the word ‘even’ which might suggest that Time and Tide’s fiction is less important than its editorial content. The short story, Delafield implies, is a serious form with an important place in the periodical, and a ‘standard of values’ applies here as much as anywhere else. Second, by foregrounding the ‘psychological’ interest of ‘Decision’, which she categorises as a ‘sketch’, she makes a subtle argument for the story’s artistic merit, thus distinguishing it from the ‘magazine short story’ produced for the commercial market. Indeed, with its psychological interest, and unconventional attitude towards sex, ‘Decision’ has more in common with the modern short stories produced by women writers in the era of the New Woman, than it does with the formulaic and heavily plotted short fiction favoured by the majority of interwar magazine editors and their publics.13 As such, Delafield’s story recalls the work of such proto-modernist predecessors as Sarah Grand and George Egerton, and is an indication of the periodical’s reorientation towards the literary avant-garde and ‘highbrow’ artistic sphere in this period.14 Over the next two weeks Time and Tide continued to manage the discursive disruption occasioned by the publication of Delafield’s short story through its editorial treatment of the correspondence it received. Two letters printed in its next issue under the heading ‘A “Protest”’ foreground a division in the periodical’s readership between conservative moralists like Miss Mitchell and more advanced, modern women readers. One reader joins Miss Mitchell in protest against the ‘tendency . . . towards promiscuity of the sexes in modern drama and fiction’ (24 Feb 1928: 179); the other criticises ‘the narrow-minded intelligence’ shown by Miss Mitchell, and congratulates Time and Tide on publishing the story which in her view ‘creates an artistic joy which your correspondent does not seem to be capable of appreciating’ (179). A third letter published the following week from another female reader, Blanche L. Leigh, further illustrates how valuable readers themselves could be in reshaping audience expectations for the magazine. I quote it at length before discussing it below. There is neither time nor space for a short story to give the delineation of character, dialogue, arguments, opinions or description that make a good book a study and a delight; so the writer who can develop in a few paragraphs an entertaining refreshment and a stimulus, not only to thought but to imagination and reasoning power, is valuable and useful – especially to the busy woman (I am writing to women) who has not always time to spare for an hour or two’s reading, but who can read a short story, and, at leisure, thinks and weighs over the situation or problem, and the result. ‘Decision’, as I read it (I speak from memory as I passed my copy of TIME AND TIDE on to a friend) was a story for the reader to interpret, and the reader, according to the speed and ability of mental perception, might read it more than once before coming to a conclusion (even then her view might not be the same as the writer’s). This is a kind of food, a mental exercise, and I hope TIME AND TIDE will never resort to improvement of other people’s morals after the manner of the old-fashioned tract. (2 Mar 1928: 204)

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This letter offers Time and Tide’s readers an instruction in reading by another member of their own reading community. In contrast with Miss Mitchell, this correspondent firmly repudiates an ‘old-fashioned’, Victorian view of literature as the occasion for moral instruction and self-improvement, providing instead a view of reading that is distinctly modern and suited to the habits of modern life. Entering the discussion with a keen aesthetic sense of the economy of the short story reified in modernist discussions of the form, Miss Leigh’s depiction of the ‘busy woman’ who may not have time in her day to read more than a short story provides a valuable glimpse of the material ways in which Time and Tide’s short fiction was consumed by its women readers (the correspondent notes that ‘I am writing to women’) and how it circulated beyond its subscriber list (Miss Leigh further notes that she has passed on her own copy of the issue containing Delafield’s story to a friend). But it also inscribes a resounding rebuttal to the idea of the profligate, leisured woman reader around whom social anxieties about reading circulated in the interwar period.15 Indeed, by describing ‘Decision’ as ‘a story for the reader to interpret’ (and the reader as someone who might read the story ‘more than once’), Miss Leigh untethers the woman reader from her image as a mindless and passive consumer of ephemeral texts, underscoring her discrimination and intellect. At the same time, unlike modernist critical practitioners who introduced a bias towards reading as a ‘predominantly mentalist activity’ (Littau 2006: 11), Miss Leigh does not abandon earlier theories of reading which were also concerned with readers’ feelings and sensations. In its summary of the qualities that make a good book ‘a study and a delight’, and its appreciation of the writer who can, in a short space, develop ‘an entertaining refreshment and a stimulus’, her letter presents reading as an occasion for pleasure, relaxation, and intellectual activity, thus collapsing a set of body/mind oppositions that were reactivated in contemporary discussions of reading in this period. As such this letter turns the affective encounter with Delafield’s story into an opportunity for defending ‘a tradition of “affective criticism”’ that was gradually displaced by academic, professional reading practices associated with the rise of modernism (Littau: 86). Describing ‘Decision’ as ‘a kind of food, a mental exercise’, Miss Leigh negotiates a position for the modern woman reader who is able to partake in fiction’s traditional pleasures, and exercise discrimination and intelligence in her appreciation of the short story as an art form. Both in the risk of moral impropriety posed by its subject matter, and in its ‘plotless’ form, Delafield’s story ‘Decision’ is atypical of the short fiction published in women’s magazines of the time. As Baldwin discusses, not only were commercial magazine editors very sensitive on matters of public morality, they were also insistent on the requirement for plot, as illustrated by Delafield’s reception in Home Magazine: ‘We admire her work tremendously, and where there is sufficient story in it . . . it is excellent for The Home, but too often in these short things they are more character sketches than short stories, and these I am afraid have not got such a general appeal to the magazine public of our type’ (92). A reminder that interwar magazines represent a fractured market of multiple publics and aesthetics, Delafield’s reception in Home also highlights the distinctiveness of Time and Tide which, unlike the more commercially oriented women’s magazines, did publish her ‘character sketches’ which are distinguished by their psychological rather than narrative interest.16 As Baldwin documents, Delafield successfully placed short stories in a number of popular women’s and general-audience magazines, but arguably it was Time and Tide’s

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commitment to the so-called ‘real’ short story that enabled her to transcend what Baldwin describes as ‘magazines’ restraints on art’ (87).17 In October 1928 Time and Tide expanded, increasing in size (from twenty-four to thirty-two pages) and price (from 4d to 6d), and the years 1928 to 1935 mark a high point in Time and Tide’s showcasing of contemporary women writers, both modernist and middlebrow. In 1932 Hamish Hamilton published The Time and Tide Album, a volume of short stories first published in Time and Tide, and edited by E. M. Delafield. Of the thirtyseven stories anthologised, twenty-eight were by women writers, and most date from the inauguration of Time and Tide’s Miscellany section in 1927. At once promoting the authors whose stories were collected here in book form (among them Stella Benson, Eleanor Farjeon, Cicely Hamilton, Winifred Holtby, Sylvia Lynd, Naomi Mitchison, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and E. M. Delafield herself) the Album also promotes Time and Tide as a publisher of quality short fiction. In the mid-1930s Time and Tide changed direction once again, and it is to this reorientation that readers’ reactions to my third example speak.

‘A Letter of Thanks’ In June 1935 a short story by a new voice in Time and Tide’s Miscellany pages, Winifred Williams, produced another eruption in the periodical’s correspondence columns. This story, entitled ‘A Letter of Thanks’, is told from the point of view of a young female nurse, trapped in the routine demands of her work in a small nursing home and longing for marriage which seems to present the only possibility of escape. The narrative is unflinching in its portrayal of the nurse’s unattractive thoughts and emotions: bitterness towards a former patient who, instead of sending her ‘something useful such as gloves or silk stockings’, has sent her an inferior box of chocolates; jealousy of an attractive colleague going out on her half day to meet a lover; fury and resentment when a male patient (who represents the possibility of love) is admitted and put under the charge of another colleague rather than herself. The nurse’s resentment reaches a crescendo when she is required to attend to a woman in labour: This was what their love-making ended in; this was where the unmarried women had the laugh! She hurried along the spotless corridor and down the wide stairs. Let her suffer, she thought, hurrying soundlessly along the carpeted hall; let her suffer! She deserves it, after being loved for so long! She deserves it! I don’t care if the child kills her! (8 June 1935: 865) The ignoble feelings of the nurse in this story aroused what one of Time and Tide’s reviewers would later describe as ‘a storm of controversy’ in the periodical’s correspondence columns (26 Sep 1936: 1320). Several readers wrote to the periodical in protest, describing the story as ‘ugly’, ‘revolting’, ‘nauseating’, ‘unsavoury’, and, according to one, ‘in such vile bad taste’ that if anything of the like should appear again they would ask to be removed from the periodical’s circulation list (22 June 1935: 934). Particularly striking about the accumulation of feeling in these visceral responses is the way that they ‘stick to’ and threaten the reader’s relationship with the whole periodical.18 Another reader, identifying herself as a mother and a trained nurse, ‘deeply regret[ted]’ the publication of the story which was, she claimed, ‘an insult to womanhood’ and

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informed Time and Tide that she had already given the newsagent orders to discontinue delivery of the paper (22 June 1935: 934). These responses to ‘A Letter of Thanks’ reveal the very real risks Time and Tide ran in alienating its audience by publishing the ‘wrong’ kind of fiction. As Baldwin discusses, fiction published in women’s magazines required ‘not only love and brightness but “sympathetic treatment” of women as well’ (91), and at the heart of the letters received by Time and Tide lies a sense that Williams’s story represented a betrayal of the female sex. This becomes particularly apparent in a letter from Isobel Hutton, who identified herself as a member of the Royal British Nurses’ Association (RBNA). Stating that she and her colleagues ‘feel that it is unjust to publish in a paper of good reputation and wide circulation an article such as that of Mrs Winifred Williams’, she writes: We consider that it is calculated to bring our profession into disrepute. If the authoress has based her character study on a nurse of her acquaintance she has had a singular experience and I am sorry she has been unfortunate. If this is not so, we must assume that she has relied upon a misguided popular interest in our affairs to obtain publicity or a study in feminine psychology which is discreditable to the whole sex and which is not more than a projection of her own mind. (22 June 1935: 935) As the first professional organisation of nurses, founded in 1887, the RBNA represented a sizeable number of working women, and thus a significant constituency in Time and Tide’s target audience. Defending its decision to publish the story, in a leading article on ‘The Nursing Profession’ printed in the same issue, Time and Tide stated that it was precisely because the nursing profession had such a ‘lofty reputation’ that it was ‘important to expose, and, if possible, to remedy its defects’ (22 June 1935: 926). However, Time and Tide’s attempt to placate this section of its readership was unsuccessful. In its correspondence columns the following week the periodical printed a communication received from the RBNA stating that its president wished to remove Time and Tide from the exchange list with The British Journal of Nursing, beneath which a letter signed by the secretary of the association stated that its members were ‘unanimously of the opinion’ that Time and Tide’s editorial article on ‘The Nursing Profession’ was a ‘poor attempt . . . to set right what they quite frankly regard as an insult’ (29 June 1935: 980). The affective affront produced by Time and Tide’s publication of ‘A Letter of Thanks’ marks another key moment in the periodical’s relationship with its audience. However, as in the earlier case of Delafield’s story ‘Decision’, this discursive rupture was a moment of opportunity. Placing the communication from the RBNA at the top of the correspondence relating to ‘A Letter of Thanks’ in order to give it ‘the publicity it deserves’ (29 June 1935: 980), in the same editorial note Time and Tide stated that the majority of the many letters it had received actually approved of its decision to publish the story. A selection of these were printed below the letter from the RBNA, with responses ranging from respect for the periodical for taking a stand on what it believed to be the truth, to alarm over the realisation ‘that intelligent and thoughtful people could be so obviously out of sympathy’ with those as ‘unhappy and unfortunate’ as the fictional portrait of an afflicted member of the nursing profession (29 June 1935: 980). Leading the defence was a lengthy letter from an important

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figure in Time and Tide’s periodical community in the 1930s, the radical left-wing activist and Labour MP, Ellen Wilkinson.19 Responding to the ‘blasts of rage’ articulated in Time and Tide’s previous issue, Wilkinson referred readers to evidence presented at a parliamentary Select Committee on Maternity and Nursing Homes, in light of which the home described in Williams’s story ‘seems paradisal’: ‘What was wrong with this, except the stream of ideas in the mind of the nurse . . . which do not seem to have caused her to neglect her patients?’ She continues: I should feel more sympathetic to the ‘ministering angel’ theory of nursing if it were not used so callously to keep the wages and conditions of nursing below the standards that any good general servant would accept nowadays. . . . The value of Mrs. Williams’ story was that it showed the mental reactions which the sort of treatment to which nurses are subject really produces. . . . Probably to most nurses, the private ‘let-outs’ of their own minds are what keeps them as cheerful and kindly as most of them are. But fully developed adults with well-stocked minds such discipline cannot produce, despite the exceptions of those women indomitable enough not to be warped by its callous absurdities. (980) Distinguishing between reportage and fiction, Wilkinson interprets Williams’s story as a damning indictment of the deplorable ‘wages and conditions in nursing’ which became the subject of several government enquiries in the interwar period (Baly 1995: 157–67), and attributes its ‘value’ in particular to its imaginative rendering of how individual subjectivity is profoundly shaped by class and socio-economic status. Indeed, by redirecting readers’ attention from the nursing profession in general to ‘the stream of ideas in the mind of the nurse’, Wilkinson invokes modernist experiments in representing human consciousness which are used here to explore the psychological life of a lower-middle-class working woman rather than the bourgeois individuals of high modernist texts. Two other letters published in the same issue show that not all readers were unappreciative of the story’s status as fiction and its aesthetic qualities. One reader pointed out that ‘Nurse Thompson is not speaking for the nursing profession when she says all the “nasty” things about childbirth and men patients; she is reflecting her own personality’ (29 June 1935: 981); another stated that those who regard ‘A Letter of Thanks’ as an affront to the nursing profession are ‘miss[ing] the point’, for ‘[t]he object of the story is what the object of good fiction should be, the development of character’. Commending the author for her ‘high degree of literary craftsmanship’, the writer of this letter concludes: ‘the story is a discerning presentment of feminine psychology, and I predict that for every reader who, because of it, puts down your fearless periodical, you will gain others whom that quality attracts’ (981). The signature identifies this correspondent as one of Time and Tide’s male readers, and it is significant that the controversy over ‘A Letter of Thanks’ took place at a moment when the periodical was once again renegotiating its audience, and its political and aesthetic affiliations.20 Changes in Time and Tide’s advertising content in the mid-1930s indicate that from this point the periodical was more actively addressing a professional male as well as female readership (Clay 2011: 74–5), and it was in the second half of this decade that Time and Tide completed its rebranding as a less woman-focused, more generalaudience weekly review. At the end of September 1935, less than four months after the

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publication of ‘A Letter of Thanks’, Rhondda wrote in the periodical’s columns: ‘We have found the courage during the past thirty years to look sex in the face. . . . What about dropping sex for a year or two and picking up class instead?’ (28 Sep 1935: 1360). Time and Tide’s increased class-consciousness invites comparison with its closest rival among the intellectual weeklies, the New Statesman and Nation. The New Statesman (which amalgamated with the Nation and Athenaeum in 1931) came into its own in the 1930s, and became the most widely read and respected magazine on the left (Abu-Manneh: 181). As Abu-Manneh’s excavation of the New Statesman literary archive reveals, during the years 1913–39 the periodical published hundreds of short stories, most of them realist and showing ‘a propensity for lower-middle-class and working-class characters and themes’ (xii). This fiction provides an important context for reading Time and Tide’s publication and defence of ‘A Letter of Thanks’, and the new reading communities the periodical was seeking to engage in this period. In October 1935 Time and Tide announced ‘A New Departure’ in its columns, and this particularly in its book section which was to adopt, for the time being, ‘a sociological outlook’ (12 Oct 1935: 1422). In the same issue Time and Tide published a second short story by Winifred Williams, one of nine stories in total that Williams contributed to the periodical between 1935 and 1939.21 Apparently Williams represented a new kind of writer Time and Tide was eager to accommodate in its columns. In its ‘Notes on Some Contributors’, again in the same issue, the periodical identified her as ‘“A Discovery” of Time and Tide’ (1436), echoing the stance of other editors and intellectuals on the left who sought in the 1930s to discover and support ‘workerwriters’ or working-class authors (Hilliard 2006: 130). In the same feature Time and Tide listed V. S. Pritchett, one of the New Statesman’s fiction writers and now widely regarded as one of the great masters of the British short story form (Pritchett contributed book reviews to Time and Tide during May to October 1935). According to Abu-Manneh, Pritchett’s aesthetic strategy ‘is to justify his character’s individuality and particularity’, and his literary project epitomises the thirties cultural politics of the New Statesman and Nation: ‘a commitment to representing ordinary humanity’ (182; 181). ‘A Letter of Thanks’, which like Pritchett’s short stories ‘describes and justifies the lower middle class from within’ (Abu-Manneh: 191), points to a shared political aesthetic between the two writers. By enlisting Winifred Williams to its columns, Time and Tide used its short fiction, along with its editorial content, to steer the periodical in a more class-oriented direction, while at the same time foregrounding the ordinary female subject, and sustaining its commitment to the publication of women writers.

Conclusion While critical discussions of the British short story in the interwar period have tended to be dominated by literary experiments associated with modernist ‘little magazines’, this chapter has shown what a significant and under-recognised resource women’s periodicals like Time and Tide are as repositories of short fiction. More than fifty short stories which saw their original publication in Time and Tide were singled out for inclusion in the ‘Roll of Honour’ and ‘Best British, Irish, and Colonial Short Stories’ lists printed in the Best Short Stories anthologies edited by Cournos and O’Brien, which also selected stories from such publications as Eve, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Queen. In addition, Time and Tide’s commitment to engaging

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with its readers offers a rare opportunity to witness readers’ reactions to these literary contributions. That debates about the short story as a form were taking place in Time and Tide’s correspondence columns further challenges the persistent linkage of consumption with feminine passivity; here Time and Tide’s readers were actively engaged with hot literary topics that exercised modernist critics and other professional experts in the field of interwar literary criticism. This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. I am grateful to Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries for permission to use unpublished materials in their collections.

Notes 1. On the British short story see Bailey and Young 2015, Baldwin 2013, Chan 2007, Krueger 2014, Liggins et al. 2011. 2. Kate Krueger dates its rise slightly earlier, in the explosion of periodical publishing beginning in the 1850s (2014: 1). 3. Lise Shapiro Sanders in this volume discusses this segment of the popular women’s magazine market. 4. This debate began in the late nineteenth century with the launch of the Yellow Book which defined the short story in opposition to those to be found in the Strand (Chan 2007: xii) 5. The other short story collections reviewed were: Pleasure by Alec Waugh; The Greengrass Widow by Jane H. Findlater; Stories of the East by Leonard Woolf. 6. For example, an entry for the Woman’s Leader in The Writers’ and Artists’ Year-Book for 1925 invites submissions from outside contributors, but states that there is ‘No payment’ for articles submitted (86). 7. In After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture and Post-Modernism (1987) Andreas Huyssen posited that high modernism defined itself against mass culture which was aligned with the female, a position since complicated in more recent modernist scholarship. 8. Time and Tide’s complex positioning and repositioning within the interwar periodical landscape is explored at length in my monograph forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press, Time and Tide: the Feminist and Cultural Politics of a Modern Magazine. 9. Elizabeth Robins Papers, Fales Library Series VI, A/1/2. ‘A Little Happiness’, by George Woden, was published in Time and Tide’s issue of 10 December 1920. 10. Letter from Rhondda to Elizabeth Robins, 13 August 1920; Elizabeth Robins Papers. 11. First published in 1915 under the title ‘Autumns I’ in the anti-war little magazine Signature the story appeared in Time and Tide as ‘The Apple Tree’ in its issue of 20 May 1927. The same story was reprinted in Woman’s Home Magazine, an American monthly, in the same year. 12. Delafield joined Time and Tide’s board of directors in December 1927. 13. New Woman stories ‘often focused on isolated incidents’ and showed an ‘interest in the moment and fleeting emotion’ (Liggins et al. 2011: 68). 14. Sarah Grand’s short stories in Emotional Moments (1880) contain daring discussions of marital problems and women’s sexual desires, while the stories in George Egerton’s Keynotes (1893) and Discords (1894) often focus on psychological moments and adopt a female point of view (Liggins et al. 2011: 68–73). 15. See Stella Deen’s discussion in this volume of interwar debates about women readers. 16. Another example is ‘Retrospect’ (2 Mar 1928: 196) which uses first-person narration to construct psychological intensity around an ageing woman’s memory of a female friend from her childhood.

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17. Among the publications Baldwin lists are Cornhill, Eve, Home, Nash’s Pall Mall, Pearson’s, and Windsor Magazine (75). 18. See Sara Ahmed for a discussion of how ‘feelings may stick to some objects’ and how ‘such objects become sticky, or saturated with affect, as sites of personal and social tension’ (2014: 8; 11). 19. Wilkinson was a regular contributor to Time and Tide in the 1930s and a close advisor to Lady Rhondda, particularly after the death of the periodical’s youngest director, Winifred Holtby, in 1935. 20. The correspondent identifies himself as Mr John Davies. 21. A number of these were collected in Fellow-Mortals, published by Constable in 1936 and dedicated to Lady Rhondda. This volume appears to be one of just two books authored by Williams; the second, a novel called The Bee Hive, was published by Faber & Faber in 1941.

Works Cited Abu-Manneh, Bashir. 2011. Fiction of the New Statesman, 1913–1939. Newark: University of Delaware Press. Ahmed, Sara. 2014. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. 2nd edn. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Armstrong, Tim. 2005. Modernism: A Cultural History. Cambridge: Polity. Ashley, Mike. 2006. The Age of the Storytellers: British Popular Fiction Magazines, 1880–1950. London: British Library. Bailey, James and Emma Young. 2015. British Women Short Story Writers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Baldwin, Dean. 2013. Art and Commerce in the British Short Story, 1880–1950. London: Pickering & Chatto. Baly, Monica E. 1995. Nursing and Social Change, Third Edition. London: Routledge. Bingham, Adrian. 2011. ‘Newspaper Problem Pages and British Sexual Culture Since 1918.’ Media History 18.1: 51–63. Chan, Winnie. 2007. The Economy of the Short Story in British Periodicals of the 1890s. London: Routledge. Clay, Catherine. 2009. ‘“On Not Forgetting the Importance of Everything Else”: Feminism, Modernism and Time and Tide, 1920–1939.’ Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism. 7: 20–37. —. 2011. ‘“What We Might Expect – If the Highbrow Weeklies Advertized Like the Patent Foods”: Time and Tide, Advertising, and the “Battle of the Brows”.’ Modernist Cultures 6.1: 60–95. —. 2016. ‘“The Modern Weekly for the Modern Woman”: Time and Tide, Feminism, and Interwar Print Culture.’ Women: A Cultural Review 27.4: 397–411. Cournos, John, and Edward J. O’Brien. 1923. The Best British Short Stories of 1922. London: Jonathan Cape. Dillane, Fionnuala. 2016. ‘Forms of Affect, Relationality and Periodical Encounters or “Pine-apple for the Million”.’ Journal of European Periodical Studies 1.1: 5–24. Green, Barbara. 2012. ‘Complaints of Everyday Life: Feminist Periodical Culture and the Correspondence Column in The Woman Worker, Women Folk and The Freewoman.’ Modernism/ Modernity 19.3: 461–85. —. 2016. ‘The Feel of the Feminist Network: Votes for Women after The Suffragette. Women: A Cultural Review 27.4: 359–377. Hilliard, Christopher. 2006. To Exercise Our Talents: The Democratization of Writing in Britain. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Krueger, Kate. 2014. British Women Writers and the Short Story, 1850–1930: Reclaiming Social Space. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Liggins, Emma, Andrew Maunder and Ruth Robbins. 2011. The British Short Story. Basingtoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Littau, Karin. 2006. Theories of Reading: Books, Bodies and Bibliomania. Cambridge: Polity. Melman, Billie. 1988. Women and the Popular Imagination in the Twenties: Flappers and Nymphs. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph.

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6 Making the Modern Girl: Fantasy, Consumption, and Desire in Romance Weeklies of the 1920s Lise Shapiro Sanders

T

he 1920s saw the rise of a global discourse about ‘the modern girl’, whose fashions, hairstyles, and behaviours shaped, and were shaped by, changing social and sexual mores in the decade following the First World War.1 In Britain, the modern girl was a variation on the New Woman, and drew on depictions of girls and ‘girl culture’ dating back to the 1880s (Mitchell 1995; Moruzi 2012). Working- and lowermiddle-class women aged fourteen to twenty-one – many of whom had completed their secondary education and entered the workforce – were the primary market for the romance weeklies of the 1920s, which have been largely discounted by critics as little more than escapist fantasies. To be sure, the fantasy structure of the romance plot is central to these magazines; as Penny Tinkler has argued, any discussion of ‘modernity’ in the working girls’ papers of the 1920s is circumscribed within the dominant discourse of ‘the heterosexual career’ (1995: 3, 132). Yet girls’ magazines of this period reveal important changes in the pattern of heterosexual romance, many of which can be identified in the transformations wrought by modern consumption and leisure practices, especially the role of a burgeoning fan culture around silent cinema (explored in detail in Lisa Stead’s chapter in this volume). In particular, the magazines’ focus on making glamour and fashionability accessible – whether by offering beauty tips from film stars or by including sewing patterns modelled on current trends – enabled working-class and lower-middle-class readers to appropriate current styles in their own way.2 In the pages of these magazines we can also identify the potential for readers to reinterpret these cultural signifiers in ways that reflect the imaginative possibilities of the fantasy narratives that appeared in romance fiction.3 In what follows, I argue that although the majority of the romance weeklies focused on fashion, glamour, and romance at the expense of explicitly political discourses around suffrage, work, and family, in their pages the figure of the modern girl came to stand in for changing perceptions of women’s social and political agency in the 1920s. Magazines for young ‘business girls’ such as Girls’ Friend, Girls’ Favourite, Girls’ Weekly, and Girls’ World, and their counterparts in the ‘mill-girl’ magazines, of which Peg’s Paper was the forerunner, have historically been accorded little in the way of scholarly attention; important exceptions include the pioneering work of Billie Melman and Penny Tinkler, and the more recent re-evaluation of women’s popular print media by contributors to this volume.4 While some of these magazines presented stories that paralleled the working lives of their readership, others offered the pleasures of reading narratives that bore little relationship to the modern girl’s own experience. In 1970

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Cynthia L. White contended that such fiction showed ‘the deep need of hard-worked, poorly-paid girls and women to escape from their drab surroundings into a colourful, action-packed dream world, where love and riches were for once within reach’ (1970: 98). Yet I would argue that the romance weeklies of the 1920s offered a unique combination of fictions that both departed from and reflected the experiences of the modern girl, and that their appeal lay in precisely this intermingling of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Fictions featuring modern girls whose lives were transformed by their roles as amateur detectives, film stars, and romantic heroines, were complemented by columns urging women to adopt the hairstyles and fashions of the actresses they saw on stage and screen. In some cases the fictions operated in tension with the columns: several of the papers approached their fictions as cautionary tales warning young women of the struggles faced by aspiring actresses, as if to modulate their desires to become the glamorous celebrities they read about in the gossip pages. These stories used the tradition of nineteenth-century literary melodrama to offer guidance to young women on the dangers of urban life and leisure; they reveal a fictional context in which class exploitation and sexual violence were juxtaposed against conversations about female agency in the 1920s.5 This was most true in the case of stories with theatrical settings; while the theatre could not cast off its Victorian associations of sexual immorality and vice, the cinema, as a site of modernity, was invested with a greater sense of social mobility and agency for young women.6 However, even in the cautionary tales of women’s victimisation at the hands of men, the modern young female protagonists of these stories triumph over oppressive social conditions such as economic privation and sexual harassment, navigating a culture of ‘parasexual’ glamour – in Peter Bailey’s terms, ‘a new form of open yet licit sexuality’ – associated with the display industries of stage and screen (Bailey 1990: 13). Rather than functioning as escapist fantasies or emblems of false consciousness, the romance weeklies offered the opportunity for readers to work through both the dangers and the possibilities of social and sexual agency for young women in the 1920s.

Fiction and the New Reading Public The increase in literacy and the explosion of popular reading material that began in the mid-nineteenth century and continued into the 1920s meant that greater numbers of working-class and lower-middle-class women were sought as readers by a growing number of magazines. This ‘New Reading Public’ was the target audience for adventure fiction marketed to boys and young men, and romance fiction marketed to girls and young women.7 Often called ‘pulps’, after the cheap paper they were printed on, weekly story papers, especially the cheap penny weeklies, sold in high numbers throughout the interwar period. In 1932, Q. D. Leavis estimated that the mill-girl magazine Betty’s Paper had a weekly circulation of 175,000, and others might reach 200,000 or 300,000 (1932: 27).8 Magazines featuring ‘serial or long stories’ and appealing to ‘feminine’ interests increased in number from seventy-six in 1914 to 107 in 1935 (McAleer 1992: 46). Although it is difficult to determine the class background of readers for these magazines, period studies of girls’ reading in the 1920s and 1930s suggests that there was significant stylistic crossover between the middle-class ‘schoolgirl’ papers – School Friend, Schoolgirls’ Own (both Amalgamated Press weeklies) and the Girls’ Own Paper, with its evangelist tone and middle-class audience – and the papers for working girls, making

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it difficult to draw class-based distinctions in the magazines’ readership (Phillips 1922; Jenkinson 1940; Jephcott 1942). Indeed, both the schoolgirl weeklies and the papers for business-girls and mill-girls offered a similar type of narrative in which situations from girls’ everyday lives could be reconfigured in a series of ‘amusing feats or exciting adventures’ (Drotner 1988: 213). The working girls’ romance weeklies differed from the ‘erotic bloods’9 for women published in the 1930s – Miracle, Oracle, Lucky Star, Red Star Weekly, Red Letter, Silver Star, and the like – in the perceived age of their readers and in their self-presentation, but many of the stories featured similar narratives of love and romance, set in modern environments such as the revue stage or film studio. I will return to these settings and themes in my concluding discussion of the operation of fantasy in the magazines’ fiction, following an analysis of the two major types of romance weeklies targeted to the modern working girl: the business-girl papers, which shared a more metropolitan setting and focus, and the mill-girl magazines, whose stories (and audiences) were often centred in the northern mill-towns and industrial centres.10 Although these two types of papers may be differentiated by certain aspects of style and content, they shared a market of working-class and lower-middle-class female readers, and combined a focus on accessible beauty with an informal, conversational tone. The scenic quality of the fantasy narratives presented in these magazines enabled young women to explore in imaginative form the scenarios they read about in the fiction and editorial pages. As depicted on the cover of Girls’ Favourite (12 Feb 1927), the heroine of ‘Film Fame – or Love?’ – elegantly clad and coiffed in keeping with fashion trends of the period and posing for the gaze of the camera (and the film-maker) – offered a glamorous ‘new’ form of romance that highlighted the significance of female beauty and self-presentation (Figure 6.1). Such fictions, and their accompanying illustrations and advertisements, contributed

Figure 6.1 ‘Film Fame – or Love?’ © The British Library Board. Shelfmark LOU. LON 709 [1927]. (Source: Girl’s Favourite 12 Feb 1927)

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to an emergent discourse of fashionability and glamour adapted from the visual culture of display on stage and screen.

‘Film Fame – or Love?’: Glamour and Fashionability on Page, Stage, and Screen As noted above, the romance weeklies of the 1920s shared a common market, and the major publishers clearly positioned themselves in relation to their competitors, with magazines that capitalised on similarities in format, style, and content. They each published serials and ‘long complete novels’, and included editorial columns on beauty and fashion, as well as gossip and advice columns. There were nuanced variations on the theme, however: whereas the business-girl papers highlighted the usefulness of beauty and fashion tips from stars of stage and screen, generating a discourse of glamour rendered affordable and accessible for readers, the mill-girl magazines framed this discourse as one in which stars had an opportunity, perhaps even an obligation, to serve as mentors for their fans, guiding young women as to proper etiquette and behavior in their romantic and personal lives. Papers for the modern ‘business girl’ reached a peak of popularity in the 1920s (Tinkler 1995: 52). Their success drew on the Victorian model of the story paper for girls and young women, combining this with an increasing focus on beauty and fashion. Alfred Harmsworth’s Girls’ Friend (1899–1931) was the longest-lived weekly periodical in this category, running alongside the Amalgamated Press’s other Edwardian magazines for girls, including Forget-Me-Not, Girls’ Reader, and Girls’ Home. Girls’ Friend continued in its large-format folio publication into the 1920s, publishing stories featuring the ‘mill-girls and madcaps’ that had proven successful in earlier eras.11 Also popular were shopgirl serials like Marion Hardy’s ‘The Shop Girl and the Crime’ (2 June–28 July 1928) and stories whose protagonists worked as typists and secretaries, in addition to serials featuring girls at school. Throughout its run Girls’ Friend attempted to bridge the gap between home, school, and work in its choice of fictional settings, perhaps reflecting the breadth of the imagined audience, whose formal education might have ended at age fourteen but who retained an interest in the lively antics of schoolgirls. Girls’ Friend depicted a familiar milieu livened by a sense of adventure and play, but its columns shifted focus over the course of the decade, emphasising fashionability and the glamour associated with silent cinema. Another Amalgamated Press paper for business-girls, the small-format Girls’ Favourite (1922–7), and a competing publication from D. C. Thomson, Girls’ Weekly (1912–22), drew from silent cinema in crafting a focus on how to be fashionably modern. Girls’ Favourite featured stills from films then playing, and advice on fashion and beauty from (or ghostwritten on behalf of) film stars: Pola Negri on the most flattering poses and make-up for a photographic portrait (12 Feb 1927: 26), Louise Brooks on the value of having both beauty and brains (‘Even in the realms of business beauty is a decided asset’) (2 Apr 1927: 194), and Bebe Daniels on the ‘latest craze’ in stockings (23 Apr 1927: 276). An article called ‘My Favorite Hat and Why!’ featured five stage and screen actresses discussing their ‘pet style in millinery’ with tips on the best hats for one’s face shape, eyes, and hair (Girls’ Favourite 23 Apr 1927: 277). Girls’ Weekly likewise included regular references to silent-cinema fan culture, with

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items penned by actresses such as Theda Bara, Billie Burke, Gloria Swanson, and Pearl White, and a gossip column called ‘Whispers Heard at the Pictures’ (‘by the girl with the flashlight’). Girls’ Weekly had a strong sense of its readers as fans of silent cinema, and positioned itself accordingly, with editorial advice columns and fiction that educated readers as to how best to negotiate the culture of glamour associated with environments ranging from the department store and beauty parlour to the backstage settings of theatres and film sets, although to be sure, the latter examples were not likely to be the primary environments in which readers themselves were employed. By contrast to the business-girl papers, which were often helmed by male editors, the mill-girl magazine Peg’s Paper (Newnes and Pearson, 1919–40) featured a female editor, Nell Kennedy, who spoke with the voice of shared experience.12 Peg’s Paper was the innovator of the small-format weekly, which sold at 1½d for forty pages of closely printed text and illustrations. The magazine included a long-running column called ‘Whisperings: What I’ve Heard About My Chums’, and a correspondence page entitled ‘My Private Postbag’ offered advice to readers on courtship and marriage, attempting to guide young unmarried women in their decision-making: ‘As you are only nineteen, my dear, you must have your parent’s permission to get married’ (15 May 1919: 23); ‘I think you and the boy are both too young to think about love yet. Let him go his own way and don’t worry about him until you are both older and more sensible’ (13 May 1924: 31).13 Such letters suggest the perceived age range of readers, and underscore the magazine’s emphasis on marriage as the end goal of women’s lives. However, the difference in tone from the previous generations of Victorian and Edwardian magazines – emphasising the reader’s youth and cautioning her not to commit herself too soon – reflects a growing population of women waiting to marry until later in life, and pursuing independent work and leisure interests in the meantime.14 Using an editorial voice combining maternal guidance with friendly advice from a female confidante, Peg’s Paper incorporated beauty items oriented toward the worries of adolescent readers, offering suggestions on the use of face powder, hair and skin care, and body shape and size. A sixteen-year-old reader from Nottingham wrote expressing concerns about being ‘too fat’, and received this reply: ‘Girls at your age are often inclined to be a wee bit on the plump side. You’ll find as you grow older your figure will become normal. In the meantime take plenty of outdoor exercise and avoid fattening foods such as potatoes, pastry, pork, chocolates, and so on’ (15 May 1919: 24). The references to body norms and physical health underscore a developing discourse around the standardised or ideal body, supported by advertisements for Antipon (to combat ‘fatness’), Eyelasheine (‘the wonderful eyebrow and eyelash grower’), Ambron Health Corsets, and Zee-Kol (‘changes the skin in a night’). Another long-running column, ‘Peg Trots ’Round Filmland’, offered titbits of information on the lives and fashions of film stars, as well as beauty hints, again offered in a tone of personalised advice designed to mediate between the glamour of celebrity and the everyday lives of readers. Arita Gillman, then appearing in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1923), suggested that ‘Every girl ought to make a point of being out of doors two hours daily’, and though she recognised that this might not seem feasible for all readers, she urged them to fit exercise into the workday: ‘if her working hours interfere, then she should walk to and from her work every day. It may seem absurd to advise a girl living two or three miles from her work to walk each way, but I can only assure her that within two weeks after she has formed such

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a habit she will feel twice as well as she did before – and look twice as pleasing’ (29 Apr 1924: 16). The following week, Pauline Garon shared the following ‘tip’ for a ‘lovely complexion’: ‘To keep your skin fresh and nice, cleanse it with cold cream instead of soap and water on alternate nights’ (6 May 1924: 14). The two types of columns cross-pollinated as well: in February 1924, four music-hall stars (Hilda Glyder, Rosie Lloyd, Ella Shields, and Winifred Ward) suggested solutions to ‘problems in every girl’s life’, including meeting a sweetheart’s family, finding the right man, and overcoming jealousy (12 Feb 1924: 26–7). The focus on solving readers’ problems by likening them to the experiences of celebrities parallels the emphasis on accessible glamour, but adds to it an element of female mentorship and intimacy that differentiated Peg’s Paper from its competitors. Several other weeklies followed in the footsteps of Peg’s Paper, addressing the same readership and employing similar visual and rhetorical strategies: among them were Betty’s Paper (Allied Newspapers, 1922–41); Pam’s Paper (Allied Newspapers, 1922–7); Polly’s Paper (Shurey’s Publications, 1919–24); and Poppy’s Paper (Amalgamated Press, 1924–36).15 Advertisers benefited from this uniformity: the makers of Beecham’s Pills or Dr. Cassell’s Tablets could be assured of reaching a wide readership in running simultaneous advertisements in competing papers. Such advertisements highlighted the similarities between the reader and the actresses she read about, using cosmetics as the agents of accessible beauty (Figure 6.2). Many depicted women gazing into mirrors or described the ‘sheer delight’ of time spent ‘at the toilet table’, positioning the reader simultaneously as both subject and object of her own look. They also, I would argue, reflected the period’s emphasis on selfdisplay, in framing women as performers of their own beauty, and indeed, in unmasking beauty as itself a performance. The concept of accessible glamour, made possible through cosmetics and the adaptation of fashions under the guidance of celebrity advice, underpinned the emergent fan culture of early cinema, in which stars were simultaneously celebrities and ‘just like you and me’. In both their advertisements and their cover art and illustrations, Peg’s Paper and the other mill-girl magazines incorporated a modern visual discourse drawn from contemporary still and moving images: each magazine used strikingly similar cover illustrations in a graphic mix of black and red to draw the eye, often depicting the heroine of a long-running serial or a new story in a moment of dramatic tension and captioned with a descriptive line from the text. To accompany a story entitled ‘Her Convict Father’, Polly’s Paper depicted a startled young woman looking out of the window as ‘a man’s face appeared close against the glass; an evil face, if there ever was one, with shifty, cunning eyes’ (23 Aug 1920; Figure 6.3). The reflective surfaces and frames in this image – the window, wall and table mirrors, and photograph frame, even the oval shape of the chair back – serve to underscore the ways in which the heroine is positioned both as a subject of the image and bearer of the gaze, negotiating the dangers set into action by the plot.16 As I have argued elsewhere (2010), such illustrations drew on contemporary cultural and technological innovations that linked the aesthetics of melodrama and sensation – heightened dramatic tension, bodily ‘thrills’, and the excitement of dangers safely overcome – with the visual language of silent cinema.17 The strategy of linking magazine illustration with filmic representation proved powerful even in magazines like the short-lived Girls’ World (Shurey’s Publications, 1927), which rarely referred explicitly to silentfilm culture in its pages. For several covers, Girls’ World created an eye-catching

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Figure 6.2 Advertisements. © The British Library Board. Shelfmark P.P.6004.sao; Shelfmark LOU.LON 743 [1927]; Shelfmark P.P.6004.sal. ‘Beecham’s Pills’ courtesy of Glaxo Smith Kline. (Source: ‘Beecham’s Pills’, Polly’s Paper 18 Apr 1921: 42; ‘Rosalia’, Girls’ World 14 Mar 1927: 14; ‘Firmanec’, Peg’s Paper 15 May 1919: 24)

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Figure 6.3 Cover, Polly’s Paper. © The British Library Board. Shelfmark P.P.6004. sao. (Source: Polly’s Paper 23 Aug 1920)

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Figure 6.4 Cover, Girl’s World. © The British Library Board. Shelfmark: LOU.LON 743 [1927]. (Source: Girl’s World 28 Mar 1927) montage of framed images that read like shots cut from the action sequences drawn from the fictions in its pages (Figure 6.4). Despite the fact that these are still line drawings rather than the studio photographs that appeared in other weeklies, the inclusion of such a montage suggests the cultural significance of new and ‘modern’ ways of illustrating these moments of dramatic tension in the narrative.

Scenes of Desire: Fantasy in Fiction and Film Narrative The fictions presented in the romance weeklies reinforced the discourse of modern beauty, glamour, and fashionability in their depiction of young women from middleclass and working-class backgrounds whose lives were transformed by their experiences on stage and screen, yet they did so in a way that highlighted the aesthetics of melodrama and sensation described above. Polly’s Paper, for example, found success over a matter of months with a series of stories featuring such protagonists as a dancer at the Magnet Palace of Varieties (‘A Dancer’s Romance’, 29 Mar 1920); a housemaid who longs to become an actress (‘The Man She Met at the Pictures’, 5 Apr 1920); a young woman who leaves her position in a jewellery shop to join a chorus revue (‘A Revue-Girl’s Romance’, 14 June 1920); and a girl employed behind the counter at a newspaper shop who runs away from home to train for the stage (‘Lured to Ruin’, 20 Dec 1920). The romantic plots of these stories offered guidance to readers in the

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form of vulnerable, easily manipulated young women who make the wrong moral choices but who eventually find their way back to their youthful sweethearts, contrasted with virtuous heroines who fall in love with well-born heroes. In so doing these fictions depicted the theatre as a site of moral and sexual danger for young women, and framed their narratives in the tradition of the literary melodrama in which their heroines successfully triumphed over circumstance. The stories took up themes of fantasy and wish fulfilment in a complex way, by presenting heroines who embrace their roles as purveyors of the parasexual glamour associated with professions highlighting female beauty, but in their conclusions reminding readers that such a profession should be temporary and immediately relinquished upon marriage. But they also depicted the world of stage and screen as a glamorous fantasy setting for the playing out of possibilities unconstrained by the real world. In this sense the fiction offered a range of opportunities and experiences that undoubtedly differed from the everyday lives of readers, but engaged issues that would likely have been familiar to young women grappling with the social reality of financial insecurity, competition in the workplace, and the cultural expectation of a romantic ‘happy ending’ that might well not have been within reach of (or, indeed, desired by) all women.18 In ‘A Dancer’s Romance’, Pearl Wilton has undertaken to care for both her uncle and her younger sister Letty while pursuing a ballet career; and Pearl must rescue Letty, who wants only to ‘make a brilliant match, and have fine dresses, and a RollsRoyce car’, from the clutches of a dissipated rake before she herself can marry (29 Mar 1920: 3). In this story, the sisters’ moral choices are reflected in their choice of clothing: while Pearl is clad in ‘a neat coat and skirt of dark blue serge and a little toque trimmed with violets’ (1), Letty borrows (from an unscrupulous rival of Pearl’s) ‘an evening frock and cloak . . . pale blue ninon and pink rosebuds, and a cape trimmed with white fur – ever so swanky’ (8). The contrast between Pearl’s subdued, practical clothing and Letty’s expensive costume underscores the distinction between the ‘good’ girl, whose name reflects her purity, and the girl who, while not ‘bad’, is at risk of a moral fall resulting from her inappropriate desire for beautiful clothing. Letty, taken in by the atmosphere of wealth and opulence offered by the (not so) Honourable Percy Paliser, falls victim to its charms: To inexperienced Letty that dinner at the Majestic seemed to open a new world, a world of fashion and lovely frocks, glittering jewels and men who were superior human beings . . . The lovely room with its gilding and mirrors, its palms and softly shaded electric lights, was like fairyland; the music of the orchestra, the hum of the voices, the gay, tinkling laughter were all part of the enchantment. She could not know that misery might be lurking beneath some of the fair faces that wore a mask of smiles. (9) ‘A Dancer’s Romance’ takes pains to expose the dangers posed to young women by men poised to take advantage of them. The romance plot returns both Pearl and her sister to the safer pleasures of marriage and domesticity: her ballet master tells her, ‘“Never mind about being queen of the stage, Pearl. It is better to be queen of your husband’s heart”’ (13). In this story, the desire to be fashionable and participate in the culture of display associated with the stage is countered with a moralising discourse centred on the longstanding connection between finery and a woman’s fall from innocence (Valverde 1989).

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This fictional narrative reworks the editorial advice column by reminding modern young women of the potential risks of allowing their desires to proliferate unrestrained. The stage could not entirely leave behind the Victorian atmosphere of moral danger with which it was still associated; but given the romance weeklies’ investment in the nascent culture of silent-film fandom, in their fiction pages the cinema fares better as a realm in which young women can safely explore the possibilities of fantasy. Fictional narratives of the ordinary girl who becomes a cinema star enabled readers to explore, in imaginative form, the experience of safely acting a life not their own. A striking example is ‘His Mad Love’ (Peg’s Paper 29 Apr 1924), which featured Mary Stewart, a paid secretary for the aristocratic but impoverished Tallett family, at the centre of ‘a film story of love, passion, and intrigue’. In this story, Sir Andrew Tallett decides to let the family’s ancestral home, Archrock Castle, to a film company in order to pay debts incurred by his wife and dissolute son. Ben Harwood, the film’s writer and producer, is ultimately revealed to be the true heir of Archrock Castle, disinherited through no fault of his own, and he rescues Mary from the clutches of Dick Tallett (who has tried to assault and then kidnap Mary) in order to marry the beautiful young woman with whom has he fallen in love at first sight. Early on, Harwood narrates the plot of his film story to Mary, telling her that the ‘end scene’ has yet to be written, and the closing scene of the story is described as ‘the last close-up’: ‘Then while her lips were still burning with his kisses, he led before the waiting camera his bride-to-be’ (29 Apr 1924: 28). The plot of ‘His Mad Love’ enables the rise of the middle-class heroine, the daughter of a bank clerk, and restores the moral man to his true aristocratic position. The central element of these fictions – an ordinary young woman who succeeds despite, or because of, extraordinary circumstances – structures the romantic plots that invariably conclude the narrative trajectory. For readers, these stories present an experience that simultaneously reflects aspects of their own lives – exploitative employers, unscrupulous men, and the fellowship of other working women – and offers the variety of an unusual, often ‘thrilling’ story very different from their own. It also, crucially, depends on and integrates the fantasy structure associated with silent cinema – where all is not what it seems, and where everyday people become stars who in turn embody the everyday – that creates a productive imaginative experience for viewers. This fantasy structure can be most clearly identified through a focus on the scenic elements of display and desire: as Elizabeth Cowie underscores in her reading of Laplanche and Pontalis, the pleasure of fantasy itself lies ‘not [in] the achievement of desired objects, but [in] the arranging of, a setting out of, desire’ (1997: 133). In this sense, we can read the romance fictions as particularly illuminating of the ‘mise en scène of desire’ in which as much pleasure may be taken in the act of desiring and the numerous ‘diversions, delays, and obstacles’ to narrative satisfaction as in the traditional romantic ending (Cowie 1997: 133). A fitting example of the scenic qualities of fantasy appeared in a 1924 Poppy’s Paper series called ‘Cinema Shadows’, in which the ‘winsome factory lass’ Mary Deane serves as an understudy, inspiring ‘the envy and hatred of the jealous leading lady, Norma Vayne, and her paid spy Stella Mason’. Undaunted by her rivals, Mary learns the ‘art’ of speaking ‘through the face’, and practices daily before a mirror before she goes on camera for the first time in a scene set in a glamorous hotel: The walls were made to resemble dark oak panelling, and beautiful alabaster globes of light hung on golden chains from the ceiling. There were little flower-decked

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lise shapiro sanders tables, with polished glass and silver plate, bottles of champagne in ice buckets, and on the floor a beautiful carpet into which your feet sank as you walked. . . . It was a great game, I thought, sitting there, sipping imitation champagne – which was really ginger ale – and chatting casually to my companion as though I had been used to dining at swell restaurants all my life. (29 Mar 1924: 25)

This scene depicts a fantasy of wealth that depends on thick descriptions of the mise en scène: the walls, the carpet, the lighting, and props all contribute to a sense of plenitude in the beautiful and luxurious setting. At the same time, however, Mary cannot forget that hers is a performance of wealth and luxury – the champagne is really ginger ale – and that she does not live this way on a daily basis. The series emphasises the contrast between Mary’s former life labelling bottles in a pickle factory and her present experiences. Driving to a location in Chinatown Mary muses, ‘“From Factory Girl to Film Actress” – it sounded like the title of some wonderful book, and only the gentle motion of the car and the feel of the soft cushions at my back assured me I was not dreaming’ (29 Mar 1924: 28). The self-conscious reflection on the titles of the stories that appear in such ‘wonderful book[s]’ underscores the perceived value of a place for fantasy for young women readers, even as the everyday world serves to demystify the dream and remind readers that such a fantasy is momentary – at least until the next instalment in the series. Serialised fictions such as these – as well as the complete novels and novelettes targeted to women readers – dwelt at length on descriptions of elegant gowns, sumptuous meals, and decorative surroundings, highlighting the scenic qualities of the fantasies presented in these fictions and the pleasures to be taken in desire itself, even should it remain unfulfilled.19 Such scenes resonated with the visual culture of early cinema and other popular media and often led to these stories being adapted for the screen, as in the case of Ethel M. Dell’s The Way of An Eagle, originally serialised in The Red Magazine in 1911, made into a film by G. B. Samuelson in 1918, and subsequently reprinted in Girls’ Mirror (19 Aug 1929). The back-and-forth movement in which stories migrated from text to screen and back again suggests both the perceived value of capitalising on successful stories and genres, and the increasing efforts to target women as consumers, readers, and members of the film audience in the 1920s.

Conclusion Despite their investment in fantasy, the romance weeklies of the 1920s were consumed by readers who had no illusions about the constraints of their working lives. The inclusion of patterns modelled on glamorous fashions and the letters to the editor seeking guidance on courtship and marriage suggest that readers fully recognised the difference between their own lives and the lives of those they read about. This was also true of film-goers in the same period: as one respondent to a survey of film audiences noted, ‘My common sense has told me that I couldn’t be a poor girl and suddenly be whirled into London and New York society.’20 Nonetheless, working-class girls and young women were sought out by magazines that drew them into a culture of consumption, beauty, and fashionability, a discourse of glamour that symbolised the greater freedoms of the modern young woman’s lifestyle. With these freedoms, however, came certain dangers, at least as the magazines saw it: readers might well aspire to emulate the styles worn by their favourite stars, but should they wish to try for a career on

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stage or screen themselves, they needed to be cognisant of the risks of sexual and economic exploitation. In this sense the magazines took on a pedagogical function, using fiction and editorial advice columns to remind readers that modern girls still faced problems of social inequity. Indeed, since some conservative writers persisted in thinking modern girls were unable to meet the intellectual demands of suffrage and citizenship, young women encountered very real discrimination in the popular press, as Cheryl Law notes in an analysis of a 1924 article by Gilbert Frankau entitled ‘What Does the Girl of Today Want?’ (Woman Aug 1924: 399–401, cited in Law 1997: 207). Although debates over the ‘flapper vote’ rarely appeared in the pages of the romance weeklies, in contrast to monthlies like Modern Woman targeted to a more middle-class audience, in their pages concerns about the modern young woman’s new-found social and sexual agency were negotiated and rearticulated in less explicitly political but nonetheless significant ways.21 Even if readers’ lives were destined to end in marriage (a prospect explicitly taken up by the magazines targeted to married women discussed elsewhere in this volume), the fictions presented in the romance weeklies served as a counterbalance to the teleological narrative of heterosexual romance and offered a sense of pleasure in a temporal moment of relative freedom for young working women. The possibilities embodied by the fantasy discourses they produced, opening up different, uniquely ‘modern’ careers, leisure pastimes, and ways of crafting the self, suggested powerful opportunities for imagining – and perhaps embodying – different life stories than those envisaged for them by others. I would like to thank the editors of this collection, particularly Catherine Clay, and the two anonymous readers for their comments on earlier drafts of this essay. I am also grateful to Lanah Swindle for research assistance, and to Ellen Boucher, Alicia Christoff, Suzanne Daly, Amy Martin, Cornelia Pearsall, and Eric Sanders for sharing their insights with me.

Notes 1. The Modern Girl Around the World Research Group (Weinbaum et al.) 2008; Nicholas 2015. 2. For a related discussion of sewing and dressmaking in women’s magazines of this period, see Hackney 1999. 3. In making such a claim I am committed to the productive possibilities of fantasy as articulated elsewhere in my work on women’s reading (Sanders 2006: 140–2). Here I draw on psychoanalytic understandings of fantasy as ‘not the object of desire, but its setting’ (Laplanche and Pontalis 1968: 27). For a fuller treatment of fantasy as the ‘mise en scène of desire’, see Cowie 1997. 4. See chapters by Penny Tinkler, Lisa Stead, and Rebecca Roach. 5. My reading of these fictions in the context of nineteenth-century melodrama has been shaped by Brooks 1976, Walkowitz 1992, and Hadley 1995. For a related discussion, see Sanders 2010. 6. For more on perceptions of Victorian theatres and music halls as sites of moral and sexual danger for women, see Davis 1991 and Davis 1992; and on the cinema as a site of modernity and possibility for young women, see Stead in this volume (Chapter 7). 7. For an in-depth study of publishing trends in this period, see McAleer 1992. The ‘New Reading Public’ was a term coined by Sidney Dark in his 1922 book of the same name. However,

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8.

9.

10. 11. 12.

13.

14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21.

lise shapiro sanders girls certainly read books marketed primarily to boys: McAleer cites a 1917 article in The Times which noted that ‘the tastes of the working-girl reader incline to the adventurous and the romantic’ and that girls shared ‘a keen appreciation of boys’ books’ (1992: 31). Leavis characterised papers in this class, with London Novels, Love Stories, Peg’s Paper, and Eve’s Own, as ‘weekly papers in magazine form containing the crudest marketable fiction’ (1932: 12). On the use of the term ‘erotic bloods’ for this group of magazines, see McKibbin 1998: 492–6. McKibbin notes, ‘The erotic bloods dealt only in strong emotions starkly conceived. There is always love, but when love comes “it comes in a sea of jealousy, scandal, revenge, lying, guilty secrets, murder, bigamy, and seduction”’ (McKibbin 1998: 493, citing Jephcott 1942: 109–10). The presence of violence is signalled in the use of ‘bloods’, which references the ‘penny blood’ or ‘penny dreadful’ of the nineteenth century. Melman 1988 and Tinkler 1995 both use this categorisation, a distinction based on the magazines’ own marketing strategies. For more on the earlier generations of girls’ magazines, see Mitchell 1995, Cadogan and Craig 1976, and Sanders 2006, especially Chapter 4. Kennedy had been a teacher in Oxfordshire before moving to London to work in journalism; she was the founder and editor of Peg’s Paper and Lucky Star, among others (Tinkler 1995: 69). For more, see the Appendix. Although excerpts from letters were occasionally published, the usual practice was to feature responses to readers’ queries; hence the correspondence columns highlight the voice of the editor rather than that of the reader. On the demographics of women’s work and leisure in this period, see Todd 2005 and Langhamer 2000. Typically sold for 1½d–2d, these weekly story papers advertised one or two serials, which ran from six to twenty weeks at a time, and at least one ‘long complete novel’ or short story. Accompanying the major features were columns on sewing, occasionally with patterns overlaid on the pages for readers to cut out and use in making their own clothes; beauty (with tips from stage and film stars); and editorial advice, again modelled on ‘Peg’s’ conversational, informal tone. For more, see the Appendix. Thanks to Catherine Clay for her thoughts on the visual rhetoric of this image. On the ‘thrills’ associated with melodrama and early cinema, see Gunning 1986, Gunning 1989, and Gunning 1994. Especially given the loss of men in the Great War; for more, see Todd 2005, Holden 2007, and Nicholson 2008. As Janice Radway notes in her discussion of twentieth-century romance fiction, the emphasis on description functions as an ‘essential shorthand’ that establishes, through repetition, the primacy of fashion and decor in the ‘imaginary world’ of the story and in readers’ own lives (1991: 193–4). Fairlie 2014: 132, quoting the Birkenhead Vigilance Committee, The Cinema and the Child: A Report of Investigations, June-October 1931, 11. On debates about girlhood and the ‘flapper vote’, see Melman 1988, Bingham 2002, and Bingham 2004. For a discussion of the vote in the context of weekly and monthly magazines for women, see Hackney 2008.

Works Cited Bailey, Peter. 1990. ‘Parasexuality and Glamour: The Victorian Barmaid as Cultural Prototype.’ Gender & History 2.2: 148–72. Bingham, Adrian. 2002. ‘“Stop the Flapper Vote Folly”: Lord Rothermere, the Daily Mail, and the Equalization of the Franchise, 1927–1928.’ Twentieth-Century British History 13.1: 17–37.

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—. 2004. Gender, Modernity, and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brooks, Peter. 1976; rev. edn 1995. The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess. New Haven: Yale University Press. Cadogan, Mary and Patricia Craig. 1976. You’re a Brick, Angela! A New Look at Girls’ Fiction from 1839 to 1975. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. Cowie, Elizabeth. 1997. Representing the Woman: Cinema and Psychoanalysis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Davis, Tracy C. 1991. Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in Victorian Culture. London: Routledge. —. 1992. ‘Indecency and Vigilance in the Music Halls.’ British Theatre in the 1890s: Essays on Drama and the Stage. Ed. Richard Foulkes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 111–131. Drotner, Kirsten. 1988. English Children and Their Magazines, 1751–1945. New Haven: Yale University Press. Fairlie, Helen A. 2014. Revaluing British Boys’ Story Papers, 1918–1939. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Gunning, Tom. 1986. ‘The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectator, and the AvantGarde.’ Wide Angle 8.3/4: 63–70. —. 1989. ‘An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and The (In)Credulous Spectator.’ Art & Text 34: 31–45. —. 1994. ‘The Horror of Opacity: The Melodrama of Sensation in the Plays of André de Lorde.’ Melodrama: Stage Picture Screen. Ed. Jacky Bratton, Jim Cook, and Christine Gledhill. London: BFI. Hackney, Fiona. 1999. ‘Making Modern Women, Stitch by Stitch: Dressmaking and Women’s Magazines in Britain 1913–39.’ The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking. Ed. Barbara Burman. Oxford: Berg. 73–95. —. 2008. ‘“Women Are News”: British Women’s Magazines 1919–1939.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 114–33. Hadley, Elaine. 1995. Melodramatic Tactics: Theatricalized Dissent in the English Marketplace, 1800–1885. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Holden, Katherine. 2007. The Shadow of Marriage: Singleness in England, 1914–60. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Jenkinson, A. J. 1940. What Do Boys and Girls Read? London: Methuen. Jephcott, Agnes Pearl. 1942. Girls Growing Up. London: Faber & Faber. Langhamer, Claire. 2000. Women’s Leisure in England, 1920–1960. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Laplanche, Jean and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis. [1968] 1986. ‘Fantasy and the Origins of Sexuality.’ Formations of Fantasy. Ed. Victor Burgin, James Donald, and Cora Kaplan. London: Routledge. 5–34. Law, Cheryl. 1997. Suffrage and Power: The Women’s Movement, 1918–1928. London: I. B. Tauris. Leavis, Q. D. 1932. Fiction and the Reading Public. London: Chatto & Windus. McAleer, Joseph. 1992. Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914–1950. Oxford: Clarendon Press. McKibbin, Ross. 1998. Classes and Cultures in England, 1918–1951. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Melman, Billie. 1988. Women and the Popular Imagination in the Twenties: Flappers and Nymphs. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Mitchell, Sally. 1995. The New Girl: Girls’ Culture in England, 1880–1915. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Moruzi, Kristine. 2012. Constructing Girlhood Through the Periodical Press, 1850–1915. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. Nicholas, Jane. 2015. The Modern Girl: Feminine Modernities, The Body, and Commodities in the 1920s. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Nicholson, Virginia. 2008. Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Phillips, Margaret. 1922. The Young Industrial Worker. London: Oxford University Press/ Humphrey Milford. Radway, Janice A. [1984] 1991. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Sanders, Lise Shapiro. 2006. Consuming Fantasies: Labor, Leisure, and the London Shopgirl, 1880–1920. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. —. 2010. ‘Melodrama, Sensation, and the Discourse of Modernity in “Love and the Bioscope”.’ Reading the Cinematograph: The Cinema in British Short Fiction 1896–1912. Ed. Andrew Shail. Exeter: University of Exeter Press. 204–17. Tinkler, Penny. 1995. Constructing Girlhood: Popular Magazines for Girls Growing Up in England, 1920–1950. London: Taylor and Francis. Todd, Selina. 2005. Young Women, Work, and Family in England, 1918–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Valverde, Mariana. 1989. ‘The Love of Finery: Fashion and the Fallen Woman in NineteenthCentury Social Discourse.’ Victorian Studies 32.2: 169–88. Walkowitz, Judith R. 1992. City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in LateVictorian London. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Weinbaum, Alys E., Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Y. Dong, and Tani E. Barlow (The Modern Girl Around the World Research Group). 2008. The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization. Durham: Duke University Press. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph.

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7 ‘Dear Cinema Girls’: Girlhood, Picture-going, and the Interwar Film Magazine Lisa Stead

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ilm- and cinema-going became an increasingly significant part of everyday life for many British women between the wars. An estimated 40 per cent of the population attended the cinema weekly by the 1930s (Kuhn 2002: 1), and the rise in more luxurious cinema venues, the dominance of the feature film, and the industry’s attempts to attract a middle-class audience by promoting cinemas as an arena of affordable luxury were all factors that opened cinema culture to female audiences. Less documented, however, is the role of gendered print networks in developing and sustaining this audience; in particular, the contribution of British fan magazines to building a gendered national film culture. Film fan papers evolved from their earliest incarnation as story magazines in the 1910s into multi-feature media by the late teens, increasingly emulating the format of the woman’s magazine as a means for addressing a growing female spectatorship. A range of such British publications emerged across the teens and 1920s, including Picture Stories Magazine, Film Weekly, Pictures and Picturegoer, Girls’ Cinema, and Picture Show. These papers gave their readers a sense of participation in an appreciative community of cinema-goers, sharing their enthusiasm for film and its increasing presence within everyday life. Film periodicals reviewed current releases, recommended films and new stars, provided personal information that the initially silent and largely monochrome screen could not offer, and created platforms for interaction through competitions and letter writing. In doing so, they capitalised on the glamour of the film world and of Hollywood in particular, offering British readers imported images of modern femininity in a period during which American cinema dominated UK screens. While film culture in the UK was thus largely American, the reception of its images, stars, and representations of modern girlhood was shaped in more specifically British ways. Film magazines constitute a distinct genre within the wide variety of film writing emergent during this period. They marketed themselves as pop-culture artefacts, self-consciously feminised, offering a strong contrast to the highbrow and experimental film writings of journals such as Close Up (1927–33), and the critical commentary of newspaper film writing from popular British critics such as C. A. Lejeune or Walter Mycroft. Their historical and critical value resides precisely with this lowbrow and seemingly more ephemeral status, however. Such historical artefacts are worthy of the same level of detailed critical attention already levied at other

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kinds of interwar film writing. Critics such as Laura Marcus (2007), David Trotter (2007), and Elaine Showalter (1992) have examined women’s writings around cinema culture through modernist and experimental literary techniques. Womencentred film periodicals in contrast offer immediate reflections on women’s experiences of modernity, where popular culture, public life, and debates about women, home, duty, and domesticity intersected. The value of film culture for shaping and reflecting upon women’s experience of modernity was taken seriously by both the creators and consumers of these papers. Within their pages, we find detailed explorations of the home lives and domestic identities of female stars, both Hollywood and European, alongside advertising for cosmetics, women’s clothing, and domestic products, presenting readers with fashion, etiquette, and homemaking advice learned from the movies. A significant portion of such film magazine content was aimed toward younger readers and fans, and the girl reader in particular. In the early twentieth century, girlhood was not strictly categorised by age: the term could encompass a figure aged ‘anywhere from ten years old to her mid-twenties’ (Smith 2011: 7). Carolyn Jackson and Penny Tinkler have described the ‘modern girls’ of this decade as ‘white, single, young, urban women aged 16–30 years’ (2007: 253). Magazines for such modern girls were prominent in Britain between the wars, targeting both working-class and middleclass schoolgirls as well as working girls ‘employed in factories, mills and commerce’ (Tinkler 1995: 1). Film magazines made an important contribution to this network of popular print ephemera, offering a film-inflected discourse on interwar girlhood within a broader market of popular girl-focused periodicals, such as Girls’ Friend, Girls’ Favourite, or Girls’ Weekly, as explored by Lisa Shapiro Sanders in this volume in her chapter on British romance weeklies of the 1920s. Throughout this chapter, I profile prominent British cinema magazines on the interwar market and look in detail at their address to this girl cinema-goer. The chapter is attentive to the differences between publications and how their inflections of girlhood were mediated through their varied, intermedial modes of address. Representations of girlhood within these papers were built predominantly around young, and largely American female star images, but they were also constructed through particular uses of the specific tools and techniques of magazine media. The film paper blended photographs, film stills, and illustrations with prose, storytelling, and advertising, and scattered representations of its stars across these varied platforms, breaking apart the sense of a gendered star identity as stable or singular. Film periodicals thus invited readers into a complex and unstable network of filminflected girlhoods. They did so in a period during which youthful femininity was defined more closely in relation to class and marital status than age, in which British class structures were reformulating, and in which representations of the unmarried working girl and young wife had complex roles to play in defining a national culture after the war. As such, reading the interwar film magazine is one way of rereading the narrative of ‘home and duty’, complicating a domestic ideal by offsetting more glamorous images and alternative possibilities of modern femininity against more conservative discourses on domesticity and female identity. The print cultures of film affected ideas about girlhood, class, and mass culture in this way, allowing their readers to simultaneously assign, test out, and in some ways rewrite girls’ culturally ascribed domestic roles.1

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Constructing Girlhood in the Fan Magazine The image of the cinema-going girl can be found in a range of print media across the teens, 1920s, and 1930s. She was fictionalised and serialised in story papers and film library series, such as The Schoolgirls’ Own Library; she also featured in other interwar literatures, from modernist to middlebrow fictions, and notably within stories written by and for women. Writers like Winifred Holtby, Elizabeth Bowen, Stella Gibbons, and Jean Rhys depicted cinema-going young women; film critics further spoke of the girl film fan. Dorothy Richardson, for example, wrote in the experimental journal Close Up of the ‘young woman’ to be found facing the screen, ‘by no means silent, in her tens of thousands’ (1928: 174).2 Fan magazines were thus part of a wider set of interwar literary and media discourses constructing images of the girl cinemagoer and the girl on screen. A range of intersecting debates and discussions from the period emphasised the perceived vulnerability and gullibility of the young film fan. The ‘film-struck’ girl was at the centre of a network of media soliciting her attention, time, and money. Popular culture exploited such dreams of stardom, and capitalised on the glamorous appeal of the screen, whilst the female cinema-goer simultaneously found herself subject to cultural concerns about the lowbrow reputation and potentially damaging effects of both movies and cinema environments that threatened to disrupt a more conservative, domesticated image of youthful femininity. The female fiction consumer – the girl who read magazines, watched movies, and purchased cheap paperback romances – was a signifier at this time for the intellectually damaging qualities of mass entertainment media. Cinema was one notable target for these concerns, not only because it sold glamorous fantasies to its apparently naive young consumers, but because it enticed young women into a public space that potentially posed a threat to their modesty and safety. Young female viewers/readers threatened to disrupt what Judy Giles has described as the ‘anti-heroic and anti-romantic mood of post First World War England’ (1995: 21), falling under the influence of what author John Sommerfield characterised as ‘synthetic Hollywood dreams’ (1936: 30). Fan magazines were often perceived as part of the problem, emblematic of both the intellectual vapidity of film culture and the modernity of a new generation of young female consumers. In an article for the Manchester Guardian the film critic C. A. Lejeune described the fan paper Picturegoer, for example, as ‘pathetic reading’ (13 May 1922: 9), suggesting that it degraded an audience’s ability to appreciate quality art and entertainment. For the young women who read them, however, these papers had genuine value as an escapist source of pleasure and fantasy. By taking film seriously, and, more importantly, by taking female cinema culture seriously, fan magazines did offer some challenges to the dismissal of cinema as intellectually damaging, and the image of girl fans as mindless consumers. The fan magazine presented an opportunity to talk back to the more negative connotations that this figure carried by both centralising her importance, and by creating a space for her own self-representation in the form of letter writing, competitions, and poetry. Interwar fan magazines used the term ‘girl’ in varied and sometimes contradictory ways in their editorial and their advertising, which spoke to the malleable construction of the category at this time. Fan magazines attached the term ‘girl’ to descriptions of child actresses from as young as aged six, but also used the term to describe teenagers and young women in their twenties, alongside older, married female stars and stars

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with young families. I focus here on girlhood in three prominent papers on the UK interwar market: Picturegoer, Girls’ Cinema, and Picture Show. These papers are representative of the spectrum of class and age address that British fan papers cultivated, and all three in some way made an appeal to a girl readership. Pictures and Picturegoer included ‘Young Picturegoer’ sections, while Girls’ Cinema traded upon its specific address to a youthful female reader. In its first issue in October 1920, the magazine declared itself the ‘No.1 of the New Paper for Girls!’ Picture Show also, like all the fan magazines, retained a recurrent focus on youthful starlets and characters, offering a point of potential identification for its girl readers. Pictures and Picturegoer was Britain’s leading film periodical in the interwar period, marketing itself as ‘the screen’s most popular magazine’ (Mar 1928: 3). Targeting middle-class readers, the paper offered a middlebrow image of girlhood alongside its address to young middle-class mothers. It included advertising for cosmetics and beauty products that traded on girlhood as a signifier for aspirational beauty ideals – promising to help consumers maintain ‘that schoolgirl complexion’ (19–26 Jan 1918: 49) – and published letters from young female readers who wrote in praise of stars like Mary Pickford as ‘Goddess of Childhood and little short frocks!’ (Oct 1925: 48). Girls’ Cinema provided a different kind of address, explicitly targeting a younger and more working-class readership. Annette Kuhn describes ‘the comic-style pulp format’ (1996: 184) of the paper, with its inclusion of an agony column and romantic serial stories echoing the downmarket women’s magazines of the 1930s. The paper relied heavily on competitions, and served as more of ‘a general interest magazine for adolescent girls rather than a film magazine’ (Glancy 2014: 58). As such, Girls’ Cinema offers a useful example of how discourses on girlhood coalesced around cinema as a loose point of identification and interest for a youth readership, as the ‘Girl’s Gossip’ page from an early 1923 issue below illustrates (Figure 7.1). The page makes no direct mention of cinema, but also further complicates its appeal to ‘girls’ in its visual representation, offering a tension between the sophisticated, fashionable, and distinctly older looking women in the illustrated header and the younger, more overtly girlish illustration of the ‘Finishing Touches’ insert. Cinema offers a platform for holding together such varied articulations of girlhood. In further contrast to Picturegoer, Picture Show shared a publisher and a cheaper price bracket with Girls’ Cinema, and its advertising content suggests a more workingclass address, with less attention to ‘consumer luxuries’ (Glancy 2014: 56). Unlike Girls’ Cinema, however, the paper generally targeted older women, focusing on ‘married and middle-aged’ readers (Glancy 2014: 56). Despite this, its pages contained a range of representations of youthful femininity designed to reach a young female audience, particularly in its story serialisations. Almost all of the early fan magazines emphasised the participatory structure of their media. They encouraged the debate and deconstruction of star images in particular through a sense of a virtual community, where readers could see their letters published amidst a collective of other critical and creative spectators. Girls’ Cinema encouraged readers to write to its stars as well as to the paper, supplying studio correspondence details and featuring a ‘Girls Gossip’ page for such purposes. Female readers also used participatory platforms to interact with one another and swap their ideas through Picturegoer’s ‘What do You Think?’ letters page. In late 1927, for example, ‘Alys’ and ‘Constance Nymph’ (a reference to Margaret Kennedy’s bestselling 1924 novel The Constant Nymph) debated the merits of English film star Victor McLaglen, with the

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Figure 7.1 ‘Girls’ Gossip’. Courtesy of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, the University of Exeter. (Source: Girls’ Cinema 1 Dec 1923: 3)

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latter declaring of the former that ‘that nice girl has sense!’ (Dec 1927: 90). Picturegoer readers also debated the fashions of girl stars, with one reader asserting that ‘young girls’ on the screen ‘are very much over-dressed’, citing Constance Talmadge’s turn as a ‘schoolgirl of eighteen or so’ as ‘far too extravagantly dressed for her part’ (Nov 1921: 62). The format of these magazines therefore encouraged images of girlhood to remain open for British female consumers, who were invited to see themselves as a critical as well as an admiring community. Participatory formats allowed girl readers to learn from and experiment with star images that offered points of both connection and radical contrast to their own lives. The extravagance of costuming in particular was a topic of constant debate, where American stars were offset, both positively and negatively, against the seemingly more austere fashions of British stars.3 In these ways, the reception of an Americanised film culture through the British fan magazine allowed female reader/spectators to mobilise non-domestic representations in order to work through changing relationships between traditional and more modern forms of girlhood and femininity. Models of girlhood were also shaped by the editorial structures and tones of the papers. Girls’ Cinema, for example, was presented through the editorial voice of ‘Fay Filmer’. As an organising persona who arranged and presented content for the reader, she spoke of herself as a fellow ‘girl’. The magazine structured a gossipy, friendly, confessional exchange between Filmer and its readership. Every item that was not a short story or serial fiction was prefaced by a brief introduction from the figure in the early issues, who wrote of her readership as ‘old friends’, attempting to present them with a ‘paper after your own heart’ (16 Oct 1920: 14–15). As a result, the entire text appears as if assembled by her discerning hand, structured to appeal to a particular model of contemporary girlhood: what Filmer refers to as ‘Up-to-Date Girls’. Filmer asserts that ‘we are one in our liking for photo-plays, and I want us to be one in our outlook on questions that are all-important in the girl of to-day’ (16 Oct 1920: 30), affirming the link between film fandom and a sense of a modern, youthful gendered community, and focusing on how girls could improve themselves, dress better, be more attractive to men, and navigate different social situations. In the teens and 1920s, editorial content for the Picturegoer tended to refer to female stars generally as ‘girls’; but the word is mobilised more widely across the British film papers to address both a child readership and child performers. Picturegoer’s ‘Young Picturegoer’ competitions cited fifteen years of age as the cut off point for entrants, while a ‘Picture Girl’ competition that ran in 1918 bracketed its entrants as between fifteen and twenty-five years of age (14–21 Sep 1918: 271), suggesting that the magazine designated its image of the ‘child’ girl as below the school-leaving age in this period, demarcating ‘schoolgirl’ from ‘girl’ as young woman. An early 1918 issue, for example, heads the paper’s ‘Young Picturegoer’ section with an image of six-year-old star Mary McAllister hugging armfuls of dolls (29 Dec–5 Jan 1918: 18). These columns profiled child stars and addressed child readers, inviting them to write to the paper and participate in competitions, including painting or colouring, and awarding a range of prizes such as sweets and games. Alongside their address to working-age girls, the appeal to very young readers – particularly by addressing them as aspiring stars – was not inappropriate to the early star system of this period, in which many leading film actresses began their careers at a young age. Picture Show in particular frequently noted the experience that female

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stars had gained as children. In profiling British film star Alma Taylor, for example, the magazine recounted how ‘at the age of twelve years, she unconsciously played a part in a film play – in a moving picture camera recording the gaiety of a party of which she was one of the guests’. The future star was then ‘singled out, and has ever since been a member of the Hepworth Film Company’ (22 Nov 1919: 12). Another piece on Margery Daw notes that she ‘was just fourteen when she first appeared on the screen’ (28 Feb 1920: 8). This kind of ‘making it’ narrative was typically used for many young female actresses. It constructed a connection between the process of becoming a girl and the process of becoming a successful film personality, transitioning from childhood into girlhood as one transitions from bit player to star. A later piece in Picture Show on actress June Caprice, for example, notes how she discarded seemingly childish interests upon becoming a screen star, swapping dolls for domestic pets: ‘when she went into pictures she thought that she was too grown up for dolls and went in for cats and dogs instead’ (31 Jan 1920: 8). Young girls ‘grow up’ to be stars, blossoming into stardom as a loose parallel to maturity and self-possession as children move towards modern girlhood. Interviews, features, and screen-star competitions capitalised on the idea that young readers could learn from and aspire to be like, or to be, screen stars. As such, the links between cinema as an important element in how both girl stars and girl readers grew up created an exploitable affinity between the two, superficially compressing the distance between Hollywood idols and working-class and middle-class British girls. Within interwar British culture more widely, the figure of the girl spoke to uncertainties about the boundaries between youth and adulthood, which were increasingly reconfigured as more women entered the workforce and the age for compulsory post-elementary education was extended to fourteen years. Girls were also a focal point for concerns about gendered ideas of tradition and modernity, and public and private, particularly because they were one of the primary targets for a growing mass culture. Into the 1920s, ‘Victorian notions of “girlhood” persisted’ (Delaney 2003: 34), particularly in the perpetuation of what Gaylyn Studlar (2001) has seen as a Victorian-inflected, de-eroticised mode of girlhood. Such representations remained visible in culture despite the rise of a new girl-centred iconography marked by distinctly more modern incarnations of femininity, most prominently in the figure of the postwar modern girl, characterised as the flapper, the ‘boyette’ or ‘boy-girl’ (Doan 2001: 102), with cropped hair and streamlined fashions. Fan magazines played into this pull between tradition and modernity in their representations of both glamorous youthful stars and the construction of certain kinds of star images that exploited the Victorian aesthetic, most notably the figure of the child impersonator star, embodied by actresses like Mary Pickford and Mary Miles Minter. This oscillation between innocence and allure, childishness and maturity, was further configured around the representations of clothing, cosmetics, play, and labour that proliferated in fan magazine discourses. Film papers depicted girlhood as an arena of liberation as young women’s lives were increasingly fuelled by their ‘financial and social independence’ (Jackson and Tinkler 2007: 253), but they also represented girlhood as a period of preparation for adult womanhood. Catherine Driscoll has explored the ways in which girlhood has been conceived of as ‘a stage to be passed

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through on the way to something else – mostly to “being a woman”’, designating an ‘immature and malleable identity’ (2002: 2). The transitory nature of the category is certainly a quality that emerges from the pages of film-fan magazines. The meanings that both the magazines and their participating readers assign to the term ‘girl’ are fluid, but there is a particular emphasis upon girlhood as a period of experimentation, using film stars to test out and try on potential articulations of future womanhood. The broader interwar environment focused on the image of the housewife as an emblem of postwar national culture, equating womanhood with heterosexual partnership, domesticity, and retirement from paid labour: but within film-fan discourses, both girlhood and womanhood were configured in unstable and contradictory ways that unsettled a clear-cut affirmation of more traditional gender norms. Representations of girl stars emergent from film culture could assist in transitional and transformative processes, enabling readers to further move from girlhood to the status of ‘real woman’, as one article put it, specifically by imitating and copying stars. An article in a 1920 issue of Picture Show, for example, written by ‘A Dresser’, sought to profile ‘The Average Girl and Beauty Cultivation’, advising the girl reader on ‘The Art of Finding her Style and Sticking to it’ (Figure 7.2). The editorial suggests that ‘the moment the average girl decides it is time to become a real woman and puts her hair up, she invariably finds that the change is not half so pretty and effective as she thought it would have been’. Highlighting images of the film stars Viola Dana and May Allison with the caption ‘Wouldn’t You Like to be Her’ (24 Jan 1920: 4), the piece suggests that the status of authentic adult womanhood could be achieved via cosmetics if girls learn to cultivate a sense of individual style, developed through interaction with the variety that film culture offered in presenting young female stars as identity templates. The application of make-up, displayed explicitly in the photographic inserts, underscores an idea of cinema as a tool for ‘becoming’ a woman, while affirming, as with the illustrations in Figure 7.1, the multiplicity of modes of modern femininity. Here, the article intermixes photographs of a 23-yearold Viola Dana and her female make-up artist with an advertisement insert for Family Pictorial, which features smaller illustrations of generic female figures modelling blouse patterns. While the fashionably cropped hair of the illustrated figures echoes Dana’s style, the wealth and modernity of the female star – the caption describes the actress using her ‘luxurious car’ both ‘for a rest’ and as an ‘on location dressing-room’ – offers a clearer contrast. The illustrated girl images are alternatively focused on free patterns for home-made fashions, presented as an affordable and practical access point to modern dress for working-class girl readers. An emphasis upon personal style as transition to adulthood was mobilised in other ways for working-class young women, where the magazine profiled the thriftiness, as well as the glamour, of young stars. A piece on ‘How the Young Stars Dress’ from the early 1930s explained that ‘They Balance their Budgets So Ably and Methodically that We might Well Take a Leaf Out of Their Books’, detailing how the younger actresses who ‘haven’t been stars long enough to have accumulated a big banking account’ (11 Jan 1934: 12) manage their styles. Magazines thus offered a range of adaptable templates for girls to imitate. As the interplay between text and image suggests in Figures 7.1 and 7.2, such templates were constructed through the specific representational tools of magazines. Film magazines,

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Figure 7.2 ‘In the Dressing Room’. Courtesy of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, the University of Exeter. (Source: Picture Show 24 Jan 1920: 21)

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to borrow Robert Stam’s (2000) term, might be viewed as ‘multi-track’ media in their combination of writing with illustrations, photographs, and different fonts and formats. This meant that readers accessed representations of girl stars not just through varied images, but through prose combined with film stills and publicity shots, stories, interviews, and advertising across the spread of each page. One particular thread of magazine discourse that played upon these multitrack qualities, and their ability to turn young female identity into a multiple and layered image, was the inclusion of tie-in stories focused on girl heroines.

Girlhood, Storytelling, and Intermedia Fan magazines frequently converted recent and upcoming film releases into short prose narratives. Stories were a way to extend girls’ interaction with film narratives and generate interest in upcoming releases. Picture Show also serialised original girl-centred stories not directly adapted from films or explicitly about cinema. A typical example is the 1919 serialisation of ‘Her Double Life’, telling the story of ‘Bethia Marvell, a very pretty girl, [who] receives an invitation from some smart friends to pay a visit to them at a large house’ (1 Nov 1919: 6). Girls’ Cinema, for obvious reasons, more explicitly branded its stories as girl-centred, with early titles including ‘Shown Up by her Family – A Story Telling of a Girl Who Tried to Better Herself’, or ‘The Girl Woman’, adapted from the Vitagaph film starring Gladys Leslie. One particular strand of girl-centred fan magazine fictions focused on ‘tomboy’ stories, centralising young and wayward female heroines whose exploits constructed an image of girlhood as able to ‘expand the bounds of acceptable feminine behaviour’ (Smith 2011: 7). The figure of the tomboy, emergent in the Victorian era, had persisted into the early twentieth century, aided by women’s entry into the workforce, the winning of the vote, and their engagement with ‘such formerly masculine activities as smoking and drinking’ (Abate 2008: x). Cinema was one notable platform through which the image was perpetuated, with a number of teens and 1920s films whose titles included the word ‘tomboy’. Michelle Abate’s work on Tomboyishness in American literature and culture suggests that tomboy characters ‘and their accompanying behaviours have been linked with such elements as social surprise, gender duplicity and unlimited possibility’ (2008: xiii). Indeed, tomboy film and tie-in narratives particularly capitalised on exploiting the slippages between activities characterised as distinctly gendered, and the independence this afforded their girl heroines. A tie-in story in Picture Show, for example, adapting the 1918 film Peg o’the Sea, gives the reader a tomboy heroine in the figure of Peg, working the local fishing boats. The male hero and future love interest at first presumes Peg to be a boy when he encounters her at sea: The boy, a slim youth with a delicate face, turned at the shout. ‘That’s all right,’ he said. ‘I’m a McGuire – Peg McGuire!’ With a merry laugh, the supposed poacher pulled off a cap, and down tumbled a cascade of golden curls, framing a face which Frank thought the perfection of girlish loveliness. . . . ‘I’m only a boy at sea. I’m a girl ashore,’ cried Peg (22 Nov 1919: 14)

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The narrative plays with the pleasures to be found in masquerade, something girl story papers picked up on more widely in utilising film-centred narratives, particularly where ordinary schoolgirls found themselves ‘swapping in’ for film performer siblings (a common narrative in the Schoolgirls’ Own Library). It also plays upon the freedom of the girl persona to engage in a more active, daring premarital identity, in some regards less strictly bound by gender norms. Peg, for example, tackles a man who attacks her grandfather, smacking him with an oar; in other tomboy tie-ins, such as ‘The Adventures of Miss Tomboy’ adapted to Picture Stories Magazine from the Vitagraph film of 1914, the heroine sneaks herself into a male-only boat race, drives speeding cars, and disguises herself as a boy. Such narratives capitalised on the spectacular qualities of new technologies and the ability of cinema to transport their performers and their viewers into physically unbounded spaces of adventure. Jackson and Tinkler have cited widespread anxiety in interwar culture about modern girls ‘becoming like men . . . displaying behaviours and attitudes that transgress normative femininity’ (2007: 262). They did so in their increasingly public presence as workers and consumers in traditionally male spheres, but also in their adoption of male activities and leisure pursuits, and of more androgynous styles. These factors were embodied by a range of new screen-star personas, in particular by more glamorous American starlets, such as Gloria Swanson, prominent in UK fan papers, and stars like Louise Brooks, Colleen Moore, or Clara Bow who embodied the image of flapper – the ‘emblem of modern times’ (Melman 1988: 1). The female serial star also provided a particular kind of tomboy femininity, more in line with the Peg character. Popular serial actresses like Pearl White and Ruth Roland were made famous by their stunts, escaping from burning buildings, rushing rivers, speeding trains, and flying balloons in imported American serials like The Adventures of Ruth (1919). As Shelley Stamp (2000) has shown, women’s and girls’ preferences for these kinds of narratives pushed against more conservative and traditionally feminised images of femininity, and capitalised instead upon sensation and thrill. A Picture Show interview with the British star Enid Heather, typical of star features that foregrounded the views and opinions of female performers, champions this particular incarnation of modern girlhood: ‘I think every girl should be able to swim, ride a horse, and shoot,’ she says. ‘It isn’t so much a question as to when they may have to make use of such qualifications, but of their value to a girl’s health and appearance . . . “Tomboyishness” as a term of reproach should be forgotten. Every girl has the right to become strong and healthy, and football, boxing and wrestling are as good for them as for the sterner sex.’ (6 Dec 1919: 3–4) This emphasis upon a (tom)boy/male-inflected girlhood, where strength and physical capability are offset against more traditionally feminine values of beauty and allure, seems to be echoed in readers’ letters to Picture Show. Published correspondence notes girl readers’ interest in the counterpart magazines Boys’ Cinema, for example, suggesting that this kind of content had just as much relevance and interest for young female readers. An editorial from January 1920 cites a letter from reader Olive Flemming, who declares that, despite purchasing the paper for her ‘small nephews’, she will ‘continue to get it for myself first’ (10 Jan 1920: 3). ‘Boy’ attitudes and exploits thus

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were not inaccessible to a female readership, despite the simplistically gendered division of magazine content. Another reader letter from Mollie Dorrington questions ‘Why the “Boys’ Cinema”? Why not Boys and Girls, for I am sure my three sisters, mother, and myself, enjoy it quite as much as the boys’ (21 Feb 1920: 3). Girlhood, as it was embodied on-screen and within the off-screen image of the female star through the fan magazine, could therefore be positively inclusive of boyish features, unsettling a more reductive equation of feminine value to aesthetic beauty alone. Fan magazines worked to hold this seeming contradiction in play. In depicting tomboy characters, they created a fantasy space in which to play around, however superficially, with the ‘girl’ identity. Yet, to return to Peg’s story: like so many of her counterpart serial heroines, the girl protagonist is destined for heterosexual partnership by the conclusion of the narrative, setting aside her earlier high jinks to marry the male lead, at which point the narrative concludes. The boy/girl playfulness such characters exhibit is very frequently made a temporary, transitory freedom. Jackson and Tinkler have suggested that, ‘mindful that their readers may have self-defined as modern girls, young women’s magazines of the 1920s attempted to persuade their readers that they desired marriage’ (2007: 258). Throughout film magazines an uneasy negotiation of more conservative and traditional ideals regarding marriage, domesticity, and heterosexual partnership can be found sharing space with representations of more radically modern images of youthful femininity. Features often sought to ‘persuade’ readers of the virtues of a more home-centred idea of female identity, whilst capitalising on their appetite for the alternative images of girlhood that film culture could offer. In profiling young star Marjorie Daw, for example, Pictures and Picturegoer depicted her at home, noting that ‘at seventeen’, the reader would expect ‘to find a young girl of the flapper description with an outlook on life hounded by boxes of chocolate and joy-rides in the best boys’ motor. In which case Marjorie ceases to be typical of her period’ (14 Aug 1920: 201). The piece profiles her ability to cook ‘better than the average housewife’ (14 Aug 1920: 201) and provide for her younger brother, alongside knitting and studying. A later interview with Florence Vidor advises ‘every girl to marry when she finds someone she can really love and care for’. It reassures the reader that the ‘“extreme” youth of our leading feminine film stars’ is an ‘illusion’, masking the reality that ‘practically all of them are married’ (July 1921: 9). Such domesticated images of young stars seemed to affirm the happy ending, romantic resolutions of tie-in narratives. The emphasis upon heteronormative conclusions for girl heroines ultimately deconstructed the temporary liberation of girlhood by reinforcing marriage and the unspoken qualifiers of that change in status, including a retreat from paid public labour. Since the ‘usual pattern’ for women at this time was ‘to work in the period between leaving school and getting married’ (Glucksmann 1990: 36), the idea of girlhood as a temporary period of experimentation spoke to a female readership who were either experiencing this period as girls, or looking back on it as married women. Yet narrative resolution does not necessarily cancel out the more playful or disruptive aspects of narrative process in these girl-centred texts. The intermedial qualities of the paper, where its pages cross the borders between media in the inclusion of prose, illustrations, and photography, went some way to disrupt these resolutions. Multiple female identities for any given characterisation remained in play, sustained beyond the reader’s engagement with the story as a single unit in the larger tapestry of the magazine.

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Because magazine stories interspersed their narrative representations with advertising and interviews, and other mixed media modes and messages, they deconstructed the more straightforwardly linear nature of any interaction with a given story, and, by extension, star image. Star representations were multiple rather than singular, and the magazine could represent both within its pages. Importantly also, a character in a tie-in story was also simultaneously a star, carrying with it echoes and contradictions inherent in the presence of that star image elsewhere within the magazine, and within wider cultural discourse. Engaging with tie-in fiction specifically within the film magazine thus allowed girls to encounter new negotiations of the otherwise seemingly irresolvable conflict between the liberties of girlhood and the restriction of marriage and domesticity through the multiple and varied images of characters and stars. Girlhood could be understood as an arena of independence prior to marriage, in which many women were freer to engage in paid and public labour. The ability of female stars to retain an identity and play characters defined as ‘girl’, whilst also being wives, mothers, and businesswomen (as seemingly only film magazines could illuminate, by promoting themselves as the primary access point to such behind-thescenes knowledge), thereby made them unique role models. With the example above: while Vidor advocates for domesticity, she stresses the negotiation that screen stars uniquely achieve, remaining in high profile careers beyond their wedding vows. Stars such as Mary Pickford, known for her recurrent portrayal of girls and tomboys on screen and commonly referred to as ‘America’s Sweetheart’, could retain an image of playful girlhood through the roles she inhabited, and simultaneously carry the signifiers of adult domesticated femininity in her off-screen star image. Such stars represented economically successful and independent figures whose cultural value was largely divorced from their families or husbands, and whose financial value was not necessarily tied to inheritance or marriage. We might return to American star Viola Dana for a clearer articulation of this modern compromise: Dana suggested to readers of Picturegoer that ‘My husband has got to be a good pal, or I won’t have him. And we’ll both be independent. I don’t intend to leave the scene when I marry’ (22 May 1920: 533). The image of the housewife and a culture of homemaking was very prominent in interwar British cultural life, with the rise of the suburbs and the expanding ranks of the newly middle class. Such an emphasis upon a domestic identity as central to womanhood sat uneasily with the very public modernity and liberation of the screenstar image, particularly as it was imported from Hollywood, whose stars (dominant on British screens at this time) were groomed within a culture that was more materially wealthy and less class-bound. British fan magazines’ handling of girl stars, or stars with notable girl-inflected star images, seemingly dealt with these contradictions by simply multiplying them, offering them to readers for selection and resignification in the process of consuming the mixed representations of the magazine format. Such a proliferation of alternative and contradictory representations of gendered duty and identity thus in some ways troubled the broader narrative of postwar return to domesticity. Mary Pickford, for example, featured in the opening instalment of Girls’ Cinema, adopting a wide variety of guises across one single issue. She appeared on the magazine’s front cover, which promised to illuminate readers about the details of ‘Her Wedding Day’, reporting on her marriage to Hollywood superstar Douglas Fairbanks. The first

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item inside the magazine is a tie-in adaptation of her film Heart o’the Hills, illustrated with images of Pickford in character as the tomboy heroine Mavis. The story is intercut with a full-page colour insert image of Pickford in her wedding dress marking her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, and later on in the ‘Fay Filmer’s Film Chat’ doublepage spread, Pickford features in a telegram, supposedly sent by the star herself, welcoming new readers. Readers could thus simultaneously hold these images in play and in flux: Pickford as wife, professional actress, and adult, and Pickford as child character and tomboyish girl, enjoying the freedoms of travel, glamour, fashions, work, and play alongside her domestic identity as Fairbanks’s, as well as America’s (and the readers’), ‘sweetheart’. The particular qualities of the magazine as multitrack media thus meant that readers could interact with stars as composite of girl/woman representations, both potentially subversive and more conservative, traditional and modern. Unlike the girl reader, the film star could maintain the illusion of seemingly eternal girl, performing as children on screen whilst holding on to the economic, spatial, and cultural freedoms of girlhood, despite their status as married women. But readers could still use and engage with the tools that stars employed to achieve this, invited to build composite identities, styles, and ways of understanding themselves as girls, inspired by the intermedial qualities of the paper. Fan magazines therefore answered back to the reductive stereotype of the cinema-going girl by presenting themselves as a toolkit for learning about new fashions and trends, and a platform for girls to debate their own ideas about girlhood and film culture through the participatory structures of these texts. As such, film periodicals offer themselves as rich historical tools for accessing alternative and complex narratives emergent from the interwar years on the place and changing identities of modern girls, and for understanding the important role that women’s print culture played in articulating and constructing these narratives.

Notes 1. Lise Shapiro Sanders similarly argues in this volume for the ways in which the presence of cinema in girls’ magazines allowed working- and lower-class readers to appropriate styles and fashions from cinema culture. Her exploration of romance weeklies (Chapter 6) gives particular attention to the role of cinema in schooling girl readers in ways of being ‘fashionably modern’. 2. For an in-depth exploration of women’s literary cultures of cinema between the wars, see my monograph (Stead 2016). 3. For a more detailed discussion of this, see my article (Stead 2011).

Works Cited Abate, Michelle Ann. 2008. Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Delaney, Lesley. 2003. ‘Little Women, Good Wives: Victorian Constructions of Womanhood in the Girl’s Own Annual 1927.’ Children’s Literature in Education 4.1: 29–45. Doan, Laura. 2001. Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture. Columbia: Columbia University Press. Driscoll, Catherine. 2002. Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture & Cultural Theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Giles, Judy. 1995. Women, Identity and Private Life in Britain. 1900–1950. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Glancy, Mark. 2014. Hollywood and the Americanization of Britain: From the 1920s to the Present. London: I. B. Tauris. Glucksmann, Miriam. 1990. Women Assemble: Women Workers and the New Industries in Inter-war Britain. London: Routledge. Jackson, Carolyn and Penny Tinkler. 2007. ‘“Ladettes” and “Modern Girls’”: “Troublesome” Young Femininities.’ The Sociological Review 55.1: 251–72. Kuhn, Annette. 1996. ‘Cinema Culture and Femininity in the 1930s.’ Nationalising Femininity: Culture, Sexuality and British Cinema in the Second World War. Ed. Christine Gledhill and Gillian Swanson. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 177–92. —. 2002. An Everyday Magic: Cinema and Cultural Memory. London: I. B. Tauris. Marcus, Laura. 2007. The Tenth Muse: Writing About Cinema in the Modernist Period. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Melman, Billie. 1988. Women and the Popular Imagination in the Twenties: Flappers and Nymphs. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Richardson, Dorothy. 1928. ‘Continuous Performance VIII.’ Close Up 1927–1933: Cinema and Modernism. Ed. James Donald, Anne Friedberg, and Laura Marcus. London: Cassell. 174–6. Showalter, Elaine. 1992. ‘Introduction.’ Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway. London: Penguin. xi–xlviii. Smith, Michelle J. 2011. Empire in British Girls’ Literature and Culture: Imperial Girls, 1880– 1915. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Sommerfield, John. 1936. May Day. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Stam, Robert. 2000. ‘Beyond Fidelity: The Dialogics of Adaptation.’ Film Adaptation. Ed. James Naremore. London: Athlone Press. 54–76. Stamp, Shelley. 2000. Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Stead, Lisa. 2011. ‘“So oft to the movies they’ve been”: British Fan Writing and Female Film Audiences in the Silent Era.’ Transformative Works and Cultures 6. —. 2016. Off to the Pictures: Women’s Writing, Cinemagoing and Movie Culture in Interwar Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Studlar, Gaylyn. 2001. ‘“Oh, Doll Divine”: Mary Pickford, Masquerade, and the Pedophilic Gaze.’ Camera Obscura 16:3: 196–227. Tinkler, Penny. 1995. Constructing Girlhood: Popular Magazines for Girls Growing up in England, 1920–1950. London: Taylor and Francis. Trotter, David. 2007. Cinema and Modernism. London: Blackwell.

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Styling Modern Life: Introduction Barbara Green

T

he association of fashion with the modern runs deep, permeating both popular and academic culture as the one enduring truth within an environment that values the novel above all else. Rita Felski defined fashion as a key element in modernité’s ‘general experience of the aestheticization of everyday life’ (1995: 13)1 and Elizabeth Wilson traced the links between fashion culture, urban life, and the dynamic sense of change that characterise the modern: ‘the thirst for change and the heightened sensation that characterize the city societies particularly of modern industrial capitalism go to make up this “modernity”, and the hysteria and exaggeration of fashion well express it’ (1985: 10). In a variety of fields – literary studies, art history, film studies, cultural studies, fashion studies, and more – scholars have continued to discover hidden features of modernity through the lens of fashion. These range from the links between the fashionable woman and the feminised commodity in a ‘society of the spectacle’ (Evans 2001: 272), to the life writing of fashion designers as meditations on temporality (Parkins 2010), to a modern ‘valorization of exteriority’ (Burstein 2012: 12), or modernism’s fascination with ‘fabricated nakedness’ (Cheng 2011: 35). Feminist theory has continued to explore the ways in which fashion’s investment in concepts of surface and depth, artifice and sincerity, copy and original reveal the constructedness of gender (Gaines 1990: 1). Drawing on these exciting conversations, the chapters in this part shift our focus from fashion culture itself to the related slightly larger question of modern style as it circulated not only in the sleek women’s fashion magazines of the interwar period, but also in publications that promoted the modern film industry or that addressed modern niche audiences such as that of the modern working girl. While British Vogue has been at the heart of many discussions of fashion’s modernity in scholarly circles – particularly because the innovative editor Dorothy Todd promoted experimental, avant-garde and queer modernisms in the early 1920s (Reed 2006) – the chapters in this part venture well beyond that publication to also consider Eve, Britannia and Eve, Miss Modern, and cinema journals such as Picturegoer. These chapters explore the various ways in which magazines taught women readers how to be ‘modern’ by offering them access to the new modes of consumption, notions of beauty, and rituals that together composed a self-consciously modern lifestyle. The interwar period saw a number of dramatic and subtle shifts in the ways in which women used adornment to represent themselves and engage the modern era: shifting hemlines, exposed knees, cropped hair, and the common practice of wearing makeup, have all been symbols of women’s negotiation of new ‘desirable and potentially transgressive feminine identities’ available between the wars (Buckley and Fawcett 2002: 83). Clothing in the interwar period was a ‘primary technology of identity projection’ (Parkins 2015: 100), and one could say the same regarding a whole host of related practices, rituals, and modes of consumption that could express a modern

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identity. For example, in her chapter for this part, Rebecca Roach explores the ‘Lady Interviewer’ as a particularly resonant type, especially given the interwar period’s emphasis on film stars and celebrity culture; the Lady Interviewer channelled anxiety about ‘disclosure, gossip, and chatter’ while also offering a ‘glamorous model of modern womanhood to a mass readership’. Similarly, while other chapters in this collection point to the dominance of the ‘modern woman’ as a type addressed and constructed by periodicals of all sorts, Penny Tinkler’s chapter for this part explores the emergence of a new type of young femininity just beginning to be addressed in the interwar period: a ‘nascent teenager’ was developed in the pages of Miss Modern years before the ‘1950s ascendency of the “teenager” characterised by age-distinctive leisure, consumption and style’. The modern magazine’s ability to offer its readers ‘new’ models of identity rests entirely on its ability to articulate the new in its periodicity, its visuality, and its style. Modern periodicals are necessarily organised through a complex temporality and this aspect is heightened where the ever-changing cycles of fashion are concerned: the magazine must both articulate a consistent and coherent identity for its readers and, at the same time, provide that which is new, eye-catching, and cutting edge. As Elizabeth Sheehan argues in her contribution to this part, fashion magazines like Eve and Vogue during the interwar period understood the demands of that complex temporality especially well and located themselves at the precarious intersection of past and future to engage ‘the simultaneously cyclic, progressive, and disruptive temporalities of fashion and culture’. Newness expresses itself in the style of magazines circulating in the modern period as well: Gerry Beegan’s study of the development of the new reproductive technology of rotogravure not only traces a significant development in media history, but also traces the intermedial connections between these reproductive technologies, modern cinema, and women’s beauty culture. In the ‘image-based culture’ of the interwar moment, cinema magazines such as Picturegoer could, in their incorporation of colour imagery, help ‘women readers to assemble a wealth of female knowledge related to the visual elements of film’, a knowledge ‘mapped back on to readers’ bodies through the making or purchasing of clothes, the application of makeup, and the styling of hair’. This emphasis on visuality is further developed in Ilya Parkins’s reading of the gendering of image-text relations in Britannia and Eve where male contributors producing editorial content about femininity became an absent presence, ‘ghosting’ the publication to reveal a ‘negotiation between the text as a feminised site, and the defense of masculine cultural space’. These are issues that speak to the concerns of the volume as a whole since this collection explores interwar women’s periodicals as a contribution to the larger public sphere. In addition, in attending to the temporality, visuality, and mixed-media design of the publications in question, as well as the audience address and construction of feminine ‘types’ discussed above, the chapters within this part offer distinct contributions to the larger field of modern periodical studies.

Note 1. Felski is distinguishing modernité from modernisation, modernism, and modernity (1995: 12–13).

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Works Cited Buckley, Cheryl and Hilary Fawcett. 2002. Fashioning the Feminine: Representation and Women’s Fashion from the Fin de Siècle to the Present. Oxford: I. B. Tauris. Burstein, Jessica. 2012. Cold Modernism: Literature, Fashion, Art. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. Cheng, Anne Anlin. 2011. Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Evans, Caroline. 2001. ‘The Enchanted Spectacle.’ Fashion Theory 5.3: 271–310. Felski, Rita. 1995. The Gender of Modernity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Gaines, Jane. 1990. ‘Introduction: Fabricating the Female Body.’ Fabrications: Costume and the Female Body. Ed. Jane Gaines and Charlotte Herzog. New York: Routledge. Parkins, Ilya. 2010. Poiret, Dior and Schiaparelli: Fashion, Femininity and Modernity. London: Berg. —. 2015. ‘Fashion.’ The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Culture. Ed. Celia Marshik. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 96–110. Reed, Christopher. 2006. ‘Design for (Queer) Living: Sexual Identity, Performance, and Décor in British Vogue, 1922–1926.’ GLQ 12.3: 377–403. Wilson, Elizabeth. 1985. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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8 Now and Forever? Fashion Magazines and the Temporality of the Interwar Period Elizabeth M. Sheehan

[I]n that absolute, dogmatic, vengeful present tense in which Fashion speaks, the rhetorical system possesses reasons which seem to reconnect it to a more manageable, more distant time, and which are the politeness or – the regret – of the murder it commits of its own past, as if it vaguely heard that possessive voice of the slain year saying to it: Yesterday I was what you are, tomorrow will be what I am. (Roland Barthes 1990: 273)

I

n this passage from The Fashion System, Roland Barthes draws attention to how fashion – and specifically writing about fashion in magazines – works to conceptualise, arrange, and navigate time. As he maintains, fashion’s ‘present tense’ ties it to an imagined, distant time, but it is also haunted by the near past, which it must repeatedly ‘murder’. Barthes’s account of fashion’s time resonates with James Mussell’s observation that ‘[t]he promise of succession means magazine publication is haunted by haunting, by the threat of lapsing into repetition. Each successive issue must assert its difference from its predecessor, introducing enough singularity to disrupt the rhythm but not enough to break it entirely’ (2015: 351). While Mussell emphasises succession over novelty, both of these remarks highlight the unstable balance between innovation and repetition, which are key to fashion and the periodical form. Both fashion and the periodical’s investments in the present belie their multivalent and multivocal engagement with other temporalities: cyclic, progressive, utopian, and even apocalyptic.1 Attending to those dynamics, this chapter explores the relationship between fashion time and periodical time as they function in interwar women’s fashion magazines. While periodicals are often associated with the standardisation of time, I argue that representations of fashion in interwar women’s magazines – and particularly in ‘fashion papers’ – draw out, complicate, and exemplify the multiple and sometimes conflicting temporalities that periodicals imagined, managed, and enacted.2 Barthes bases his analysis on a reading of fashion magazines from the late 1950s, while Mussell focuses on Victorian periodicals. Yet the interwar setting for my analysis is not incidental. This period was marked by a vengeful and euphoric embrace of the present and also haunted by the possibility of murderous repetition. At the close of this era – when war had returned – Walter Benjamin drew upon fashion to describe a revolutionary mode of engaging the past in order to transform the present. According

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to Benjamin, fashion enacts a ‘tiger’s leap into the past’ as it grasps precisely the right outdated style with which to remake the present mode (1968: 261). So too, he suggests, a truly revolutionary historicism rejects progressive visions of history in order to take hold of the past and blast out of the ‘catastrophe’ that is history (Benjamin 1968: 257). I do not claim that the fashion magazines that I discuss anticipate Benjamin’s theories. But his assertions attune us to the disruptive and disorienting (if not revolutionary or even politically legible) potential of fashion’s use of the past. Fashion’s leaps are not only temporal; they also, often simultaneously, appear to cross geographic, national, gender, racial, class, and ethnic boundaries. Part of the work of fashion magazines is to help the reader to discern when such leaps occur and what they land upon. In doing so, these periodicals offer particular ways of conceiving and ordering history and time. The fashion magazines discussed here – British Vogue and Eve – take multiple approaches to that task; some involve contextualising and rationalising fashion’s moves while others revel in apparent discontinuities and juxtapositions. These strategies, in turn, help to establish that these magazines do more than supply a (slightly) belated echo of fashion’s latest statements; instead, they position themselves as necessary, contemporary mediators between fashion and the reader. In doing so, these fashion magazines both depend upon and compete with the rhythm of fashion. On one hand, they must keep up with rapid changes in sartorial styles but, on the other, they must impose on fashion a pace and a mode that can be effectively represented and marketed on the pages of a weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly journal.3 I focus on Vogue and Eve from 1919 to the mid-1920s because these magazines were new products of this period, with Vogue starting in 1916 and Eve in 1919, and because they stand out for their attention to and emphasis on high fashion. Both were relatively expensive, costing one shilling, and both addressed an affluent reader. Since Paris was the home of the fashion industry, both magazines devoted considerable space to reporting on trends and events in that city. In Vogue’s case, that information was often relayed through the magazine’s head office in New York. Thus a commodified, cosmopolitan vision of contemporary life was at the heart of these magazines from their inceptions. Both magazines also addressed a self-consciously modern reader who was trying to locate herself at an ideal intersection of past and future via fashion. If, as Margaret Beetham notes, an issue of a periodical is a ‘date-stamped commodity’ (1990: 21; see also Beetham 2015), fashion magazines are date-stamped commodities that teach readers to perceive and at times conceal the date-stamps on garments – including their potential expiration dates and their references to older styles. In doing so, they teach readers to read time as it is expressed through dress and via a periodical’s text and imagery. The fashion magazine’s temporal project does not amount simply to a celebration of ‘the latest thing’. What might seem to be a new trend could end up being idiosyncratic rather than fashionable. Both Vogue and Eve established their authority and their business model in part by taking up a pose of scepticism and irony towards fashion’s novelties and vagaries; this strategy simultaneously solicits the reader’s confidence and suggest that fashion houses – and potential advertisers – should take these magazines and their influence into account. As Cynthia L. White notes, in the interwar period ‘fashion “glossies” . . . became trend-setters, rather than trend-followers and soon occupied a position from which they could exert great influence over patterns

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of expenditure and the formation of tastes’ (1970: 113). I propose that part of that project was establishing the fashion magazine’s particular facility with and control of multiple, sometimes competing, temporal logics. In the process, fashion magazines shaped the reader’s perception and experience of time.4 These magazines offered their contemporary readers ways to navigate multiple temporalities and structures of feeling, including nostalgia for the past, anxiety about an uncertain present, and anticipation of a potentially disastrous or glorious future.5 In various ways, time itself emerged as a key concern of women’s magazines that promised to situate readers in the world of fashion as well as in the world via fashion.

Vogue’s Time Management British Vogue emerged from the war’s spatial, temporal, and economic disruptions. The original, US version of the magazine was available in Britain when war was declared, and according to Vogue editor Edna Woolman Chase’s memoirs, its sales increased after Continental fashion magazines faltered. When transatlantic shipping also became difficult, Condé Nast decided to launch a British edition. Chase recalls that the plan was to use fashion coverage from the US Vogue office, sell space to British advertisers, and gradually add material on ‘local features – society, shops, entertainment – which would naturally be of greater interest to British readers’ (1954: 117). This history helps to explain why, throughout the 1920s, British Vogue attended less closely than other upscale British women’s magazines like Eve and especially the Gentlewoman and the Queen to the gossip, weddings, and births of the nation’s aristocracy. Another reason for this difference is likely Vogue’s extraordinary editor-in-chief between 1922 and 1926, Dorothy Todd, who turned the magazine’s focus increasingly to art and literature. Todd collaborated with Madge Garland, the magazine’s fashion editor and her lover, and the two socialised with and promoted modernist artists, especially those affiliated with the Bloomsbury Group. During Todd’s tenure, British Vogue published and referenced work by Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Clive Bell, and Vanessa Bell as well as Aldous Huxley, Vita Sackville-West, and Raymond Mortimer, among others.6 Access to queer temporalities via Bloomsbury artists enhanced the magazine’s investigations of history and time. As Christopher Reed points out, the magazine both displayed and concealed the queerness of Bloomsbury culture. Vogue, he notes, included ‘frequent allusions to styles and mores associated with sexual subcultures’ but, as one might expect given Britain’s legal and cultural regime, it did not spell out the gendered and sexual dynamics of those references for all readers (Reed 2006a: 46; see also Reed 2006b). In a discussion of Woolf, Todd, and Garland, Lisa Cohen uses Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s analysis of the ‘open secret’ – in which knowledge may be hidden in plain sight – to draw out the similarities between the epistemological and interpretive dynamics involved in perceiving sexuality and fashion (Cohen 1999: 151). In fashion magazines, this work of perception takes on a clear temporal dimension since one’s perception of a garment is shaped by one’s proximity to it in time as well as one’s sense of that garment’s own temporal relationship to its own contemporary moment (i.e. is it innovative, outdated, etc.). Vogue played with those dynamics of perception and temporal proximity, as, for example, in the work of critic, editor,

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and Bloomsbury denizen Raymond Mortimer which offers, as Christopher Reed says, a queer ‘historical legacy looking back through the Aesthetes to the free-thinking eighteenth century philosophes’, omitting the Victorians altogether (2006a: 52). This renders certain past moments more present via their affinities with contemporary queer subcultures. Vogue exploited that variable sense of temporal distance to establish itself as a needed interpreter of the mode. Modernist art and literature is also often characterised by explorations and experiments with temporality; these include celebrations of the new and attempts to transcend the vicissitudes of time as well as disruptions of narrative progression and representations of time as variable, relative, and contingent. In this respect, Todd’s Vogue emerges as a modernist venture. Time stretches and contracts in its pages, which leap from discussions of dresses that are absolutely of the moment to analyses of how garments blend older styles with contemporary modes and from features that treat the year as the definitive temporal unit of fashion to articles that address the simultaneously cyclic, progressive, and disruptive temporalities of fashion and culture. In the process, the magazine highlights fashion’s complex relationship to time, uses fashion to comment upon the temporality of the periodical form, and anticipates the reader’s own efforts to navigate various everyday, festive, progressive, and cyclic rhythms. The editorial for the late July 1925 edition, for instance, exemplifies the magazine’s playful engagement with time. It begins: The tendency of the day is to make everything shorter and shorter, often with happiest results. It is recognised that such things as sermons, pretty frocks and witty sayings are among the things that gain by being brief, and a philosopher once suggested that the best way to make pleasures pleasanter was to make them shorter. A less philosophical person might retort that it should be the mission of the pleasant things in life to make time itself seem short. On the other hand, pleasant things sometimes have an exactly contrary effect. It has been said, for instance, that Vogue has the remarkable faculty of making two weeks appear longer than a fort-night. ‘Isn’t it time for a new Vogue yet?’ voices have been heard to complain. (Vogue Late July 1925: 37) As one might expect of a fashion magazine, this passage opens with a comment about a current trend. But it undercuts that approach with Wildean reflections on the experience of time, and then offers a tongue-in-cheek claim for Vogue’s effect on the temporality of the everyday. In the process, the editorial draws attention to the fictional and performative bases of the magazine’s authority, including its assumptions about the desires of its readers. Meanwhile, the ‘tendency’ for shortening, which is described by the editorial, is also accomplished by the layout of the page, for the words are squeezed into a narrow column of text that runs beside an exaggeratedly large central box containing the table of contents. The words ‘everything shorter and shorter’, for example, stretch over three lines of this brief editorial. This formatting draws attention to the ways Vogue is implicated in the ‘tendency . . . to make everything shorter’, even as the editorial purports simply to observe and even to reverse this trend. Rather than a magazine that always speaks in fashion’s ‘present tense’, this publication seems to understand that things are more complex, incongruous, frivolous, and serious than a fashion magazine’s brevity allows. The clever layout of this page also marks British

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Vogue from the more established American version, which had a standard format for its table of contents. In 1925, British Vogue used this design – a large box surrounded by fairly narrow columns of text – for only a few issues, and most displayed other configurations (e.g. a smaller box, no box, no editorial). This whimsical approach might seem like a sign of inconsistency, but it also suggests that British Vogue might be just the kind of witty, nimble guide to fashion that a reader might want. So, when, a few sentences later, the editorial states, ‘[a]s always, Vogue gives you the latest fashion news and can show you exactly how every ribbon should be worn and every bow tied’, readers can trust they are getting the information from a source that understands that the fashion magazine simultaneously must and cannot abbreviate contemporary sartorial tendencies into a set of instructions to be followed by an obedient reader (Vogue Late July 1925: 37). The joke about the discrepancy between two weeks and a fortnight also can be read as a wry comment on the fact that Vogue was a semi-monthly rather than fortnightly publication, at least until 1927. Thus its schedule registers the disjunction between the week and the month as ways of organising years, a difference that is felt by the reader as a pleasant but also painful longing for Vogue. Moreover, British Vogue, unlike its weekly British competitors like Eve or even the semi-monthly US edition, was not precisely ‘date-stamped’. Instead it was labelled as ‘early’ or ‘late’ month. Chase claims that, under Todd’s watch, the timing of the magazine’s appearance was handled in a ‘laissez faire’ manner and that hurt sales, since many British readers purchased magazines by visiting their ‘local dealers’ on the same day each week – usually a Wednesday, when Eve, Tatler, and the Sketch regularly appeared (1954: 124). So Todd’s Vogue may have been too experimental for its day when it came to the temporal demands of the fashion magazine business. In other editorials, however, the magazine seems keen to establish its control over the time of magazine publishing and fashion. The contents page of the early April 1924 issue – this time apparently taken from the US edition – invokes the idea of the three-act drama to assert Vogue’s authority in the world of fashion and fashion coverage. The issue is entitled the ‘Early Paris Openings Number’, and the opening editorial describes it as the first act of a play ‘that you hold in your hand at this minute’. The contents page also announces that the next issue will contain the second act ‘in which all the remaining houses will exhibit; and the third act – Vogue’s summing up of the mode’ (Vogue Early April 1924: 31). This metaphor re-imagines the setting and timing of the pivotal spring fashion exhibitions as Vogue is no longer part of an audience waiting to see what direction the designer has taken, but rather functions as both a player and the stage itself. The anticipation now belongs to the reader, who, as in the 1925 editorial, looks forward to Vogue’s arrival. This editorial from early April 1924, however, promises a strictly orchestrated appearance. Its theatrical conceit is particularly effective since new fashions were often debuted by actresses in productions in Paris, London, and New York and because one of Vogue’s distinctive features was the quality of its images.7 In fact, the full-page advertisement on the facing page in the British edition displays a photograph of ‘Mlle. Jane Marnax’ dressed for her performance at the Casino de Paris in a ‘dazzling gown’ designed by Charlotte, whose label is being promoted (Vogue Early April 1924: xxx). The editorial thus draws attention to how Vogue is the stage on which other stages, including design houses and theatres, introduce new styles.

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Vogue’s control of the pacing and form of fashion is reinforced by the editorial’s insistence that shifts between fashion seasons no longer involve radical changes ‘that any one – even a man – could perceive’. Instead fashion proceeds as ‘an evolution, a well-defined progression’ (Vogue Early April 1924: 31). Such a progression accords with the temporality of periodicals as they move from issue to issue creating both succession and change. So just as a new issue of a magazine is, as Mussell says, ‘transformed into structured difference, a variety of the same rather than an encounter with unmediated novelty’, so too is fashion’s newness managed (2015: 349). Since fashion’s evolution is subtle, it takes the ‘well-trained, Vogue-trained eye’ to detect the many things that make last year’s frock ‘démodé’. For those in the know, however, ‘the dress of this season . . . is a thing of infinite cleverness that proclaims its date, its chic, its complete rightness the minute one sees it!’ (Vogue Early April 1924: 31). Vogue’s expertise is artistic and scientific, teachable and unquantifiable, and exclusive but not esoteric. It is, in short, essential for the reader who does not want to be behind the times. The portrayal of Vogue as essential to the theatre of fashion dovetails with the magazine’s strategy of pursuing close, direct relationships with the elite fashion industry and its clients in order to attract advertisers of luxury goods.8 Scholars disagree as to whether Todd’s emphasis on art and literature made her badly fitted for such an approach, as Chase claimed (Chase 1954: 119).9 But this early April 1924 editorial shows how literariness and particularly the ability to give dramatic form to the complexities of modern time bolster the magazine’s authority in matters of fashion and taste more broadly. The British edition of the same issue, moreover, offers a unique ‘Editorial’ by Vita Sackville-West unavailable in the American issue entitled ‘Fashions in Decoration’ which says relatively little about current modes but describes fashion as determining not only tastes in dress and design, but also beliefs, values, and ways of thinking as they shift across ‘generations’ (Vogue Early April 1924: 61). The seemingly frivolous, feminine phenomenon of fashion thus emerges as the key to understanding cultural change over time with Vogue as its best and most entertaining interpreter. Nevertheless, the feminisation of fashion as a way of understanding and negotiating change – including changes in the experience and organisation of time – is contested and negotiated in Vogue rather than simply affirmed or celebrated. So we might read the joke about men’s ability to perceive only the most dramatic stylistic changes as establishing women’s status as arbiters of modernity and specifically distinctions between new and old. We also could cite Ellen Rosenman’s account of Victorian anxieties about fashion as a realm of feminine knowledge that could challenge masculine epistemological hierarchies between, for example, fashion and aesthetics as a source of pleasure that might divert women from the pursuit of heterosexual relationships. But these dynamics cannot be disentangled from the magazine’s efforts to sell itself, which it also does through the deployment of masculine cultural authority, celebrations of aristocratic British femininity, and fantasies of an enduring national identity and culture.10 Sackville-West’s essay, for example, turns to racialised notions of national character and taste, as it explains the current fashion for orange pillows in terms of an enduring British love of ‘the gaudy’, which reflects the ‘instinct of a northern people to counteract their climate’. Admittedly, the article’s playful shift from a discussion of the impossibility of an ‘Absolute’ in matters of taste to these claims about national character produce a sense of disjunction and irony (Vogue Early April 1924: 61). Yet these

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effects do not undo this vision of Britishness, particularly as Sackville-West suggests that the vicissitudes of fashion correspond with shifts between generations, a conceit often used to bolster normative concepts of national identity and belonging. We find another example of Vogue’s negotiation – rather than transgression or overturning – of gendered national norms in a feature entitled ‘Substitutes for the Strict Tailleur’. This article was also published in the US edition of the magazine, but it gains a particular resonance in the British context since it focuses on strategies for adapting that most British of sartorial traditions – men’s suiting – and connects that trend to the way that the war reshaped everyday life. It announces: When during the war, a number of important and well-dressed citizens found themselves for the first time in uniform, they discovered the advantage of a costume that is appropriate to all occasions. The joys of a standardized type of dress once tried, many of them found it hard to go back to the ordinary habiliments which call for arbitrary changes so many times a day. A certain something of the uniform feeling was left over to influence even feminine attire, and so we find ourselves five years after the war, approaching more and more surely a type of daytime dress which can be worn, with modifications of accessories, at almost any hour, from nine in the morning to six at night. This is an immense convenience for the woman of many engagements and an absolute godsend for the woman of limited income. (Vogue Late March 1924: 76) This deceptively simple passage sets in motion a number of potentially conflicting ideas. It reinforces the idea that fashions are driven by elite women’s pleasures and preferences rather than the whims of designers or economic pressures even as it asserts that this particular style helps to address such exigencies. The piece is accompanied by illustrations of six outfits that it describes as more affordable because they ‘do not require the services of a man tailor’, who is more expensive and more difficult to find than women dressmakers. The images emphasise the figures’ movement through outdoor, likely urban spaces by including the shadows that these women cast as they walk gracefully in high-heeled shoes. Hence this feature attests to but does not comment directly upon the extent to which middle-class and upper-class women’s capacity to navigate public spaces relied upon the cheap labour of working-class women. Questions about middle-class women’s employment and enfranchisement are also raised and deflected via the references to ‘well-dressed citizens’ who ‘found themselves . . . in uniform’ and to the concept of a lasting ‘uniform feeling’. The reference to uniforms underscores women’s participation in the masculinised work of war, while men’s suits often were described as a kind of civic and professional uniform. J. C. Flügel’s 1930 study The Psychology of Clothes, which was published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, epitomises that view; Flügel explains the increasing ‘uniformity’ of men’s clothing in terms of men’s greater commitment to democratic principles of equality and their understanding that ‘a man’s most important activities were passed, not in the drawing-room, but in the workshop, the countinghouse, the office’ (1930: 113). Flügel traces these trends to the French Revolution, after which, he declares, there was a ‘Great Masculine Renunciation’ of the pleasures of dress by which ‘men gave up their right to all the brighter, gayer, more elaborate, and more varied forms of ornamentation, leaving these entirely to the use of women’ (1930:

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Figure 8.1 ‘Substitutes for the Strict Tailleur’. David / Vogue © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd. (Source: British Vogue Late March 1924: 76) 111). In short, the suit was an emblem of men’s fitness for citizenship and paid labour outside the home. In this context, the concept of a ‘uniform feeling’ suggests not only a narrowing of differences between men’s and women’s dress and presence in public ‘from nine in the morning to six at night’, but also women’s new sense of their place in the nation. This ‘uniform feeling’ then amounts to something akin to a new structure of feeling. The account of the ‘uniform feeling’ anticipates the next issue’s description of fashion as moving forward via a subtle progression rather than the sudden appearance of the new. In fact, the tailleur was a style that appeared in fashion magazines well before the war and continued throughout the interwar period. Tying this trend specifically to a ‘uniform feeling’ helps to rationalise this fashion as a product of the war while also acknowledging its affective qualities. It also leaves open the possibility that the war, and the feelings, rhythms, and conditions it generated, continue to produce gradual effects. Accordingly, this piece effectively outfits middle-class women for the workplace without saying as much. Of course the options for respectable professional employment for middle-class women like Todd and especially married women like Garland were quite limited in this period. But as Virginia Woolf observes in Three Guineas, the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 made it conceivable that ‘the daughters of educated men’ might

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someday ‘leave the house at nine and come back to it at six’ and that they will ‘wear certain uniforms and profess certain loyalties’ (1938: 85). While Woolf expresses ambivalence about the effects of such routines, uniforms, and loyalties even as she celebrates women’s capacity to earn an income, Vogue is more sanguine about these possibilities. This feature depicts women as already having taken up the ‘uniform’ and schedule proper to the urban professional, thus presenting them as well suited, literally and figuratively, for new roles in public life even as references to wartime service downplays how that participation might challenge prevailing gendered ideas of the nation. This ‘alternative to the strict tailleur’ that can be made by a woman dressmaker thus reconciles the seemingly unpredictable, irrational pace of consumption with the purportedly more regular, rational, masculine routine of labour and production. The well-suited woman emerges at the ideal intersection of these two modern economic forces and temporalities. Vogue brokers this compromise and, in doing so, provides a rhythm for adjusting to the changes that the war has set in motion.

Eve and Interwar Time If Vogue framed the relationship between the war and fashion and between the rhythms of fashion and those of ‘natural’, generational, and national time, these relationships were even more pivotal to Eve, which was launched by the publishers of the Sphere and Tatler in November of 1919, just before the first anniversary of the armistice. As its title indicated, the magazine drew from the wartime popularity of the Tatler’s fictional gossip columnist, Eve, who served as the eponymous periodical’s central character. During the war, Tatler’s Eve became known for her amusing letters, which were written by Olivia Maitland-Davidson, and illustrations, composed by Anne Harriet Fish. These texts and images satirised but also celebrated Eve’s observations and adventures as a frivolous young upper-class woman, who performs various kinds of war work while managing to display a charming wardrobe and enjoy a vibrant social life.11 Fish also produced illustrations for Condé Nast’s publications, especially Vanity Fair, and her style came to epitomise the sophisticated, light-hearted, and fashionable affect and aesthetic of the 1920s, which also defines Eve. The ascent of Eve and of Fish’s career during the war, however, underscores the continuities between the war and the interwar era. The relationship between these periods is a key concern of the initial issues of Eve, which attempted to launch a publication and a character that could attract readers through a paradoxical mix of novelty and familiarity. The magazine displayed various strategies for both acknowledging Eve’s wartime history and signalling Eve’s break with older models for British women’s periodicals, including its focus on a fictional central character, its ironic and knowing tone, and its celebration of the modern mode of femininity symbolised by Eve. In that sense, Eve and Eve exemplified the tensions between novelty, repetition, and continuity that characterise periodicals and fashion. More specifically, the magazine drew upon fashion to describe connections and distinctions between wartime and peacetime and between seemingly incompatible or incommensurate time frames. In doing so, Eve invited readers to identify and disidentify with various temporal locations and orientations rather than simply encouraging them to pursue novelty and embrace the contemporary.

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White asserts that ‘[i]n its exuberance and its determination to break with the past, Eve embodied the spirit of the ‘roaring twenties’ (1970: 94). Yet the magazine’s title suggests a somewhat ironic treatment of the embrace of the new. While the word ‘vogue’ signals that, as one might expect of a fashion magazine, the periodical attends to the most recent trend, the name ‘Eve’ suggests both epochal change and ironic juxtapositions between, on one hand, nudity, innocence, eternity, religious, and ‘natural’ time and, on the other, clothing, sophistication, ephemerality, and novelty. Regular features like ‘And Eve Said unto Adam’–in which Eve offers gossip and commentary on recent cultural and social events and fashions – and ‘Eve in Paradise’ – in which her latest observations and activities in Paris are conveyed in slangy prose – amplify these contrasts. The first issue of Eve used the conceit of the fall of man to emphasise the importance of its debut. In ‘And Eve Said unto Adam’, the speaker even compares the fall to the war. But she also undercuts this comparison by suggesting that a description of the financial, sartorial, and recreational excesses of pre-war society taken from ‘Genesis’, represented by a recent book by aristocrat Ralph Nevill, ‘[m]ight almost be the story of today (and to-night)’ (Eve Nov 1919: 4). Thus what appears to be a radical break is, more reassuringly, a return. That concept is underscored by the next article, since it discusses the recent performances of the Russian Ballet, which influenced deeply prewar fashions and cultural life. In these two features, Eve and contemporary fashion appear to be means to regain pre-war pleasures. Other parts of the issue, however, present Eve as unprecedented and transformative. As the first instantiation of the regular feature ‘Eve and Her Car’ announces, ‘[i]n its own particular sphere, the first issue of Eve is a historical event. It constitutes an epoch in journalistic achievement in matters mainly feminine’ (Eve Nov 1919: 34). The brief text above the table of contents takes a similar approach, although it frames the reader’s encounter with Eve as both a beginning and part of an ongoing journey: The first love, the first voyage, the first achievement – any of our first experiences – are milestones which punctuate our passage along the winding road of Life. It is the sincere wish of ‘EVE’ that this, her first number, should prove to be a milestone marking the foundation of a long and lasting friendship between you, fair reader, and herself. (Eve Nov 1919: 1) In this passage, the personification of Eve helps to proffer the ‘promise of succession’ that Mussell identifies as constitutive of the periodical genre; in short, the magazine will have some consistency because it is structured around a single character. At the same time, however, the passage emphasises the extent to which novelty and change distinguish ‘the winding road of Life’ – including Eve’s. It follows then, that each issue will offer the difference that prevents a magazine from ‘lapsing into repetition’. Repetition also emerges as a visual theme both on this first page and in subsequent issues of Eve. The passage above is framed by an illustration of two identical women who are adorned in matching cloaks and who face each other across a sphere that holds the word ‘Eve’. Thus the artist, Stanislaus Longley, depicts the meeting between the reader and Eve through Eve as a form of mirroring or, more fantastically, the reunion of twins. As Barbara Green observes, ‘[p]eriodicals invite readers to identify with and affectively engage the workings of a culture, often through embracing a subjectivity

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Figure 8.2 Contents, Eve. By permission of the Bodleian Libraries. (Source: Eve Nov 1919: 1) offered by a periodical’s title’ (2012: 465). This contents page imagines that embrace in terms of friendship and as a form of doubling. In turn, the actual contents of the magazine multiply this effect, since they offer the reader different versions of Eve. Whereas in the Tatler, Eve spoke with one voice and bore one image (authored by Fish), in Eve she appears in different guises. Eve’s use of satire, irony, and humour invite the reader to take up various, possibility contradictory and ambivalent attitudes towards its central figure and even the magazine itself. While the image of these women might seem to celebrate sameness and imitation, it also gestures to the possibility of multiplying selves and identities by engaging with the magazine. The style of Longley’s image also performs a kind of repetition, since it recalls Aubrey Beardsley’s Aestheticism with its sweeping curves and depictions of voluminous, dramatic garments that take their inspiration from animals – most famously, the peacock. Indeed, the decoration of these women’s cloaks and their fascinators recall some of Beardsley’s depictions of the bird. Thus an image redolent of the decadent 1890s adorns the first contents page of a magazine that promises to be an unprecedented venture. This reading accords with the idea that modern women were invited to imagine consumption – and particularly the consumption of fashion – as a way to try on and perform various subjectivities. Eve draws out the extent to which these forms of identification and disidentification extend to the reader’s variable and shifting

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attachments to different times, including the contemporary moment. Most obviously, that can involve dressing in styles that are fashionable and recall other times, places, and social locations. These include forms of historic fancy dress, which were pertinent to fashion, as articles on the topic in Eve and Vogue make clear. As Longley’s image suggests, this dynamic also emerges in the many garments, images, and articles that play upon the relationship between the rhythms and forms of nature and of dress. That relationship is foundational to the fashion system given that it is organised in terms of ‘seasons’, a structure that dominated the interwar period, as the tradition of a seasonal fashion week – when multiple houses showed their collections to clients, buyers, and journalists – was established.12 Designers and fashion illustrators also often reworked various natural forms and materials – particularly those of flowers, plants, insects, and animals. Such styles confirmed women’s association with nature and its rhythms. But they also highlight the modern woman’s distance from it, as they can adopt, adapt, and discard its forms. This is in keeping with Eve’s emphasis on the reader’s capacity to navigate multiple temporalities, particularly with the magazine’s help. Eve had to make its way through a number of transformations and periods. After four issues, it shifted from a monthly to a weekly publication. In March of 1921 Eve merged with the Lady’s Pictorial and the Woman’s Supplement of The Times to become Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial. In 1926 it absorbed Gentlewoman and Modern Life and then in 1929 merged with Britannia and was relaunched as Britannia and Eve. At each point, the periodical refashioned but did not abandon its original character. As Ilya Parkins’s chapter in this volume shows, the final mergers gave rise to a magazine in which anxieties about women’s incursion in the public sphere played out via the gendered relationship between word and image. Her observations attune us to the ways that the temporal dynamics that I have been describing also function via text and illustration. For example, the first issue after the 1921 merger had a feature, ‘To Our Readers – Old and New’, which described the new journal as a ‘step forward’ for Eve but was accompanied by the illustration of a flirtatious couple in eighteenth-century aristocratic formal dress, which was a signature image of the Woman’s Supplement (Eve 2 Mar 1921: 259). This image signalled the slightly more conservative turn that the magazine took. Eve remained the magazine’s central trope and figure, but she made way for more traditional content for women’s magazines like features on golf, hunting, and reports on various society figures. These shifts reinforced the particularly British character of this cosmopolitan magazine. The editorial announcing the merger declares, ‘Our object is to produce a clean, healthy English paper. We believe that papers of a similar type have in the near past been inclined to lean too much upon American or Parisian ideas, neglecting the sound genius that is latent in our own country’ (Eve 2 Mar 1921: 259). This rhetoric appears to be aimed particularly at Vogue, given the magazine’s American origins, focus on Paris, and competition for affluent readers with an interest in high fashion. In contrast, Eve is presented as a national body, which is connected to what is hidden in the land and which looks to but never depends upon anything American or Parisian. Eve may focus on the vicissitudes of fashion, but (at least in that moment) its true concern is enduring English flesh. This gesture of tying Eve’s health to that of the nation signals an undercurrent of anxiety that sometimes emerges in the magazine – particularly with respect to its capacity to manage and predict the future. The second issue of Eve includes an article,

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‘Fantasies of Fashion’, that begins ‘Thanks, Sister Fashion, for announcing that Stanislaus’s sketches are an admirable forecast of your commands’ (Eve Dec 1919: 58). The implication is that the magazine’s ‘promise of succession’ will help to ensure its success as a guide to fashion. For this language suggests that the magazine will not only provide predictions, but also reflect upon and evaluate their accuracy. Unsurprisingly, this was a promise only partially fulfilled; Eve was not quick to indicate when it had been wrong. But this article draws attention to the centrality of anxiety and anticipation to the experience of fashion, for both the magazines and readers risk getting the ‘commands’ of fashion (or rather ‘Fashion’) wrong in various ways and with various results. Eve is a particularly fitting figure for such underlying dread. After all, the fall opens the question of whether it will be followed by continual error or by redemption – a quandary suggested by the play on Paradise/Paris in the title of the feature ‘Eve in Paradise’. Eve takes a light-hearted approach to such themes, but the link between war and the fall we noted earlier reminds us that the question of whether the war would be sequential rather than singular was a matter of public debate throughout the interwar period. While matters of dress and war are absurdly incommensurate, fashion’s euphoric yet anxious pose highlights the extent to which the anticipation of repeated disaster was a defining structure of feeling in the interwar period.13 Both Vogue and Eve display an aesthetic and affect that appears to epitomise 1920s consumer culture. Yet rather than simply embrace what is modern – that is, what is ‘just now’ (modo in Latin) – or always speak in the ‘present tense’ (as Barthes says) these magazines highlight the temporal complexities of fashion and the periodical form. In doing so, they offer readers multiple ways to orient themselves towards the contemporary moment. They do so by helping to make clear what is contemporary in the first place and also by attending to the ways in which time diverges from the march of progress associated with normative modern concepts of history.

Notes 1. Beetham observes, ‘[t]he “now” in the periodical – like the time in which we read it – is always shot through with other kinds of time, messianic or mundane’ (2015: 338). My understanding of fashion’s complex temporal dynamics is indebted to Parkins (2012). 2. For analyses of periodicals and the gendered dynamics of non-standard time in the interwar period, see Green 2012 and Lutes 2008. 3. The negotiations of time that I perceive in fashion magazines overlap and intersect with what Parkins (2012) shows are the strategies undertaken by early twentieth-century fashion designers, particularly Poiret, Dior, and Schiaparelli, in order to establish their authority and control of women and the marketplace. 4. This argument accords with Parkins’s 2012 account of the how early and mid twentiethcentury designers managed their careers through discourses of time, especially with regard to their relation to their female clients. 5. Raymond Williams describes structures of feeling as the ‘set’ of ‘characteristic elements of impulse, restraint, and tone’ in a particular period and location (2009: 132). 6. On Vogue and Bloomsbury, see Reed 2006a; Luckhurst 1998; Garrity 1999; Mahood 2002. 7. On the relationship between fashion and the theatre in Britain until the First World War, see Kaplan and Stowell 1994. 8. On Nast’s strategy, see Seebohm 1982, especially 80–1. Beetham discusses how the Queen used this model (2015: 329).

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9. Cox and Mowatt agree with Chase (2012: 84). Reed calls into question a number of Chase’s claims (2006a: 40–4). Garrity (1999) barely mentions Todd, but she discusses the inclusion of Bloomsbury in Vogue as part of the magazine’s commercial project. 10. For an account of these strategies, see Garrity 1999. 11. Fish’s illustrations of Eve’s antics also were published in books, including The New Eve of 1917, and The Letters of Eve by Olivia Maitland-Davidson was issued in 1918. 12. For a history of the fashion show, see Evans 2013. 13. For a discussion of how such anticipation shapes and is given shape by literature and culture in the 1920s, see Saint-Amour 2015.

Works Cited Barthes, Roland. 1990. The Fashion System. Trans. Matthew Ward and Richard Howard. Berkeley: University of California Press. Beetham, Margaret. 1990. ‘Towards a Theory of the Periodical as a Publishing Genre.’ Investigating Victorian Journalism. Ed. Laurel Brake, Aled Jones, and Lionel Madden. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 19–32. —. 2015. ‘Time: Periodicals and the Time of the Now.’ Victorian Periodicals Review 48.3: 323–42. Benjamin, Walter. 1968. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History.’ Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Harcourt Brace. 253–64. Chase, Edna Woolman and Ilka Chase. 1954. Always in Vogue. New York: Curtis Books. Cohen, Lisa. 1999. ‘“Frock Consciousness”: Virginia Woolf, the Open Secret, and the Language of Fashion.’ Fashion Theory 3.2: 149–74. Cox, Howard and Simon Mowatt. 2012. ‘Vogue in Britain: Authenticity and Competitive Advantage in the UK Magazine Industry.’ Business History 54.1: 67–87. Evans, Caroline. 2013. The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America, 1900–1929. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Fish and Fowl. 1917. The New Eve. London: John Lane. Flügel, J. C. 1930. The Psychology of Clothes. London: Hogarth Press. Garrity, Jane. 1999. ‘Selling Culture to the “Civilized”: Bloomsbury, British Vogue, and the Marketing of National Identity.’ Modernism/Modernity 6.2: 29–58. Green, Barbara. 2012. ‘Complaints of Everyday Life: Feminist Periodical Culture and Correspondence Columns in The Woman Worker, Women Folk and The Freewoman.’ Modernism/ Modernity 19.3: 461–85. Kaplan, Joel H. and Sheila Stowell. 1994. Theatre and Fashion: Oscar Wilde to the Suffragettes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Luckhurst, Nicola. 1998. Bloomsbury in Vogue. London: Cecil Woolf. Lutes, Jean. 2008. ‘Journalism, Modernity, and the Globe-Trotting Girl Reporter.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. 167–81. Mahood, Aurelia. 2002. ‘Fashioning Vogue: The Avant Garde and British Vogue, 1920–9.’ Women: A Cultural Review 13.1: 37–47. Maitland-Davidson, Olivia. 1918. The Letters of Eve. London: Constable. Mussell, James. 2015. ‘Repetition: Or, “In Our Last”.’ Victorian Periodicals Review 48.3: 343–58. Parkins, Ilya. 2012. Poiret, Dior, Schiaperelli: Fashion, Femininity, and Modernity. London: Berg. Reed, Christopher. 2004. Bloomsbury Rooms: Modernism, Subculture, and Domesticity. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. —. 2006a. ‘A Vogue That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Sexual Subculture During the Editorship of Dorothy Todd, 1922–1926.’ Fashion Theory 10:1–2; 39–72.

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—. 2006b. ‘Design for (Queer) Living: Sexual Identity, Performance, and Decor in British Vogue, 1922–1926.’ GLQ 12.3: 377–403. Rosenman, Ellen. 2011. ‘Fear of Fashion: or, How the Coquette Got Her Bad Name.’ Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion. Ed. Ilya Parkins and Elizabeth M. Sheehan. Durham: University of New Hampshire. 89–102. Saint-Amour, Paul K. 2015. Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form. New York: Oxford University Press. Seebohm, Caroline. 1982. The Man Who Was Vogue: The Life and Times of Condé Nast. New York: Vintage. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines. London: Michael Joseph. Williams, Raymond. 2009. ‘Structures of Feeling.’ Marxism and Literature. New York: Oxford University Press. 128–35. Woolf, Virginia. 1938. Three Guineas. New York: Harcourt Brace, 2006.

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9 ‘Eve Goes Synthetic’: Modernising Feminine Beauty, Renegotiating Masculinity in BRITANNIA AND EVE Ilya Parkins

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he November 1933 issue of Britannia and Eve was billed, as always, as ‘a monthly for men and women’. On the cover of this number, the woman is spotlighted and the man hovers behind her, shadowed, apparently secondary, but undeniably prominent. I take this illustration – one of a tiny handful of covers from the magazine’s first decade that features more than just a solitary woman – as emblematic of the relationship between femininity and masculinity in the pages of Britannia and Eve. As I shall show through a reading of the relationship between word and image, though men are visually nearly absent, they maintain a significant presence, ghosting the magazine in a way that affirms masculine authority in relation to a newly visible feminised sphere. In early 1929, Britannia and Eve began publication as a monthly magazine from the merger of two weekly magazines, Britannia and Eve. The former was primarily geared toward men, but featured a fairly substantial women’s section near the back. The latter was a women’s magazine, published since 1919, characterised by complex discourses of temporality and femininity that are examined in detail by Elizabeth Sheehan in Chapter 8 of this volume. What emerged from the fusion of the two periodicals was curious, especially in its address to these two audiences during its first year. Britannia and Eve magazine looked and felt little different from any women’s magazine. Editorial content covered topics ranging from film stars, to single women, famous women in history, the psychology of fashion, interiors, and cookery. There were fashion pages and sections on women’s sport, women golfing, women motoring. In other words, most of the magazine was geared to women, so that Britannia’s former identity as a periodical addressed to a male audience was muted, even as it explicitly addressed itself to both men and women. Exceptions were found only in one or two of the fictional stories, and perhaps one feature. Political commentary and current affairs – cornerstones of predecessor Britannia – were mostly absent. The magazine changed in minor ways after this first year, and began to run more features aimed at an imagined male reader; from 1930, the ratio of typically ‘masculine’ to ‘feminine’ features was about 1:1, although the balance of the fictional stories in each issue altered so that more of the stories spoke to an imagined female reader, and of course the regular columns and sections oriented to women made up at least half of the content. Even after this change, the magazine remained a women’s title.

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Figure 9.1 Cover, Britannia and Eve. @ The British Library Board. All rights reserved. Shelfmark HIU.LON 214 [1933]. (Source: Britannia and Eve Nov 1933)

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Yet, as with other women’s or fashion magazines, contributions by men form an important part of the texture of Britannia and Eve. The structure I describe here, of a significant amount of somewhat ‘weighty’ editorial content about women authored by men, is not unique to Britannia and Eve. It is a significant feature of women’s periodicals in the interwar period. Influential examples include photographer Baron De Meyer’s regular Harper’s Bazaar columns merging light philosophical observation with comments on society, beauty, and style, and virtually all of the content of luxe French periodical Gazette du Bon Ton, sponsored by male fashion designers and featuring writing by various male figures from the literary establishment. It is through men’s editorial contributions – read against the backdrop of the magazine’s form – that we can locate a negotiation between the text as a feminised site, and the defence of masculine cultural space. For example, in a 1929 article about the feminised domain of women’s personal style, actor Donald Clayton Calthrop writes, as if disclosing a naughty secret, ‘[t]ruth to tell, woman needs a man or a mirror to tell her what she is or who she is’ (Britannia and Eve 15 Feb 1929: 169). This formulation is emblematic of the ways men’s writing constructs women and style throughout the run of Britannia and Eve in the interwar period. In imagining that women’s self-understanding and indeed their very identities are dependent on a masculine gaze, Calthrop tethers women’s engagement with fashion and beauty firmly to men, who become indispensable in a seemingly feminised sphere which otherwise threatens to render them irrelevant. Read against the variety of other meditations on feminine beauty by male authors in Britannia and Eve, this formulation becomes particularly telling. While it seems to place men firmly in the realm of women’s fashion, it crystallises most explicitly what might be read as anxiety about men’s role in relation to a democratising, standardising, and industrialising fashion and beauty industry, which was in turn related to a more generalised masculine anxiety in industrial modernity. That this anxiety was constantly worked through by men in the textual materials that appeared in the lavishly illustrated forum of what was for all intents and purposes a women’s magazine – notwithstanding its subtitle, ‘a monthly journal for men and women’ – suggests a profoundly gendered opposition between text and image in Britannia and Eve. The magazine itself is a spectacular site, shot through with images of women’s bodies, fashion, and beauty treatments. In this sense, it conforms to the feminine character of spectacularity, which had consolidated in the post-WWI period. As I detail below, it is easy to mistake the magazine for a ‘feminine’ document if we confine our analysis to its visual character, including its advertising, and the topics represented. Women’s overwhelming visibility seems to suggest their centrality, and men’s relative absence. But a closer look at the title, and in particular at men’s written contributions, complicates this understanding, and makes it clear that men were a kind of ghostly presence in the pages of Britannia and Eve. They were largely invisible, but made present and authoritative through their relationships with textual materials. The magazine’s split personality supports the alignment of fashionable women with the superficial aspects of modern spectacle. At the same time, the magazine establishes masculinity – through the simple fact of men’s signatures on text that is marked as distinct from advertising – as a directing, authorial, and above all surveying presence. It also establishes men as arbiters of and ultimately authorities on fashion, beauty, and women’s lives. Such sleight of hand in a magazine that interpellates women as its primary readers sheds new light on the ideological work being done in women’s periodicals in this period, and shows that the

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relative invisibility of masculinity in some sites of modern femininity must not be read in utopian terms. Rather, invisibility in this instance dovetails all too neatly with the gendered nature of the concept of the ‘neutral’, unmarked human: in this case, the abstract everyman concealed behind a masculine signature. This is evident in the content of the articles authored by men that will be explored below, to be sure, but it is also embodied in the very form of the magazine through an uncomfortable relationship between text and image, one that redressed the anxiety that women’s changing fashion and beauty culture seemed to provoke in men. My analysis here responds to the turn to conceptions of the women’s magazine as a ‘feminised space’ since the mid-1990s.1 This approach adds much-needed complexity to the dominant femininist dismissal of women’s magazines as sites for the ideological reproduction of patriarchy, recognising the form as, in Amy Aronson’s words, ‘noisy, complex’ (2010: 32). As Beetham argued in A Magazine of Her Own, this multivalent ‘feminised space’ made it ‘possible to challenge oppressive and repressive models of the feminine’ (1996: 3). Perhaps, though, readings of the women’s magazine as a feminine sphere inadvertently over-invest in the separateness of spheres – after all, an ideological construction that, while influential, bore little relation to the lived world – and paper over the porousness and complexity of this space. Beetham herself notes that ‘the feminised world of the magazine . . . is constantly entered and appropriated by historical men’ (1996: 3). Britannia and Eve offers a fine example of this incursion, and shows that the periodical’s feminine space constantly negotiated conflicting influences and was ‘still operating in a paternalistic superstructure’ into the twentieth century, to borrow a point made by Christopher Breward about nineteenth-century fashion magazines (1994: 81). This analysis suggests that women’s magazines were neither a utopian feminised space nor a blunt instrument of patriarchy. I suggest instead that they are poignant documents, in this period, of a changing public sphere.

Feminine Fashion and Beauty, Masculine Anxiety The anxiety that men faced in relation to changes in fashion and beauty culture is helpfully contextualised by Ellen Rosenman’s essay about representations of women’s fashion in the Victorian period. Rosenman reveals a profound anxiety on the part of men about the threat posed to their supremacy by women’s engagement with and knowledge of fashion. She writes of a husband struggling to understand his wife: her enchantment with fashion reveals that his wife is a separate subject who lives in a world with its own values and concerns, which he has failed to even imagine: he is stunned not only by his wife’s extravagance but by her deep investment in fashion for its own sake, in contrast to her tenuous and instrumental investment in her husband. (Rosenman 2011: 96) In other words, women’s profound relationships with actual garments, with their own self-regard, and with the women for whom they seem to dress, displace their focus on pleasing men. The love of fashion risks disrupting the centrality of the heterosexual love relationship in bourgeois culture. Rosenman’s argument resonates with themes that emerge from a close analysis of the writing by men in the Britannia and Eve of the 1930s. But by this decade, the

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terrain was very different. The proliferation of images had by the end of the 1920s spectacularised femininity to a strong degree, so that the visually saturating culture of modernity – which was the subject of constant comment in such magazines – seemed to thrust women into the formerly masculinised public sphere, at least at the level of their visual availability. The magazine, in fact, is an artefact of this spectacularisation, as it is a thoroughly feminised visual field. And as a series of Britannia and Eve articles by men makes clear, by the late 1920s women were also in contact with fashion and beauty as industries, in a way that aligned them with developments in industrial capitalism, itself a quasi-public, and certainly masculinised, sphere. What makes the dialogue among men about women’s beauty and fashionability distinct in this period, then, is its attempt to respond to the increasing visual evidence of women’s movement into the public sphere. In Britannia and Eve, most of the articles by men are written very explicitly from a male perspective, as if to offset the complete feminisation of the genre and certainly reminding readers of the primacy of the heterosexual dyad in this medium replete with seductive images of women. The men writing for the magazine were, for the most part, established writers – essayists, novelists, journalists. Their names are mostly unfamiliar now, but they represent a solidly middlebrow voice. These are usually personal meditations, often tracing events and relationships. The men’s representation of their own subjectivity exemplifies what Sarah Newman identifies as a feature of the British press in the 1930s: ‘opinionated and emotive articles on society, culture and politics often signed by professional journalists or attributed to leading figures from political or public life were becoming a more persistent feature of the national press’ (2013: 702). In this vein, the men’s writing shows how women’s fashion and beauty culture were understood as political issues demanding of moral positions. One issue that leads to the expression of a variety of moral positions is fashion’s social context in the modern age. Several pieces on the history of fashion and beauty suggest an acute awareness of the way that fashion has changed in the last three decades – its accelerated tempo, its standardisation and industrialisation. Donald Calthrop, for instance, asks, ‘What has become of dear old ladies, those sweet apple-cheeked darlings in lace caps? . . . I think age is out of date’ (Britannia and Eve 15 Feb 1929: 169). Or, noting the changes in fashion mores, Shaw Desmond identifies 1930 as ‘an age in which the art of concealment has become the art of revealment’ (Britannia and Eve May 1930: 32). Underlying this recognition – which is always marked by regret at the loss of earlier moral and aesthetic codes – is a sense that the purpose of fashion has changed, potentially displacing men’s imagined role as the beneficiaries of women’s beautification. Cosmo Hamilton, for example, laments the present era as one in which women dress for themselves and other women, rather than for men: ‘If women dressed for men . . . there would be far less of that slavish standardisation than there is to-day. Women would be free to wear what suits them and not what is “the thing”’ (Britannia and Eve Dec 1929: 160). The writing expresses frustration with the way that fashion has disturbed rituals of heterosexual courtship. Hamilton writes that it is ‘irritating and even distressing to take someone out to dinner whose dress appears to have a chunk bitten out of it by her tame Alsatian’ (Britannia and Eve Dec 1929: 160) And Donald Calthrop suggests that, with increasing standardisation, women ‘now look like a sheet of stamps from which you can tear one off when you want to take one out to dinner or the theatre’ (Britannia and Eve 15 Feb 1929: 169) Hamilton and Calthrop are concerned about the optics,

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then, of women’s devotion to fashion; they seem to emblematise Thorstein Veblen’s concept of conspicuous consumption, in which women’s self-fashioning reflects men’s ability to pay for beauty (Veblen 1899: 72–3). Women’s insistence on following fashions that do not positively reflect the men they are with challenges the foundations of the heterosexual contract. But it is also notable that both Hamilton and Calthrop indict standardisation, and so does dynastic couturier Jacques Worth, who argues that ‘in their mania for standardisation, women have . . . reduced their figures to a plane of monotonous uniformity’ (Britannia and Eve May 1929: 66). Here we are recalled to Caroline Evans’s analysis of the fashion model as an ambiguous and uncanny relic of standardisation and uniformity, an ambiguous living symbol of industrialisation and mechanisation. As Evans writes, ‘[t]he look itself became a distancing device, and industrial aesthetics provided the ideal packaging for the estranged body-object of the New Woman, both a defense and a social sign of a new professional “type”: cold, unavailable, detached, at work’ (2008: 260). And what I’d like, indeed, to take from this recurrent theme of standardisation is the connection to industrial capitalism. The pieces suggest another way in which fashionable women threatened to destabilise social relations: by making incursions, through fashion and beauty as industrialising spheres, into formerly masculine terrain. Anxiety about such incursions is especially notable in a series of articles by C. Patrick Thompson, who wrote six pieces between 1932 and 1939 on the development of the fashion and beauty industries as rivals to other giants of big business. As he writes in a 1936 piece, ‘a changing female silhouette is a major world economic phenomenon’ (Britannia and Eve Feb 1936: 28). In 1939, he tells readers that [e]very time a woman powders her nose, she vibrates a delicate network of strings whose other ends are tied to the big toe of the world industrial giant. When she pulls on a pair of silk stockings in the quiet and luxury of her boudoir, she plays a ‘bit’ part in the great drama of our international economic order. (Britannia and Eve May 1939: 13) Thompson’s series details the rapprochement of the feminised spheres of beauty and fashion, with what are imagined to be the thoroughly masculine worlds of scientific advancement, global industry, and capital. As he puts it, ‘Conceivably we err in calling this the Scientific Age . . . We should be on safe ground with the Age of Beauty; safer still with the Cosmetic Age’ (Britannia and Eve Jan 1932: 16). Thompson’s articles document tensions over the implications of modern fashion and beauty culture for masculinity. For, in identifying fashion as a site for the incursion of femininity into the hitherto masculine sphere of industry and finance, Thompson is describing women’s attachment, however oblique, to what is ideologically constructed as the public sphere. And if the excessively feminine worlds of fashion and beauty were significantly linked to international finance, then not only did this suggest that women’s sphere of influence was expanding, but it also suggested that the ideologically freighted distinction between these two spheres, private and public, was at risk. Also evident, particularly in Thompson’s pieces, is the sense that the new industrialisation of beauty and fashion once again diverts women’s attention, prioritising a relationship with the public, and the status of being publicly available, over women’s

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intimate relationships with men. Such a view emerges in a significant sub-argument: that industrialisation leads to the dominance of ‘synthetic beauty’. Implied here and throughout the articles by men about women’s beauty is scorn for women’s artifice. Of course, this calls on an ancient trope that aligns the feminine with the superficial, the illusory, and thus with danger. As Liz Conor notes, in the 1920s, ‘[a]lmost as a warning, the woman-object was used to figure illusion’ (2004: 27). In a field of cultural modernism newly concerned with the virtue of revelation, this was particularly threatening, signalling as it did the ultimate elusiveness of the feminine. What made this iteration of feminine artifice particularly modern was, according to Thompson, its emergence directly from what by this time was an established and powerful film industry. Thompson claims that ‘the films are changing the whole aspect of our world and of human habit, as profoundly as the automobile has done. Especially women are being moulded in externals and in beauty standards by the synthetic creations of the film factory technical experts . . .’ (Britannia and Eve May 1938: 22). His vision of industrialised fashion locates its origins in individual women’s attempts to imitate film stars, which invariably engage with the ‘synthetic’ aesthetic. What is striking about these sections on synthetic beauty is their indictment of the emulation of film stars for making fashionable women available to the public gaze. For example, Thompson imagines asking the popular actor Gracie Fields why she has ‘gone blonde and glamorous’, and suggests that her answer will be, ‘the public like it . . . I can’t suit myself . . . what the public want is good enough for me . . .’ (Britannia and Eve May 1938: 22). For a film star to self-fashion for her public is one thing, but when celebrity styles are diffused and ordinary women take on such guises themselves, the line between public self-fashioning and private life is blurred in disturbing ways. What Thompson calls the ‘Hollywood dream factories’ churn out models of femininity that are ‘the standards of contemporary Eve. Even serious-minded, austere or disdainful ladies, who ignore the vulgar movies . . . are still influenced and affected, through the hairdresser, the milliner, the dressmaker, the magazines and newspapers’ (Britannia and Eve May 1938: 132). The worrying result is that not only have women taken on the styles of the stars, but these styles are themselves oriented to the public-pleasing that Thompson imagines in Gracie Fields. In one of his many dismissals of artifice, he notes, for example, that ‘[n]ature shaped the female leg to attract the male. But line and curve are no longer enough. Sheen and lustre must be added’ (Britannia and Eve May 1938: 23). In other words, the cultivation of feminine beauty to attract men is no longer the goal of fashionable women. ‘Sheen’ and ‘lustre’ are tools to bedazzle a greater range of potential spectators, as the woman learns to think of herself as the centre of a spectacular visual experience. This undefined spectacle-hungry public does not have the interests of men at its heart. Elsewhere, Thompson writes, ‘[g]irls used to stay at home and see their beaus in the evening, under soft lights and against backgrounds carefully designed to flatter. Now they meet in the hot glare of hotel lounges and talkie theatre foyers and hotel bars, or on tennis courts and golf courses in broad daylight . . .’; Thompson then notes that ‘women care more for their appearance when they are on public view than when they are with their husbands in the privacy of the home. (A clue, possibly, to the riddle of the ever-rising divorce rate.)’ (Britannia and Eve Jan 1932: 86). Thompson’s description of women’s active participation in the turn toward the public resonates with Liz Conor’s articulation of the new feminine: ‘For perhaps the

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first time in the West, modern women understood self-display to be part of the quest for mobility, self-determination, and identity’, she writes (2004: 29). By aligning woman with the active sphere of industry and the intentional cultivation of an admiring gaze from strangers, Thompson picks up on the challenging and agentic capacity that this position entails; it is a manipulation of image culture in which, as Conor puts it, the dichotomous positioning of ‘appearing’ and ‘being’ is eroded, and appearing becomes a form of being that opens a new range of possibilities for conceiving of selfhood. Thompson’s construction of the modern woman identifies her visual availability as the threatening redistribution of a previously guarded resource. Where women used to limit their visible circulation, now they freely traffic themselves. In so doing, they muddy the clearly defined relationship that was at the centre of earlier beauty and fashion efforts. Reading such an analysis together with the stress on women’s beauty culture as central to industrial capitalism, we find important clues to a tangled web of causes for masculine anxiety in the face of modern women’s engagements with style. This is about women’s entry into the public sphere, to be sure. But the persistent attention to industrialisation, standardisation, and their relationship to a new, public way of being, gives us a lens through which to see this in contractual, economic terms. One kind of contractual obligation – the one at the centre of a heterosexual dyad – is being replaced with another, more diffuse one, in which women are ‘contractually’ bound to an ambiguous public in multiple ways. This new kind of relation is not as surely circumscribed, and it is much more diffuse. Who is a woman bound to? The public? Leaders of industry? Capitalism writ large? In fact, as she becomes more publicly visible, it is, unexpectedly, her unknowability that comes into view. Though her role as a thing of beauty to both please and glorify her husband or lover had been certain – and ensured her man’s place as the economic enabler of her loveliness – here was a new way of being that indicated a place in the economy on her own terms, but was unclear about the precise nature of that role. For in Thompson’s pieces, ambiguity prevails; the construction of the relationship between women and industry stresses its indistinctness, even while positing its importance. And consider, too, Thompson’s verdict: women engage in beautifying rituals ‘to be changed – not beautified, just changed. The fact is no woman wants to look permanent now’ (Britannia and Eve Jan 1932: 17). Fashion’s ephemerality, its volatility have contributed to the creation of this new kind of womanhood. Its changeability has bled into women’s being and turned them into modern subjects with all the trappings, including a significant if not fully legible relationship to the public sphere and industry that displaces men’s exclusive hold on these, at the same time as it threatens the exclusivity of the sexual contract. Here we are returned to Rosenman’s argument about the anxiety produced by women’s engagement with fashion, which seemed to underline the superfluity of their relationships with men. In Britannia and Eve, a similar dynamic is at work, but it is crucially transformed by the advent of a new conception of modernity, and accompanying organisational dynamics of accelerated production as well as the much greater cultural visibility of the feminine. Industrialising and democratising fashion, in conjunction with the spectacularisation of women’s bodies, describe to male spectators the ongoing transformation of the relations among women, the public, and the private in the modern age, which is ongoing, diffuse, difficult to locate, and thus particularly threatening.

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Authorship, Authority, and Feminine Spectacle Altogether a range of men’s writing about women’s beauty and style in Britannia and Eve reveals anxieties about bourgeois men’s exclusive hold on the public sphere. It is possible to see this as an erosion of masculine power in industrial modernity. But as any scholar of periodical culture knows, confining our analysis to textual content impoverishes our readings of this complex genre. In this case, supplementing a content analysis of men’s writing with an attention to the form of the magazine reveals a reassertion of masculine authority. Men reside – invisible, ghostly – in the spaces occupied by words. Their alliance with text distinguishes them from feminised imagery, and bolsters the perception of their authenticity, and thus the conceptual weight of their arguments. Thinking beyond the content of the magazine makes clear that it contains as much evidence of the defence of a masculine public sphere as of a feminine incursion into the masculine spaces of modernity. The first issue to consider is the creation of authorial signature – which seems to guarantee personal communication of some kind – and its relation to the traditional public sphere, with its ideal of a disinterested everyman. What the magazine shows is that though recent trends in journalism from the late nineteenth century seemed to move past this disembodied ideal, in fact the ideal persisted in some venues under the guise of the caustic, observant – and, crucially, intimate – friend. Though men’s subjective voices were privileged in their pieces on fashion and beauty, it was often an objective, authoritative stance that they articulated. As one article by couturier Jacques Worth suggested – expressing a sentiment echoed by several – ‘some men, like my brother and myself, can create for Dame Fashion because they see her objectively, and so are superior to women as designers’ (Britannia and Eve May 1929: 66). A curious slippage takes place here, in which a male author uses his signature and subjective perspective to underline his role as objective arbiter. It is not surprising that such a slippage emerges in relation to fashion and beauty culture: men, with the authority supposedly conferred by distance from fashion and artifice, could provide the morally absolute perspective on this pursuit. The move toward subjective voice in British journalism followed a significant and contested turn away from anonymity. The late nineteenth-century development of the ‘New Journalism’ saw what Richard Salmon calls a ‘desire to transform journalistic discourse into an intimate mode of communication’ (2000: 28). By the time Britannia and Eve began publication, this initial turn toward authorial signature had become still more intimate. But even in the wake of the move away from anonymous journalism, those given the responsibility for public commentary on a subject always already embodied authority. This is certainly the case in a publication like Britannia and Eve, in which authors are drawn from the British middle class and upper-middle classes and thus represent a largely uninterrogated voice of respectability. This is a fraught intimacy, then. It may be that male columnists are in an intimate relationship with readers – and certainly their tone suggests this – but rather than an exchange, this is a meeting of immature and impressionable feminine subjects with all-seeing, if supposedly benevolent, witnesses and arbiters of their fashionable practices. As Salmon notes, ‘intimacy in these texts is a form of abstraction’ (2000: 30). That is, it abstracts the voice of the author, who dispenses his opinions in the tone of a witty friend but in fact establishes himself as a distant and disembodied observer.

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In this sense, the apparently ‘intimate’ practice of emotive, authorially marked journalism in fashion magazines renews the spirit of universalising observation from the era of anonymous fashion journalism. Margaret Waller characterises this earlier form of writing by men about women’s fashion in French journals of the Directory: ‘[d] espite his professional (and perhaps personal) interest in what fashionable people were wearing, nowhere does the implied viewer-as-writer . . . reveal himself as clothed or embodied, explicitly marked by sex or class or any other kind of social identity’ (1997: 49). In this way, fashion writing, whose associations with a feminised, trivialised, and embodied domain might otherwise compromise the male journalist, contributes to the maintenance of his authority as a transcendent subject, even when founded on subjective opinion. Fashion-related writing lends itself particularly well to this kind of intimacy-cumdistance because of its concern with what by the early twentieth century was an undeniably spectacular domain. The updated genre of observational fashion narrative relies on a pronounced spectatorial stance in relation to modish women. Analysing the Savoy magazine of the 1890s, Laurel Brake finds many articles written from the perspective of ‘the male spectator as an outsider privy to prohibited or even female space’ (1994: 155). The selection of articles by men in Britannia and Eve certainly fits this description if we consider beauty and fashion in general as feminine space. Articles by men in Britannia and Eve always describe looking at women – on cinema screens, in streets, theatres, and beauty parlours. And so the intimacy that is produced in the men’s writing is mediated by the structures of looking that accompany spectacle. Because of its intersections with the perception of men’s authority and their distance from fashion, it is an intimacy that looks primarily like ‘knowingness’, mastery. It is an intimacy with types of women, with modern femininity writ large and on display in the spectacular culture of modernity. Indeed, the visual character of the magazine buttressed the abstracted intimacy created by the masculine address. Covers typically featured a colour illustration of a conventionally beautiful young woman. The illustrations accompanying editorial features were likewise nearly all of women, with nudity beginning to feature occasionally from the middle of the 1930s, usually in pieces about health or exercise. Advertisements were, in a proportion of over 90 per cent, also aimed at women, either by virtue of the commodities they sold or a textual voice that explicitly interpellated female consumers – such as adverts advocating the feeding of bran flakes to husbands, assuring ‘madam’ that this was pure barley water, or assuaging the woman driver’s fear of gear-shifting. A vast number of ads – those for clothing, lingerie, stockings, and motor cars most significantly – also prominently featured women’s bodies. Thus it is fair to say that the magazine was a kind of feminine visual field, of a piece with a generally saturating feminised spectacle. Yet a look at the relationships of editorial and advertising, text and illustration inside the magazine shows that this feminisation of the form was complex. Advertising was confined to a few pages at the front of the magazine, and large quantities at the back; it was entirely separate from the feature articles and fictional stories, where men’s writing was found. The back advertisements, though, did interleave with the expansive ‘Home’, ‘Beauty’, ‘Health’, and ‘Fashion’ editorial sections, all geared explicitly and exclusively to women. Since feature editorial was the only genre in the magazine that intermittently interpellated men, the relegation of advertising to the

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feminine sections is significant. The maintenance of a boundary between advertising and feature editorial ensured that the ‘purity’ of the textual form was bound up with the masculine. On the other hand, advertising worked to cement the association of the feminine spheres to which it was relegated, with consumption and spectacle. Not only was the visual character of the magazine overwhelmingly feminised, but it was also conceptually aligned with the commodity market. Where images illustrated editorial text, they featured female forms that echoed the feminine forms depicted in advertising. Imagery of all types, then, was subsumed under the signs of the feminine commodity market (and so directly related to the market for artifice that male writers had so much anxiety about). As I have established, men’s articles suggested that women’s incursion into the terrain of commerce threatened to destabilise it, to taint it with both irrationality, and with threatening artifice represented by the commodities being sold. The content of the articles, which expresses suspicion of such superficiality, is compounded by the nature of images as market-oriented, and the relegation of many of them to the outer poles of the magazine.2 The magazine replicates the ideological split between masculine interiority and feminine superficiality, and it does this through the visually saturating presence of femininity, which allows a masculine presence to ‘haunt’ the pages of Britannia and Eve. This haunting masculinity is aligned with text, not images. But images and words are, of course, deeply relational. I suggest that words dominate through authoritative weight, even though they appear secondary. In ‘Rhetoric of the Image’, Roland Barthes proposes that though the modern cultural landscape is saturated with images, ‘it is not accurate to talk of the civilization of the image’ (1977: 38). In his discussion of anchorage, he suggests that words are a technology ‘intended to fix the floating chain of signifieds in such a way as to counter the terror of uncertain signs’, such as any image (38). Words read in relation to the image, Barthes writes, ‘constitute a kind of vise which holds the connoted meanings from proliferating’ (38). He further argues that this anchorage of image in the meaning more coercively given by words is principally ideological. Though Barthes’s work on the relationship between word and image is about singular images – such as advertisements – the example of Britannia and Eve shows that it might be extended to account for the relationship of a body of images to a body of words in the magazine as a heterogeneous text. In effect, Barthes suggests that images are subordinated by words. And if we read the interplay of text and image as deeply gendered, then we begin to grasp an ongoing account of defensiveness against spectacular femininity, a story that might complicate the impulse to attribute a kind of subversive claiming of cultural space to the visually saturating phenomenon of feminine spectacle. I am mindful of W. J. T. Mitchell’s injunction against the ‘compulsion to conceive of the relationship between words and images in political terms, as a struggle for territory, a contest of ideologies’ (1987: 43). And Fiona Hackney shows that the boundaries between text and image could be porous in a women’s magazine, calling on the example of Modern Woman in the 1920s and 30s (2008: 123). Nor is the dominance of masculinised text inevitable. Julia Thomas shows, for example, how Punch’s nineteenth-century disparagement of the fashion for crinolines was meaningless without the feminised image (2004: 77–104). And the example of the magazine as a form surely should remind us not to imagine any text as monolithic; this is a fragmented and internally complex genre. Nevertheless, the gendered

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and political character of the relationship between text and image is unsurprising in the particular case of the fashion magazine as a site that contains and plays out anxieties about the creation of a new feminine public. For I am also cognisant of Mitchell’s foregrounding of the ‘contempt [that] springs from the assurance that images are powerless, mute, inferior kinds of signs; the fear stems from the recognition that these signs, and the “others” who believe in them, may be in the process of taking power’ (1987: 151). In the context of Britannia and Eve, a forum concerned largely if not exclusively with fashion and style – and in which images were explicitly aligned with the feminine through their constant depiction of stylish women’s bodies – this concern is amplified. Not only is it women, inherently artificial, who are pictured, but the form of their picturing, in its connections to commerce, trades on that artifice. If the images stood alone, then we might consider this to be the triumph of illusion, the full emplacement of the feminine at the heart of modernist culture. In her groundbreaking work on feminine spectacle and appearing-as-being in the 1920s, Conor writes that ‘[w]omen were now able to challenge that object status rather than participate in confirming it, by occupying the space of those images and appearing within the visual and cultural domain they created’ (2004: 31). The character of the anxiety that runs through men’s writing in Britannia and Eve, reacting to such appearances, shows that this was a palpable change. But it was not the full story; if we are mindful of the complexity of feminine spectacle, including its mediation in text, then we get a more variegated and conflictual picture of spectacular femininity’s character in fashion and beauty-related magazines. In particular, what becomes apparent is the importance of invisibility, and a consequent inversion of the values attached to visibility and invisibility. If men are ghostly presences, it is because they are largely absent from the visual field of the magazine. In Specters of Marx, Derrida distinguishes between ghosts as figures of social marginality and ghosts as vectors of sovereign power, transparent, disembodied, unmarked. Near the beginning of the text, Derrida includes a discussion of the optics of sovereign ghostliness that seems particularly relevant to a discussion of words and imagery. The ghost, he writes, is distinct ‘not only from the icon or the idol, but also from the image of the image, from the Platonic phantasma . . .’ (2006: 6). In refusing to be pictured, the spectre evades and degrades the sphere of deception and falsehood that is by implication associated with the visible. This figure is not seeable, but, crucially, sees us. And as an enforcer of the absolute, he compels us with his voice. Derrida writes, ‘[s]ince we do not see the one who sees us, and who makes the law . . . we cannot identify it in all certainty, we must fall back on its voice’ (7). Derrida’s sovereign spectre seems to describe the struggles revealed in Britannia and Eve’s pages, as men’s textual voices claim authority from the phantasmatic women who illustrate the magazine. Bourgeois men become absent presences, having been, on one level, turfed in the reconfiguration of the public sphere in spectacular modernity. Masculine authority, though, having been rendered invisible, must not be imagined to be muted; in fact, invisibility creates the conditions for the maintenance of authority in the reconfigured public sphere. We see, then, a complex interplay between visibility, knowability, and authority in the pages of a women’s magazine, in which it is precisely men’s visual absence that guarantees their trustworthiness, a positioning that is buttressed both by the denigration of artifice that anchors the content of their work, and the alignment of image and artifice with women in the layout of the magazine. Of course, this is another manifestation of the very particular way that social power is transparent, unmarked –

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the ungraspability of whiteness, of masculinity, of heterosexuality – but examining it in the interwar fashion press helps us think about precisely how this positioning of privileged bodies as invisible itself emerges from and plays upon the conventions of the visible in spectacular culture. Investigating fashion in general foregrounds how sartorial modes contributed to the renegotiation of women’s role vis-à-vis the public – the spectacularising influence of the fashion world, in partnership with other new visual technologies, had the effect of inserting the feminine into the public spaces of modernity, where they prompted, as many historical accounts have shown, untold anxiety. This precisely describes the case of Britannia and Eve. It is quite easy to read a magazine that participates in this visual saturation as a straightforward insertion of feminine iconography into the modern. Yet, if we take a close look at the textual voice of bourgeois men in the magazine, we see that the relationship of women to the public sphere was much more fraught than this. Rather, what we see is a defence of the public sphere as a masculine preserve through the very means by which the composition of the public sphere as the preserve of rational disembodied subjects is challenged by feminine spectacle. And so Britannia and Eve usefully attunes us to a quite porous and flexible public sphere, which absorbs challenges through reconfiguration and incorporation.

Notes 1. For this, see Beetham 1996; Stevens and Maclaren 2005; Aronson 2001, 2010. 2. For a discussion of this kind of gendered split between advertising and editorial at the end of the previous century, see Laurel Brake’s discussion of what occurred under Oscar Wilde’s editorship of Woman’s World (1994: 137).

Works Cited Aronson, Amy. 2001. ‘Domesticity and Women’s Collective Agency: Contribution and Collaboration in American’s First Successful Women’s Magazine.’ American Periodicals 11: 1–23. —. 2010. ‘Still Reading Women’s Magazines: Reconsidering the Tradition a Half-Century After The Feminine Mystique.’ American Journalism 27.2: 31–61. Barthes, Roland. 1977. ‘Rhetoric of the Image.’ Image-Music-Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Fontana. 32–51. Beetham, Margaret. 1996. A Magazine of Her Own: Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800–1914. London: Routledge. Brake, Laurel. 1994. Subjugated Knowledges: Journalism, Gender and Literature in the Nineteenth Century. New York: New York University Press. Breward, Christopher. 1994. ‘Femininity and Consumption: The Problem of the Late NineteenthCentury Fashion Journal.’ Journal of Design History 7.2: 71–89. Conor, Liz. 2004. The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Derrida, Jacques. 2006. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International. Trans. Peggy Kamuf. New York: Routledge Classics. Evans, Caroline. 2008. ‘Jean Patou’s American Mannequins: Early Fashion Shows and Modernism.’ Modernism/Modernity 15.2: 243–63. Hackney, Fiona. 2008. ‘“Women Are News”: British Women’s Magazines 1919–1939.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 114–33.

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Mitchell, W. J. T. 1987. Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Newman, Sarah. 2013. ‘Gentleman, Journalist, Gentleman-Journalist: Gossip Columnists and the Professionalisation of Journalism in Interwar Britain.’ Journalism Studies 14.5: 698–715. Rosenman, Ellen. 2011. ‘Fear of Fashion, or, How the Coquette Got Her Bad Name.’ Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion. Ed. Ilya Parkins and Elizabeth M. Sheehan. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. 89–102. Salmon, Richard. 2000. ‘“A Simulacrum of Power”: Intimacy and Abstraction in the Rhetoric of the New Journalism.’ Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities. Ed. Laurel Brake, Bill Bell, and David Finkelstein. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 27–39. Stevens, Lorna and Pauline Maclaren. 2005. ‘Exploring the “Shopping Imaginary”: The Dreamworld of Women’s Magazines.’ Journal of Consumer Behaviour 4.4: 282–92. Thomas, Julia. 2004. Pictorial Victorians: The Inscription of Values in Word and Image. Athens: Ohio University Press. Veblen, Thorstein. 1899. The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. New York: B. W. Huebsch. Waller, Margaret. 1997. ‘Disembodiment as a Masquerade: Fashion Journalists and Other “Realist” Observers in Directory Paris.’ L’Esprit Créateur 37.1: 44–54.

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10 MISS MODERN: Youthful Feminine Modernity and the Nascent Teenager, 1930–40 Penny Tinkler

Here at last is a magazine devoted from cover to cover to all the varying interests of the modern girl. (Miss Modern Oct 1930: 15)

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ddressing mainly middle-class ‘girls’ in their mid-teens to early twenties, Miss Modern ran in Britain from 1930 to 1940. Paid work was central to the intended reader’s identity, reflecting its establishment by 1920 as the norm for middleclass and working-class girls. Interwar young working women were often noted for their modernity, characterised by greater freedom and opportunities following the First World War. They enjoyed an expansion of employment prospects and in 1928 they finally got the vote on the same terms as men. They were physically liberated by postwar fashions; short, loose-fitting dresses replaced long skirts and hair was worn short in bobs and shingles. Relations with men were no longer hampered by chaperones and youth as a life stage became strongly associated with leisure (Langhamer 2000). In their free time and with their wages, young women created distinctive youth identities through commercial and informal leisure choices. They were also constructed and courted as consumers, as evidenced by a proliferation of magazines targeting them. Interwar working girls’ papers constructed their intended readers as a distinct age-related group in terms of identity, activities, and interests; this was decades before the late-1950s ascendancy of the ‘teenager’ characterised by age-distinctive leisure, consumption, and style. Miss Modern was significant in this context, though it has received very little scholarly attention (Tinkler 1995). Miss Modern gave colourful expression to the possibilities afforded by being young, female, and modern in the 1930s. Distinguished from other working girls’ magazines by its highly developed construction of youthful feminine modernity, the figure of ‘Miss Modern’ was the most sophisticated interwar articulation of a nascent teenager in girls’ magazines; a precursor to the teenager as imagined in the pages of Honey, launched in 1960, and widely regarded as the first successful monthly teen magazine (Tinkler 2014; Carter 2016). Honey catered to a similar age group as Miss Modern – what postwar marketing consultant Mark Abrams (1961) coined the ‘teenage consumer’ – but there were significant differences between magazine constructions of the interwar nascent teenager and her postwar successor. In contrast to Honey, constructions of female

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youth were slippery within interwar periodical publishing, and the distinctiveness of the young consumer was still perceived by advertisers as fragile. Focusing on Miss Modern and its construction of youthful feminine modernity, this chapter examines closely the nascent teenager. It begins by introducing Miss Modern and other interwar working girls’ magazines. It then addresses youthful feminine modernity before focusing on the characteristics of ‘Miss Modern’s’ lifestyle and central themes that characterised it. In conclusion, it reflects on the relationship between ‘Miss Modern’ – the nascent teenager – and the postwar teenager. The chapter employs an ‘inclusive’ approach to studying magazines (Tinkler 2016). This involves consideration of the field of periodical publishing in which an individual title is located. There are two dimensions to this mapping – lateral and longitudinal. Lateral mapping engages with the range of magazines published for a particular constituency at a specific historical moment, in this instance, magazines produced for young working women in interwar Britain. Longitudinal study addresses the forerunners and successors of the magazines that are the focus of the research; here, the relationships between Miss Modern and earlier working girls’ magazine such as Girls’ Favourite (1922–7) and postwar teen magazine, Honey (1960–86).1 An inclusive strategy also involves a holistic approach to magazine content that engages with text, image, and design and the relationships between them. A holistic approach is useful because women’s magazines are ‘composite’ in form: a combination of fiction, features, editorials, adverts, pictures, and so on.2

Introducing Miss Modern The editor was categorical that Miss Modern was not intended for ‘women’ or ‘children’: ‘There are so many papers for married women, for women, and men as well, and for girls who are really children but this is for girls like you’ (Oct 1930: 15). Articles described readers as in their late teens and early twenties, although readership was broader: problem pages included letters from girls of fifteen, single women in their late twenties, and young wives and mothers. ‘Girls’ were assumed to have distinctive needs arising from their age-related interests, troubles, and pleasures. They were defined partly by being old enough to work full time. Although the school leaving age was fourteen, Miss Modern’s intended readers stayed on until they were sixteen. They were also defined by their place in the ‘heterosexual career’ (Tinkler 1995: 3) and were expected to be courting and anticipating marriage in the near future. Twenty-five was the average age of marriage for young women in 1931 (Lewis 2001: 71). According to guest contributor, Ruby M. Ayres, this was when a girl was truly grown up: At twenty-one most girls are still hovering on the borderline of ‘growing up’ even in enlightened 1935; they are not yet quite sure of themselves, not sufficiently worldly wise . . . Most things of importance begin to happen after one has reached twenty-five! Marriage, motherhood, troubles and, [intriguingly] ‘the deepest joys.’ (Miss Modern May 1935: 7) Miss Modern principally addressed middle-class readers. Reflecting the diversity of the middle classes in the 1930s (McKibbin 2000), this included daughters whose families had fallen on hard times during the Depression (1929–32), young women managing

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on tight budgets because they lived independent of their parents, and increasingly by 1935, girls from lower-middle-class backgrounds. Affluent middle-class readers whose families could afford servants, cars, and cruises appeared in early issues, but they became less visible over the decade; this signalled the shift in fortunes and salience of this elite minority and the magazine’s commitment to attracting a less affluent, but larger, constituency of middle-class readers. Costing 6d, the paper would have been expensive for most lower-middle-class and working-class girls, though affordable for some. Manual and white-blouse workers, surveyed in the mid-1930s, earned fourteen shillings a week on average but gave their wages to their mothers in return for spending money of between sixpence and five shillings with most receiving around two shillings (Langhamer 2000: 100–1). Letters pages included occasional evidence of working-class readers; Miss Modern was welcoming, but was unsure how to ‘talk’ about class. Revealing the double meaning of ‘working man/girl’ as both employed and working class, the problem-page editor responded thus to a reader engaged to a ‘working man’: ‘[Miss Modern] is designed for no class in particular. The modern girl exists in all ranks. There are just as many frumpy-minded people in the upper as well as in the less upper classes. We are proud to number working girls amongst our readers, very proud’ (Apr 1931: 110).3 Published by George Newnes, Miss Modern had a bright and modern cover featuring a palette of bold colours and high quality art work. This monthly magazine typically included around ninety pages of entertainment, information, and advice. Due to financial stringencies and shortages, it shrank temporarily in the mid-1930s and again 1939–40, but its content and presentation remained fairly constant. Featuring modern layouts, copious illustration and photography, Miss Modern exploited new colour printing technologies, incorporating a ‘photogravure’ supplement in 1935. Visually there were parallels with magazines for ‘modern’ women: Vogue, the epitome of affluent feminine modernity (Tinkler and Warsh 2008) and middle-class magazines such as Modern Woman and Woman’s Own, also published by Newnes. Adverts occupied around a fifth of the paper in 1930, accounting for twenty pages. Fiction was prominent but not dominant. Well-known authors of romantic fiction, such as Ursula Bloom and Barbara Hedworth, provided the four or five full-length stories each month. Adapting the ‘personal service’ style (White 1970: 96) of contemporary middle-class women’s magazines to the interests of single, young, working women, Miss Modern included over twenty articles per issue: in March 1931, there were three in each of the film and beauty ‘supplements’, four on fashion and craft, seven ‘special’ articles including ‘Letter to a modern girl’, ‘A mews flat for two’, ‘The things men love in a woman’. Regular features provided advice on careers, readers’ problems, etiquette, and health. Although the editor and problem-page editor, ‘Miss Worldly Wise’, were vague figures, the magazine boasted many named contributors including: beauty consultant, actress Madeline Carroll; regular columnist, Godfrey Winn, a young actor, writer, and popular author of ‘Dear Abby’ articles in the Daily Mirror and Sunday Express; guest contributors such as romantic novelists F. E. Baily, Ruby M. Ayres, and Elinor Glyn, the latter famed for creating sexually forthright heroines such as the ‘It’ girl. Miss Modern was a late addition to a cluster of interwar magazines that targeted young, single, working women in their teens and early twenties. All highlighted the distinctive worker/courting identity of their readers which set them apart from papers for schoolgirls and for wives and mothers.4 Magazines such as Girls’ [Best] Friend

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Figure 10.1 Cover, Miss Modern. © The British Library Board. (Source: Miss Modern Sep 1935)

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(1899–1931) had targeted working girls pre-1914 but the 1920s saw a proliferation of weeklies catering to them; all folded by 1940. The ascendancy of this category of reader was partly due to the growth in employment of young women and the expansion of opportunities in commerce and service sectors. Work, as Mitchell (1995: 44) notes, was ‘one of the key components that created a culture of girlhood as a distinctive – and extended – passage between puberty and marriage’; it also afforded girls disposable income to spend on themselves. Weekly interwar working girls’ magazines typically cost tuppence and were differentiated by the occupations of their intended readership (Tinkler 1995). Girls’ Favourite, for instance, targeted girls employed in the retail and clerical sectors; these were typically from working-class and lower-middle-class backgrounds and had often stayed on at school to sixteen. Peg’s Paper (1919–40), targeted mainly working-class girls who left school at fourteen to undertake unskilled or semi-skilled work in mills, factories, and domestic service. Intended readers and fiction heroines were sometimes described as ‘modern girls’, but this appellation referred mainly to girls in white-collar and service work, typically upper-working-class and middle-class girls. Factory workers, millgirls, and domestic servants were not usually ‘modern girls’, suggesting that modernity was inconsistent with working-class identities and lives. Covers featured heavy line drawings and one or two colours printed in simple blocks; only Girls’ Favourite achieved a modern look. Opening the paper, readers were confronted with pages of dense text or a linear format interspersed with a few sketches and graphic titles. Romantic fiction dominated all these girls’ papers and covers typically featured scenes from stories: heroines in romantic, dramatic, or traumatic scenarios or scheming female villains. Matters deemed of interest to girls were also included – beauty, fashion, boyfriends and courtship, work, film, and other leisure interests, horoscopes – alongside a few small adverts for toiletries, cosmetics, medicinal products, clothing, magazines, and books. The importance of non-fiction varied. In 1920 Girls’ Friend featured a half-page article about relationships with boys and an editorial that incorporated responses to readers’ letters and promotion of related publications. In stark contrast, in 1922 Girls’ Favourite typically contained ‘four grand stories and ten splendid articles’, the latter constituting roughly a quarter of the paper: ‘There is something to interest the sports girl, useful hints for the girl who is handy with her needle, a chatty article for the girl who is fond of dancing. In fact all tastes are catered for’ (4 Feb 1922). Girls’ Favourite also featured half a page of adverts and debates such as whether office girls should smoke or do housework (4 Dec 1926: 411; 15 July 1922: 572). Miss Modern differed from its weekly counterparts. It was the only magazine to foreground modernity consistently in its form, content, and address to readers and, being a monthly, its numerous pages provided ample scope for delineating a distinctive and modern female youth identity and lifestyle. It was also the only working girls’ magazine to principally address middle-class readers; their assumed resources underpinned the youthful feminine modernity that was the paper’s trademark. There clearly was demand in the 1930s for a monthly magazine that celebrated the distinctiveness of young women’s lifestyles. Miss Modern ran for ten years and folded ostensibly because of shortages caused by the outbreak of war; moreover, it attracted substantial advertising throughout the period which suggests it successfully tapped a young female market. Advertising revenue, alongside the cover price, enabled Newnes to

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produce a magazine that stylistically appealed to a discerning young consumer who did not want to be treated like a schoolgirl, and which included youth-specific and tailored content such that Miss Modern would not be mistaken for, and replaced with, a modern woman’s magazine. It was successful: as one reader declared, ‘At last I have found a paper that doesn’t waste half of its space on housekeeping and baby affairs’ (Jan 1931: 76). Youthful feminine modernity was key to Miss Modern’s distinctiveness and the construction of the nascent teenager.

Youthful Feminine Modernity There was an easy alignment of modernity with femininity and youth in the branding of Miss Modern. Modernity is ‘the experience of living through and making sense of’ the processes of modernisation (O’Shea 1996: 19); it involves a break from the past and an active process of reformulating identities and styles of living. In popular culture, young women were cast as icons, and major beneficiaries of, interwar modernity (Bingham 2004). Engaging with this, Miss Modern constructed youthful feminine modernity through its presentation and content, but it also tutored girls on the challenges of modernity.

Figure 10.2 Cover, Miss Modern. © The British Library Board. (Source: Miss Modern Aug 1931)

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Miss Modern’s cover always featured a young woman who personified youthful feminine modernity and exemplified the intended reader (see Figures 10.1 and 10.2). She was attractive, fresh, youthful, and fashionable. Often she gazed out at the reader, smiling and inviting her to identify, but sometimes she was engrossed in someone or something. By foregrounding the intended reader, the magazine suggested that her life was more interesting and important than that of the fiction heroines that usually donned the covers of working girls’ papers. Whether outdoors or inside, ‘Miss Modern’ was always doing something – hiking, tennis, playing ball, dining, reading a letter, chatting on the phone, sewing, getting married, enjoying a party, and so on. The combination of focus, colour, and activity created the impression of ‘Miss Modern’ as busy, sociable, and happy. Lifestyle was a key element in youthful feminine modernity, though the term was not used. ‘We help to run your life, not your home’ declared the editor (Miss Modern Oct 1930: 15), suggesting that ‘a life’ and homemaking were mutually exclusive. The notion that readers needed help to ‘run’ their lives implied that they were characterised by a variety of activities and interests and that tradition no longer provided an adequate template for managing this. It also implied that young women had agency, choice, and a degree of independence. ‘Lifestyle’ has typically been associated with society post-1960, but recent studies challenge the assumption that, prior to this, ways of life were relatively static, class-specific, and based only on tradition (Bell and Hollows 2006). Publisher George Newnes clearly thought that a commercially significant group of interwar young women had lifestyles. The composite quality of a modern, youthful lifestyle was consolidated by the impression created by looking through Miss Modern. Page layouts were bold and varied and included many illustrations; they offered readers a visual kaleidoscope of lifestyle components and possibilities. Aesthetic touches heightened the impression of a modern lifestyle, these included the font, extensive photography, and deco-style sketches and motifs. Photographic portraits visually reinforced young women’s modernity. Fashionable young women adorned most pages. They did modern things but also engaged in conventional or quotidian activities in visibly modern ways: for example, socialising attained a modern visual twist when the young woman was dressed fashionably and smoked a cigarette. Editorial matter celebrated the modernity of readers. Characteristic of interwar working girls’ magazines, Miss Modern eschewed pre-war practices and attitudes, but it also stressed the distinctiveness of being a young woman in the 1930s. Convincing readers they lived in distinctive times with distinctive needs was a strategy for creating demand for the magazine: evidence of new opportunities and of women’s achievements underpinned the message that modern girls had choices and required information and advice on managing these. The significance of being a young woman in the 1930s was highlighted by the editor: ‘You are one hundred times luckier and more fortunate than all the girls who have gone before you. Life for them was circumscribed, but every door is open to women to-day’ (Miss Modern Oct 1930: 15). The statement was a clear reference to the enfranchisement of young women in 1928 and a host of high profile ‘firsts’ for women. Achievement was a key feature of youthful feminine modernity; ignoring the continued barriers and

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discrimination that confronted women, it was presented as evidence that women could succeed in whatever they set their minds to. This uplifting message was conveyed in a competition in which readers were invited to pick ‘the real miss 1930’ (Nov 1930: 11; see Figure 10.3). Readers were presented with photos of ten single young women who excelled in sports, physical activities, and the arts including: Molly Carstairs (speedboat racer); Violette Cordery (racing car driver); Madeleine Carroll (actress and Miss Modern’s beauty editor); Betty Nuthall (tennis player); Amy Johnson (aviator); Mercedes Gleitze (swimmer). This competition revealed two tensions in youthful feminine modernity. First, the winner of the competition was the reader whose list most closely resembled that compiled by the three judges, all ‘Modern Men’. In this instance, as elsewhere in the magazine, men were the final arbiters of youthful feminine modernity: a reminder of the gendered limits of women’s modernity. Miss Modern suggested there was more to a young woman’s life than romance and the pursuit of marriage, but modernity was tempered and constrained by tradition in the form of feminine ideals and heterosexual relations. Suggesting these constraints were ahistorical, they were described as ‘Eve’s legacy’. After celebrating readers’ modernity in terms of careers and relationships with men, the editor stated: ‘Eve’s problems are still your problems for all your modernity – you have not lost that romance and womanliness which is ever your most precious heritage’ (Oct 1930: 15). The tension between modernity (opportunity, achievement) and tradition (romance, marriage, gender differentiation) exemplified the fundamental emphasis in this magazine on youthful modernity circumscribed by the ‘heterosexual career’. This tension – both explicit and subtle – permeated almost all aspects of the magazine’s representation of the intended reader and her lifestyle. Readers could, and probably did, read around this or against the grain: the hybridity and the contradictions that were held together within a magazine offered readers many interpretative possibilities. The second tension related to the concept of ‘youth’. Miss Modern celebrated the youth of its readers and contributors: for example, its beauty editor was twenty-four when the magazine was launched and its featured fashion designer, Norman Hartnell, was twenty-five in 1930 (Oct 1930: 49). However, as the competition revealed, ‘youth’ was slippery. The ‘real miss 1930’ predominantly featured ‘young’ women in their late twenties and early thirties. ‘Modern girls’ could also include wives and mothers. The thirty-year-old Duchess of York, wife of the future King George VI and mother of two girls (her elder daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1953), was described as ‘essentially a modern girl’ who ‘loves to be modern, as naturally she belongs to this generation’ (Dec 1930: 11). In interwar magazines and the popular press, ‘youth’ often referred to a historically specific generation who became adult during or after the First World War, rather than people of a particular age group, although the two could overlap (Bingham 2004). The slipperiness of youth stemmed also from how the characteristics associated with youthfulness became integral to interwar feminine modernity (Tinkler and Warsh 2008: 125–6). Although youth was slippery in the context of modern femininity, Miss Modern devoted most of its pages to the lifestyle of single young women in their late teens and early twenties, one characterised by consumption, work, appearance, leisure, sociability, romance, and the pursuit of independence.

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Figure 10.3 ‘£100 for Choosing Miss Modern’. © The British Library Board. (Source: Miss Modern Nov 1930: 11)

Miss Modern’s Lifestyle ‘Miss Modern’ was constructed as a discerning consumer of both girls’ magazines and the goods promoted within them. Dress patterns, textiles, clothes, perfumes, toiletries, laxatives, slimming aids, and throat pastilles, were all regularly advertised. Alongside a plethora of products to keep the reader healthy and attractive, there were adverts for cigarettes, food, holidays, advice books, magazines, novels and, occasionally, linen, and furniture. The high profile of advertising was markedly different from the weekly magazines that targeted working girls with less disposable income. In the early 1930s Miss Modern routinely featured thirteen or more pages of adverts, often in colour, at the front of each issue in addition to numerous line-drawn adverts dotted throughout and a full-colour advert on the back page. Advertising remained prominent until its demise, but from 1935 there were typically only six pages of adverts upfront. Sophisticated editorial-advertising tie-ins suggest a close relationship between Miss Modern and its advertisers; this became increasingly common in 1930s women’s periodicals (White 1970). For instance, the cover of February 1931 featured a young woman lounging against cushions and reading a letter. An almost identical image appeared on the rear cover, but this was an advert for cigarettes and the young woman was shown

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smoking while she mused over the letter. Consumer advice consolidated advertising, sometimes directly, as when an advert on insurance appeared in the same issue as a feature on ‘making yourself independent’ (July 1935: 71, 75). Consumerism was promoted explicitly through articles such as ‘Come shopping with Grace’, which appeared regularly in 1935, and more subtly through features on fashion, beauty, living space, and leisure. Paid work facilitated consumption and shaped the reader’s distinct identity and lifestyle. Careers in business, most notably as a personal secretary or shorthand typist, were prominent in defining intended readers and fiction heroines. An emphasis on ‘careers’ rather than ‘jobs’ signalled the status of work, typically requiring a secondary school education up to sixteen. Early issues of Miss Modern featured advice for affluent, entrepreneurial young women such as the visiting cook with her own car (Feb 1931: 59). This was unusual and career options typically required more modest personal resources. In 1935, the monthly careers page – ‘Meet these Moderns’ – described the conditions, training, pay, and prospects for an eighteen-year-old chorus girl, mannequin, waitress, secretary, and window dresser; it also introduced new careers, such as, ‘beauty culture’. In wartime, readers were encouraged to serve their country by signing up for war work (e.g. Jan 1940: 18–19), although there were concerns that girls might favour short-term jobs over training for careers. Stories about being ‘rescued’ from the workforce contradicted upbeat representations of career girls featured elsewhere in the magazine. Signs of the hardships of working life and a mismatch between expectations and realities also emerged in editorials. ‘Miss Worldly Wise’ offered advice to many girls who apparently complained about their ‘dull, uninteresting jobs’: You’ve worked for the same firm for three, four, five years. There is no chance of promotion; you agree that the job isn’t really so bad . . . and yet you’re so tired of it all: you want a change, something exciting . . . but believe me, there are so few really ‘exciting’ jobs in the world. More than half of all the world’s work is the uneventful, steady, routine jobs that have to be done.’ (Feb 1935: 64) Misconceptions extended also to time management. An article on ‘business lunches’ described the romantic ideas of ‘Miss Seventeen year old blithely setting forth on her first job, thrilled to the marrow at this first taste of independence’ and completely unrealistic about what could be achieved in a lunch hour (Apr 1940: 58). Careers were important, but an emphasis on the necessity of feminine attractiveness sometimes undermined claims made elsewhere in the magazine about the capabilities of modern young women. Columnist, F. E. Baily, advised the eighteen-year-old starting in office work: ‘if you want to carve a career, some day you must graduate from secretarial work to something more important, and then you may have to compete with men, and men have better brains than women. Consequently you must use your looks to supplement your brains’ (Oct 1930: 42). A decade later, success still depended on pleasing men: ‘A woman who shows the power of her intellect is more to be respected than the woman who shows her legs. But men prefer legs’ (May 1940: 8–9). Even in wartime, women were reminded that physical attractiveness was intrinsic to their work: ‘Beauty and brains go hand in hand in the service of King and Country’ (Jan 1940: 18); this message was routinely reinforced in cosmetics adverts

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Figure 10.4 ‘Introducing Our Beauty Expert’. © The British Library Board. (Source: Miss Modern Oct 1939: 49)

(Jan 1940: 1). The courting prospects afforded by the workplace were another reason why looks mattered. A recurring fiction narrative in the context of the Depression was the desperate situation of a well-to-do young woman who had fallen on hard times and was surprised that she could not pursue a glorious, well-paid career because she was ill-equipped for the job market; these women were invariably ‘saved’ by marriage (e.g. Nov 1930: 39). Paid work underpinned ‘Miss Modern’s’ lifestyle and identity, but physical attractiveness was the backbone of youthful feminine modernity: ‘nowadays, appearance is so tremendously important, both at work and at play’ (Oct 1930: 49). Although young women’s achievements were celebrated, reference was invariably made to their appearance. Helping readers achieve good looks, each issue included several illustrated pages on fashion and a beauty supplement penned by actress Madeleine Carroll who, readers were assured, had mixed with ‘ordinary girls’ while doing a degree at Birmingham University (see Figure 10.4). A double-page photo-spread on physical culture was a ‘novel’ and ‘distinctive feature’ that ran from 1930 to 1935 promoting attractive and mobile female bodies that could manage, and be managed within, the demands of modern life. Guidance on the body, dress, and beauty was adapted to the needs of working girls. Acknowledging that most readers had sedentary office

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jobs, exercise features were for the ‘girl who sits all day’ (Nov 1930: 18–19). Fashion included ‘chic dresses for discerning business girls’ (Apr 1935: 51) while beauty advice was tailored to the resources of working girls: Madeleine Carroll ‘realises how difficult it is to look your best when you have neither time nor money for expensive beauty culture’ (Oct 1930: 49). The emphasis on beauty, body, and dress foregrounded the intended reader’s youth and modernity, but it also served another objective. Establishing continuity with long-established feminine ideals, appearance was one way the magazine managed and curtailed the implications of modernity. Visible gender differences were interpreted as a guarantee that modern young women would accept gender differentiation in other areas of life and continue to aspire to marriage and motherhood. Looking good was time-consuming but it did not exhaust girls’ spare time. Leisure was a valued and distinctive feature of ‘Miss Modern’s’ lifestyle: it was central to the experience of modern youth and a necessary complement to busy working lives. Cinema – ‘that vital interest of modern life’ (Oct 1930: 15) – was introduced as a popular pleasure amongst young women, reflecting its status in everyday life (Langhamer 2000). Each issue updated readers on the latest films and stars. The October 1930 issue included four pages of cinema news including a one-page photographic portrait of heart throb, Raman Navarro, and a double-page spread on stars and their sports. An enthusiasm for sport and other physical activities was another prominent aspect of ‘Miss Modern’s’ leisure. Tennis, hiking, rowing, and beach ball were all featured on the cover pages while articles on physical fitness included photos of girls engaged in judo or ‘animal antics’ on the beach (Jan 1934: 18; July 1939: 40–1). Although ‘Miss Modern’s’ leisure was usually outdoors there was also a domestic dimension. Needle crafts, knitting, rug and jewellery making were ideal for making presents and home accessories, including for a future marital home, but most crafts extended the reader’s wardrobe. The February 1939 cover featured a demure young woman knitting; the banner proclaimed ‘New designs in smart knitwear’. Whereas leisure was a feature of all working girls’ magazines, it varied depending on the intended reader’s financial resources; with rare exceptions, only Miss Modern embraced holidays in non-fiction. Holidays were an important part of ‘Miss Modern’s’ leisure. Early issues suggested some readers could afford luxurious holidays: ‘A Christmas holiday’ involved a cruise somewhere hot with Lady Kitty Vincent proffering advice on tipping and customs on board (Dec 1930: 50). More affordable trips and holidays appeared routinely in the summer. Railway adverts offered to transport readers to Devon and Cornwall where they could go swimming in the sea with friends (June 1936: 60). Articles catered to all tastes: ‘What’s your fancy? Something novel, something adventurous, something to banish loneliness?’ (July 1936: 8–9). Suggestions included holiday camps, cruises, and hiking in Europe. Adventure, activity, and sociability were common themes. One of the defining features of the ‘modern girl’s’ lifestyle was her ‘wonderful sense of companionship with both men and women’ (Oct 1930: 15). Unlike in other working girls’ magazines, girlfriends were visible and valued – there were workmates, flatmates, and playmates. Mixed-sex friendships were also high profile compared to other working girls’ magazines and much was made of the modernity of these relationships. Images depicted young women and men lounging together in surprisingly intimate ways, sometimes donned only in swimsuits. Columnist Godfrey Winn extolled the joys of ‘the familiarity of modern youth which comes to a climax [in the summer] . . .

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as our generation has rid itself of the worst form of self-consciousness, which is sexconsciousness’ (July 1936: 18). Sociability was fundamental to modern youth, but it was also a way for young women to meet eligible men. Love and romance were presented as important features of the reader’s life and aspirations: ‘first – and still foremost – there is love’, declared the editor (Oct 1930: 15). Fiction explored the twists and turns of romance, while numerous articles advised on navigating modern relationships with men and on securing a spouse. Sexual relations were not discussed, but readers were cautioned against behaviour that might lead to sexual risk or impropriety; the risks were implied, never stated. The importance of discerning the difference between flirtation and ‘the real thing’ was a peculiarly modern problem because of the physical intimacy that was permissible between young people. A feature on flirtations assumed that the 22-year-old reader was likely to engage in lots of kissing – ‘you are being kissed to death, and you love it more than you ever dreamed you could’ – but she was cautioned against getting engaged on this basis (Dec 1930: 24). Busy and sociable lifestyles required a degree of independence – the daughter ‘wants to go out with friends now and again; to spend the week-end away from home’ – but this could be difficult to achieve while living with parents (Feb 1933: 42). A common problem, explored also in fiction, was that mother did not realise that her daughter ‘is now grown up and perfectly capable of looking after herself and running her own life’ (Feb 1933: 42). The solution was to live independent of parents. The value of this was spelt out in an article on twenty-seven-year-old actress, Celia Johnson, described as a ‘bachelor girl’. Celia explained that ‘It’s impossible to live at home after you’ve grown up . . . You’re always getting into trouble because you’re late for dinner, or because you’re upsetting the servants, or because you won’t say where you’re going or where you’ve been’ (Mar 1935: 18–19). Celia advocated that career girls leave home because it ‘teaches you responsibility’ and ‘makes you feel independent’. However, she disapproved of this option for ‘leisured friends’: ‘You should only live on your own if you’ve got a job of work. I look upon my flat as a home, not as a place to change for the next party.’ Celia’s objections were not explained clearly, but they may have been a response to parental concerns about daughters opting to live independently. For working girls, according to Celia, independent living was a serious venture requiring, and engendering, responsibility; it was not chosen for frivolous, or morally suspect, reasons. Independent living was presented as affordable for some of Miss Modern’s readers, though for most it undoubtedly remained an ideal. Features on independent living therefore served the needs of those who lived in flats and bedsits as well as those who aspired to this. Over time Miss Modern became more intent on helping engaged girls prepare for the marital home than ‘digs’ of their own, but a place of one’s own remained an attractive ideal such that the above feature on Celia Johnson was dominated by discussion of her flat. Contributing to the fantasy of living independently, there were illustrated makeovers. One article described the ‘first adventure in homemaking’ of two young women who worked in Fleet Street. Close attention was given to budgets. The flat’s rent was described as reasonable and cheaper than commuting: ‘When you think that fares will cost practically nothing, and that there will be no hurrying for crowded buses and trains night and morning, the advantage of this ideal little home can be appreciated.’ Dense description followed of how the flat was converted into a ‘real home after Miss Modern’s heart’ by purchasing furniture, textiles, pottery,

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and lamps (Mar 1931: 16–17). ‘Transform those “digs”’ for less than nine pounds, declared a similar feature on furnishing a bedsit or flat (May 1931: 42–3). Information on purchasing the modern accessories featured in photos could be obtained by writing to the authors; stockists were not listed. Although optimistic about the affordability of independent living, there were ‘snags’, notably bills. Readers were cautioned that overly tight budgets could lead to health problems: ‘Many girls struggle to make ends meet, and only too often their health suffers’ (Feb 1939: 30). Fiction often provided graphic accounts of the challenges of independent living, but then these conditions were pitted against a rosy-spectacled vision of domesticity which typically emerged as a way out of drab digs, loneliness, and a boring low-paid job with few prospects (e.g. Nov 1935: 24). Especially in fiction, a nice home often seemed attainable only through marriage. Miss Modern created the impression of a varied and generally fulfilling life for young single women, but it assumed their futures would revolve around marriage and domesticity. There was guidance on making things in preparation for married life and lessons on baking and everyday cooking for engaged girls; a picture of an engaged girl joyfully preparing breakfast appeared on the cover in February 1935. The reader’s future was not necessarily confined to homemaking. Opinions on married women’s work had shifted by the 1930s especially in areas where there was a high demand for their labour (Lewis 1984: 151) and Miss Modern tentatively broached this topic. In October 1935 the cover invited readers to solve the ‘modern problem’: ‘could she, and should she, carry on her job after she’s said “I will”?’ There was much opposition to wives working because of conflict between the needs of a woman’s boss (assumed to be male) and her husband or because women should not ‘deprive’ men of jobs. Signalling her modernity, the editor aligned with the pro-‘office wife’ lobby. She pointed out that a woman’s salary enabled a couple to avoid postponing marriage for financial reasons. She also mentioned the importance of women’s workplace skills. Fiction did not question women’s contribution to the labour force, but married women eventually retired from it because of the importance they attached to caring for children, including adopted ones, or a husband. Marriage was the ideal, but the implications of the demographic imbalance were occasionally acknowledged and readers were advised to ‘arrange to be independent’ (July 1935: 75). As explained by a fictional woman in an insurance advert: ‘whether I marry or not, I feel the future is settled and I can concentrate on my work and pleasure with an easy mind’ (July 1935: 71). There were, however, signs of uneasiness that some women preferred a bachelor lifestyle to marriage. While one editorial dismissed this as myth, it is telling that there were so many references to an ‘anti-marriage fashion’ in working girls’ papers (Tinkler 1995: 135): ‘I am told, and it may be true, that nowadays girls have no opinion of marriage . . . But still they marry! Probably the story that they have a rooted objection to marrying and prefer to roam around untrammelled and free, is just another of the wild assertions that are made about the modern girl’ (June 1931: 46). Girls were repeatedly advised not to lose their femininity by being overly independent. Assertive young women who hankered after lifelong careers were cast as misguided and as thwarting an unconscious desire for domesticity: ‘Miss Modern may make up her face, but underneath her breezy manner hides an old-fashioned heart’ (Mar 1931: 21). A common fiction theme was the almost religious conversion of the seemingly confirmed bachelor girl into an eager wife. The opportunity to fulfil her dream of travelling the world was cast aside by one protagonist in favour of marriage and life in a ‘little house’ (Nov 1930: 79).

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Conclusion: ‘Miss Modern’, a Nascent Teenager? Through its construction of youthful feminine modernity, underwritten by middleclass financial and cultural resources, Miss Modern stressed the fun and possibilities of being a young woman in the 1930s and delineated a distinctive and busy youth lifestyle. There were tensions in this construction. Conditions of work and independent living were often far from ideal, particularly when girls’ families were affected by the Depression. There were also contradictory messages about modernity and tradition: on the one hand, the importance of education, careers, and achievement, and on the other, attractiveness, marriage, and domesticity. The figure of ‘Miss Modern’ was clearly a product of interwar society and aligned to the ‘working girl’, especially the ‘modern girl’, constructed in weekly sister papers. All these magazines emphasised the working girls’ distinctive age-related identity revolving around work and courtship, and everyday lives in which consumption and leisure were important. There were parallels with postwar teen magazines; in particular, Miss Modern’s namesake looked much like a teenager as imagined in Honey in 1960. Both monthly magazines addressed readers in their late teens and early twenties with a relatively high level of disposable income. They celebrated youth and girls’ distinctive identity and devoted many pages to a lifestyle revolving around consumption, leisure, sociability, and romance. This begs the question of whether ‘Miss Modern’ was a teenager and relates to debates about the emergence of the teenager characterised by agedistinctive leisure, consumption, and style (see Tinkler 2007): did the interwar period witness the ‘birth of the teenager’ or the appearance of elements of teenage identity and lifestyles that became more pronounced after 1950? ‘Miss Modern’ was a nascent teenager. Being the most developed articulation of this identity in periodical publishing, she bridged two iconic figures – the ‘modern girl’ featured in interwar working girls’ magazines and the ‘teenager’ as seen in postwar Honey. There are two main reasons why ‘Miss Modern’ and her contemporaries are best conceptualised as nascent teenagers: the slipperiness of constructions of female youth and uncertainty about the status of young women as a distinct consumer group. An emphasis on the distinctiveness of young women in terms of identity and lifestyle characterised magazines for both interwar working girls and postwar teenagers. However, constructions of youth were slippery in interwar periodical publishing. When publishers encountered hard times during the Depression and at the outbreak of war in 1939, several working girls’ papers amalgamated with women’s romance magazines, suggesting a confluence of girls’ and women’s interests around romance and the low significance of a distinctive youth lifestyle. Overlapping interests were seen to be particularly common among working-class young women, probably reflecting an assumption that romance and the prospect of marriage were the highlights of otherwise drab teenage lives (Jephcott 1942). Miss Modern successfully maintained a distinctive youth identity and lifestyle throughout the 1930s, partly because it targeted mainly middleclass readers; it was also helped by the paper’s foregrounding of modernity which was strongly associated with youth. A distinctive youth identity was not intrinsically middle class, but until the relative affluence of working-class girls in the late 1950s, publishers assumed it was mainly middle-class young workers who had the resources to exploit the possibilities of a youth lifestyle and who valued editorial matter engaging with this. But while the magazine foregrounded a youth lifestyle, ‘Miss Modern’ remained a nascent teenager. Constructions of youth remained slippery because, as well as being

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age-based they were sometimes generational; moreover, a broad conception of youth was integral to interwar ideals of modern femininity. ‘Miss Modern’ was principally a young woman in her late teens and early twenties but she was sometimes much older. By 1960 the distinctiveness of youth was more firmly grounded in age. Consumption was another common theme in papers for interwar working girls and their postwar successors. Buoyed by the resources of its readers, Miss Modern included extensive advertising and consumer-related editorial matter, foregrounding consumption in a way that weekly working-girl papers were unable to do. As in postwar Honey, consumption in Miss Modern was not simply a characteristic of readers’ lives but highly significant. This consumption was, nevertheless, indicative of a nascent, rather than teenage, identity. Unlike Honey, advertising in Miss Modern was not typically youth specific – the rear cover of Miss Modern was often dominated by homely adverts for suet pudding and jelly – and it overlapped with that in interwar middle-class women’s magazines: adverts did not obviously feature girls in their teens nor did they commonly employ a youth-specific sales pitch. Adverts for holidays and cigarettes were among the exceptions. In general, advertisers were not convinced that interwar working girls constituted a significant or distinctive market. Indicating the unclear consumer status of girls aged fourteen to twenty-four, it was not until 1939 that statistics were generated on their magazine reading habits to inform the placing of adverts (IIPA 1939). Even in the late 1950s, many advertisers remained unsure about the viability of the teenage consumer; Honey struggled initially to persuade advertisers that there was a mass teenage market waiting to be tapped.5 A nascent teenage identity and lifestyle was cultivated in interwar working girls’ magazines; ‘Miss Modern’ represented its fullest and boldest expression. Modernity framed the nascent teenager providing fertile ground for her to bloom while also curtailing her development. ‘Miss Modern’ was not an inclusive figure as her identity and lifestyle were underpinned by resources and employment options typically associated with middle-class and upper-working-class girls. Moreover, she was less firmly defined by age than the teenager because youth was slippery in the context of interwar modernity and her consumption, though significant, was not usually age-specific. After 1940 modernity slipped out of focus in young women’s magazines and postwar constructions of ‘girls’ were increasingly framed by consumerism; ‘Miss Modern’ was replaced by the ‘teenage consumer’.

Notes 1. In the late 1940s monthly magazines (Mayfair 1946–50, Heiress 1950–6) targeted relatively affluent single young women, heralded as teens and as consumers, but these were unsuccessful. From the late 1950s new magazines were launched for working women in their late teens and early twenties (see Tinkler 2014): weekly ‘love-comics’ (e.g. Valentine 1957–74), then ‘teen-magazines’ (e.g. Honey, Petticoat 1966–75). 2. Aynsley and Forde 2007: 2, Hackney 2010: 26, Beetham 1996: 1. 3. It is unclear whether the phrase ‘working man’ was used by the reader or inserted by the editor, but given the paper featured many working young people it is significant that the letter and response highlighted the working status of the reader and her fiancé. 4. There were also magazines for leisured young ‘daughters of the New Rich’ (White 1970: 94). 5. Interview, Lamburn, 23 July 1985.

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Works Cited Abrams, Mark. 1961. Teenage Consumer Spending in 1959 (Part II) Middle and Working Class Boys and Girls. London: London Press Exchange. Aynsley, Jeremy and Kate Forde, eds. 2007. Design and the Modern Magazine. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Beetham, Margaret. 1996. A Magazine of Her Own. London: Routledge. Bell, David and Joanne Hollows. 2006. ‘Towards a history of lifestyle.’ Historicizing Lifestyle: Mediating Taste, Consumption and Identity from the 1900s to 1970s. Ed. David Bell and Joanne Hollows. Aldershot: Ashgate. 1–19. Bingham, Adrian. 2004. Gender, Modernity and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Carter, Fan. 2016. ‘A Taste of Honey: Get Ahead Femininity in 1960s Britain.’ Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. Ed. Rachel Ritchie, Susan Hawkins, Nicola Phillips, S. Jay Kleinberg. London: Routledge. 183–200. Hackney, Fiona. 2010. ‘“They opened up a whole new world.” Feminine Modernity and the Feminine Imagination in Women’s Magazines, 1919–1939.’ PhD Dissertation, Falmouth University. Institute of Incorporated Practitioners in Advertising. 1939. Survey of Press Readership, vol. 1. London. Jephcott, Pearl. 1942. Girls Growing Up. London: Faber & Faber. Langhamer, Claire. 2000. Women’s Leisure in England 1920–60. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Lewis, Jane. 1984. Women in England 1870–1950. Brighton: Harvester Wheatsheaf. —. 2001. ‘Marriage.’ Women in Twentieth-Century Britain. Ed. Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska. Harlow: Pearson. 69–85. McKibbin, Ross. 2000. Classes and Cultures: England 1918–1951. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mitchell, Sally. 1995. The New Girl: Girls’ Culture in England 1880–1915. New York: Columbia University Press. O’Shea, Alan. 1996. ‘English Subjects of Modernity.’ Modern Times: Reflections on a Century of English Modernity. Ed. Alan O’Shea and Mica Nava. London and New York: Routledge. 7–37. Tinkler, Penny. 1995. Constructing Girlhood: Popular Magazines for Girls Growing Up in England 1920–1950. London: Taylor & Francis. —. 2007. ‘Youth.’ Twentieth-Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change. Ed. Francesca Carnevali and Julie-Marie Strange. Harlow: Pearson. 214–30. —. 2014. ‘“Are You Really Living?” If Not, “GET WITH IT!”: the Teenage Self and Lifestyle in Young Women’s Magazines, Britain 1957–70.’ Cultural and Social History 11: 597–620. —. 2016. ‘Fragmentation and Inclusivity: Methods for Working with Girls’ and Women’s Magazines.’ Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. Ed. Rachel Ritchie, Susan Hawkins, Nicola Phillips, and S. Jay Kleinberg. London: Routledge. 25–39. Tinkler, Penny, and Cheryl Warsh. 2008. ‘Feminine Modernity in Interwar Britain and North America: Corsets, Cars, and Cigarettes.’ Journal of Women’s History 20.3: 113–43. White, Cynthia. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph.

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11 ‘The Lady Interviewer and her methods’: Chatter, Celebrity, and Reading Communities Rebecca Roach

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ublished in May 1914, the Daily Mirror’s cartoon strip ‘The Lady Interviewer and her methods of work’ draws on the age-old stereotype of the garrulous woman.1 Sent to interview her ‘celebrity’ subject, the modishly clad yet ineffectual apprentice does all of the talking, relaying biography, anecdotes, hobbies, and future plans – details that normally make up the meat of the interviewee’s chat. Meanwhile, the subject visibly – but silently – wilts under the torrent of personal talk. This cartoon strip was one of a whole stream of images, articles, pamphlets, fiction, plays, films, and (later) radio talks that flooded the anglophone public sphere in the period from around 1880 to the conclusion of the Second World War and that targeted the female, or ‘Lady’ interviewer. Although a target of occasional satire, this type was not only representative of (and indeed a promotional tool for) the increasing number of women who contemplated or chose a career in the media industries, but advantageously stimulated reading communities based around women’s professional and social interests, encouraging an intimate discourse of disclosure, gossip, and chatter – those forms of speech frequently dismissed as ‘irrational’ and as opposed to the debate of a rational critical public sphere – through which the fantasies and practicalities of women’s roles in modern life could be productively explored. In this chapter I trace the trajectory of the Lady Interviewer – and the product of her ‘methods’ – across the interwar period. Increasingly associated with the emergent film industry, the female interviewer became a key mediator between stars and their mass public, offering a mouthpiece to the silent Hollywood star and espousing a rhetoric of intimacy, disclosure, desire, and visuality in the growing market of fan magazines that surrounded the industry. In so doing the Lady or ‘Hollywood’ Interviewer, now a go-getting, socially mobile, and sexually confident version of her former self, offered a glamorous model of modern womanhood to a mass readership. Nevertheless, her growing association with cinema fan magazines, salacious gossip, and the celebrity chat that exploded in popularity in the 1920s and 1930s would also work to her detriment.2 Although the majority of interviewers, gossip columnists, and celebrity reporters working in the media were men; although women worked across industries, publications, and departments; and although fan magazines were ostensibly aimed at a mixed audience in the interwar period, such heterogeneity did not translate into affirmative renderings of the Lady Interviewer or her work as the years

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Figure 11.1 W. K. Haselden, ‘The Lady Interviewer and her methods of work’. (Source: Daily Mirror 15 May 1914) passed. Developing a degree of notoriety in the 1930s, she was to become, for many, the quintessential representative of (women’s) mass media in its entirety – rather than the fan magazines in which she primarily worked – and she was regularly accused of being gossipy, commercial, frivolous, and feminine. Looking back from the 1950s, the female interviewer of the interwar period was regularly characterised by her ‘milky, brand-selling’ style and opposed to the rational-critical debate of the (masculine) public sphere (Lardner 1957: 166); her type has been historically deployed by cultural commentators and scholars to dismiss women’s mass-media titles and the people who purchased, read, and wrote for them. By attending to the legacies of the turn-of-the-century Lady Interviewer type across a variety of mass-media publications in the interwar period, a rather different picture begins to emerge. As we shall see, while cinema fan magazines promoted the Lady Interviewer and her methods heavily in this period, women’s lifestyle publications such as Modern Woman, Home Chat, and Good Housekeeping are noticeable for the dearth of interviews they print and the striking absence of the Lady Interviewer. Though mid-century commentators might have collated women’s print media and the Lady Interviewer, tracking her type across the interwar period highlights both convergences and deviations between the two, offering important insights into how film

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fan magazines, female-oriented titles, and the journalists who wrote for each of them defined and promoted themselves, as well as the communities of interest they sought to bolster.

The Lady Interviewer and her Methods at the Fin de Siècle Emerging as a type in the 1880s and 1890s, the Lady Interviewer was, unsurprisingly, closely connected to the arrival of the newspaper interview. Appearing first in America in the 1860s, interviews were closely tied to the advent of the so-called ‘New Journalism’, aimed at a mass readership and characterised by such innovations as ‘bold headlines, gossip columns, . . . sports reporting, pictures’ (Wiener 1988: xii). A conversation between two people for the purposes of publication, the interview had become a popular format in newspapers and periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic by the last decades of the century. While women had historically been excluded from newspaper journalism, interviewing was increasingly seen to offer them a path into the profession. Ironically, this was largely due to women’s perceived limitations. Firstly, the age-old stereotype of women chatterers worked to the advantage of early female interviewers. Caricatured as garrulous and gossipy, with ‘gushing high-flown manner[s]’, women’s apparent approachability and conversational dexterity nevertheless made them seemingly ideal interviewers, able to draw their subject out (Swears 1910: 4). Secondly, suggestions that women’s characters were naturally less original and more receptive than men’s ostensibly made them the ideal amanuenses for recording the words of the subject as well as noting general atmosphere, verbal nuance and personality.3 Women, it seemed, had a ‘special aptitude’ for the new practice. This apparent aptitude offered new opportunities to many potential female contributors and was also heavily promoted to women readers via the Lady Interviewer figure. Closely associated with debates around the New Woman figure and women’s social and economic position, from the 1890s onwards interviewing was regularly publicised for offering economic independence, professional standing, and geographical mobility. Pamphlets, career guides, and advertisements, as well as novels, short stories, and plays, regularly depicted interviewing as an ideal occupation for the modern woman. There was often a slight class-bias, with campaigns targeting women from the lower-middle and middle classes. Occasionally the Lady Interviewer was attacked for being a naïve daughter of an aristocrat (as in Figure 11.1) who, like the Society Journalist, had obtained access not through skill but through social position.4 More commonly, she was positively promoted as a self-made individual who, while respecting social niceties, was a consummate professional disregarding silly conventions in order to ‘get the story’; famous examples included Marie Belloc, Flora Shaw, and Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochrane). Such dynamic individuals ‘enjoy the difficulty of stalking their prey, they delight in beating down the wall which the hapless person who comes under their mental dissecting knife has erected’ (Sphinx 1919: 18). While the Lady Interviewer sometimes offered a glamorous role model of the adventuring heroine, she was far more likely to gain access to closeted domestic spaces than her male equivalent. More Gertrude Bell than village gossip, the Lady Interviewer was an independent, glamorous, and determined figure, and heavily promoted as such.

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This emphasis on independence and mobility also encouraged an atmosphere of intimacy and disclosure. Interviewers wheedled their way into private spaces, traversed great distances, and endured all manner of trials in order to obtain access to the closeted subject in this period. In an exemplary interview, ‘A Sillier Symphony: In a HandKnitted Bath-Tub with the Four Marx Brothers’, Betty Ross begins by describing her attempts to enter the stage door of a theatre, deploying various tactics in order to obtain access to the inner sanctum and her subjects (1934: 109). Such a narrative encourages the reader to feel that, by entering the most private and inaccessible spaces, they will have access to an intimate and authentic conversation and revelation of personality. Ironically of course the actor’s dressing room – and the author’s study – were some of the most commoditised, highly publicised spaces of the era, just as the utterances revealed within them were always destined for publication. In the fin de siècle these methods were heavily utilised by women’s magazines keen to enable and publicise conversations about the contemporary position of women: Young Woman ran a series entitled ‘Between Ourselves’, Woman’s Life published ‘Chats with Well Known Women’, Annie S. Swan’s Woman at Home included numerous interviews with contemporary women, and publications with a more radical agenda, such as the Woman’s Signal, also offered role models to their readers via interviews (Fraser et al. 2003: 42–3). More than publicity tools, these interviews and the figure of the Lady Interviewer who wrote them were key in developing women’s reading communities. Crucially, these communities were based not on a classical model of the rationalcritical public sphere (often invoked by defendants of New Journalism), but were heavily inflected by gender. In the 1850s an ‘interview’ could refer to a face-to-face encounter, and in domestic female novels of the period such encounters often brought with them a marriage proposal, as Peter Gibian has noted (2001: 26). While the meaning of an interview was to shift over the next forty years, in women’s print media the form retained its status as a privileged site of intense emotion and significant conversation. Many interviews in women’s print media of the 1890s encouraged readers to respond with similar imaginative intensity via their detailed descriptions of the impact of setting and the subject’s looks and personality upon the interviewer. The tropes of fiction were applied to interviewer and subject in a form that offered not only an enjoyable reading experience, but important role models in the form of true-to-life accounts of successful, professional women. While interviewers (for example Helen C. Black, whose interviews for the Lady’s Pictorial were collected in Notable Women Authors of the Day (1893)) often emphasised the domestic orientation of such public women and worked to uphold social norms, it isn’t a coincidence that novelists, including Henry James, frequently turned to interviewers and interviews when reflecting on the political, economic, and social status of women, particularly their status on the marriage market, in this era. But far from merely relating romantic fictions and norms, the information and advice offered in these texts had the potential to dramatically alter the real-life status of women.5 Ironically, the value of the Lady Interviewer and these interviews has been somewhat occluded by their association with gossip and idle talk; interviews with and by women were commonly (although not universally) designated as ‘chat’ in this period and contrasted to the apparently rational-critical products of male interviewers and subjects that were frequently justified on the grounds of providing ‘much valuable

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matter’ for ‘the national’s annals’ (Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine Sep 1890: 391). While belittling, the designation of women’s interviews as chatter also brought benefits for female reading communities. Gossip, as Patricia Spacks argues, has been a vital resource for women and less powerful subjects when other avenues of aggression are blocked, utilising as it does alternative networks of communication and enabling women to gain valuable leverage in the management of reputations (1985). Many Lady Interviewers and women’s magazines recognised this and, while overtly emphasising the professionalism of involved parties, also underscored the potential ties with gossip through emphasising disclosures made in an intimate, private setting. In doing so, they encouraged readers to conceive of these texts as offering important insider knowledge and access to a supportive community, promoting what Lauren Berlant terms the ‘intimate public’, a ‘porous, affective scene of identification among strangers that promises a certain experience of belonging’ (2008: viii). Far from a liability, the interview’s associations with gossip made it particularly attractive to the burgeoning communities of readers engaged in questions around the status of the ‘Modern Woman’. For many in the mass media before the First World War, appreciation of the Lady Interviewer was not forthcoming. As the caption to the figure that opens this chapter indicates, in illustrator Haselden’s eyes the Lady Interviewer was a target of satire: ‘Usually the person she ends by interviewing is herself – not the celebrity she visits. The celebrity has to sit and listen to her talk about her own ambitions and achievements’ (Figure 11.1). His caricature fails to account for the valuable work that such interviews did. In the aftermath of the First World War the number of interviews published by women in British print media was to increase dramatically; so too the Lady Interviewer and her readers’ ‘ambitions and achievements’ were to expand. However, the strategies that had been regularly deployed to promote women’s interests and reading communities were to become increasingly associated with the burgeoning celebrity culture of the interwar period, with significant – and ultimately harmful – results.

The Lady Interviewer Goes to Hollywood The development of the American film industry in the first decades of the twentieth century created new fan communities and also had a profound effect on how the interview and the Lady Interviewer were perceived, both in the States but also internationally, partially because the star system yoked the interview and interviewer to scandalous gossip and celebrity. The Hollywood interview appeared with the advent of the silent-film star towards the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. As Richard deCordova has elegantly demonstrated, the emergence of the star system in this period was due to both the films themselves and the extra-filmic discourses of the publicity departments, critics, and fan magazines that surrounded them (2001). After around 1907 in the US and later in a more resistant Britain, the film star, the writer, or the impresario were regularly promoted in mass-market newspaper and magazine articles, aimed at diverse readerships.6 Around this time specialised fan magazines also sprang up to report on the new industry. By the 1920s they were hugely successful, with the circulation of the most popular closing in on 1 million per month by the close of the

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Second World War (Slide 2010: 3). Titles included Pictures and Picturegoer (which went through various name changes), Film Weekly, Film Pictorial, and Picture Show in the UK, which competed at the news-stand with imported American titles, such as Photoplay, and mass-market coverage in newspapers such as the Sunday Dispatch, the Daily Express, and the Daily Mail. In the early years these publications and their advertisers catered to a broad readership of mixed gender, socio-economic background, and interests.7 Technical articles on editing and lighting for industry professionals and amateur enthusiasts sat side by side with film reviews and images of celebrities and their fashions. The magazines also encouraged readers to participate in this community of interest with numerous competitions, reader query columns, and extensive letters pages. Such letters, although selected by the editor (with the promise of financial remuneration for the best letter), did promote multivocal discussion around topics of interest to the fan community – and occasionally spilled out into the rest of the magazine. In January and February 1930, for example, the pages of Film Weekly were crowded with reader letters responding to an article by Nerina Shute, the magazine’s studio correspondent and high-profile interviewer. Shute, a powerful figure in the British film industry (she also covered the film industry for the Daily Express, Sunday Referee, and the Sunday Dispatch in the 1930s as well as being a publicist for Max Factor (Anon 2005: n. p.),8 had published an article ‘Film Stars’ Secrets Revealed: what screen players think and say when they think the press will not overhear’, which exposed actors’ ‘private selves’ and ‘real thoughts’ on fame, talkies, income tax, and Nerina Shute herself (Film Weekly 30 Dec 1929: 3). The article provoked not only an indignant response from one of the actors, Jameson Thomas, but a heated debate among male and female readers who argued intensely over the value and types of publicity, the actor’s right to privacy, and the interviewer’s relation to publicity at large. Although the uproar was clearly good publicity for the magazine, and Shute was given the final word on the subject, (‘Film stars are no more perfect than the rest of us. If we believed them to be saints surely our love for them would perish’ (Film Weekly 1 Feb 1930: 4)) the liveliness of this debate and others like it throughout the 1920s and 1930s indicates that not only were norms of publicity, gossip, and interviewing under negotiation in this era, but that these magazines offered a diverse readership a valuable platform for engaging in discussion with industry insiders.9 While these magazines did promote and stimulate fan communities, offering examples of what Miriam Hansen has termed ‘vernacular modernism’, defined as the mass ‘cultural practices that both articulated and mediated the experience of modernity’, and as such are a valuable resource for scholars of the public sphere and print media, they have also been disregarded due to their associations with ephemera, mass media, gossip, celebrity – and femininity (1999: 60). Despite a clear following of male readers throughout the interwar period, by the early 1920s the content and associated advertising in these magazines was becoming increasingly homogenised, particularly along gender lines. By 1922 the industry estimated that 75 per cent of their readers were women. Although not overtly excluding the substantial minority of male readers (Picturegoer and Film Weekly, both aimed at a readership with a higher purchasing power, tended to be slightly more inclusive), these titles did increasingly target female readers (Hallett 2011: 184–5; Glancy 2014: 42–60). For scholars of women’s print media, then, these publications exist in a somewhat liminal zone: unlike Vogue,

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Woman, or Peg’s Paper, fan magazines never targeted female readers exclusively and their intended readership was in flux for the period under discussion. Yet, as circulation figures indicate, they were a significant player in a print marketplace targeting women. Moreover, they were an important venue for female journalists in this era, employing and publishing a huge number, and they were to have a crucial role in defining how the Lady Interviewer, her methods, and her audience were perceived in the 1920s and 1930s (Slide 2010: 33–46). In this new star culture the established trend toward a rhetoric of disclosure was exaggerated; fan magazine articles offered readers a peep onto the film set, whether it was to expose the authentic personality of the star or the tricks of the industry (for example it was revealed in Picturegoer that ‘snow’ was made of cotton batting (Feb 1921: 16)). Hovering between innate identity and spectacular illusion, individuality and mechanical reproducibility, the relation between star image and a star’s personality was promoted by fan magazines and the celebrity system as the ultimate secret to be divulged.10 The average issue of a fan magazine promoted this logic; a typical 1920 edition of Picture Show contained various ‘as told by’ features on stars, brief and more in-depth interviews, glossy full-page headshots, ghostwritten autobiographies, and a series promising to decipher the character of stars through their faces. Other collective pieces, such as ‘In the Dressing Room’ which recounted stars’ domestic preferences, or photomontages of Hollywood fashions, or stars at leisure, utilised the same emphasis on behind-the-scenes access to stars’ personalities. In addition, the magazine published newsy columns including the gossip feature ‘Cinema Chat’, ‘From “Over There”’, a column summarising the latest film news from Los Angeles, and a regular photo spread ‘Behind the Scenes in Filmland’.11 Such articles juxtaposed the glamorous inaccessibility of the star with a more intimate perspective. As a 1938 advertisement for Film Weekly declared, ‘Make friends of your favourite film stars’, ‘Get to know your screen favourites better . . . learn what they’re really like . . . what they do in private life’ (Woman 15 Jan 1938: 17). The tone of these interviews and articles diverged from that found in women’s print media in the 1890s: the associations with gossip and reader enjoyment became inflated at the expense of professional advice and sociopolitical identification. A case in point is a 1921 interview with Pearl White published in Picturegoer. One of the most famous serial actresses of her time and extremely popular with readers of fan magazines across the globe, White’s life story would have been familiar to many British readers, her (probably ghosted) autobiography Just Me having been serialised in Picture Show the year before.12 White’s screen persona is very much at the centre of the interview: ‘Talk not to Pearl White of the Proverbial Cat. For seven solid years she was a heroine in serial films, and you know what that means . . . in spite of the 3,750 attempts against her life – her film enemies have tried everything from poisoned wallpaper to time-bombs – she still lives to tell the tale’ (Picturegoer Feb 1921: 31). This sensational set-up, which also describes the interviewer’s entry into White’s house in detail, then introduces a cliché-filled rags-to-riches story, complete with a rural childhood, escape to the circus, reversals of fortune, and eventual success (involving world travel and expensive furs). The secrets of White’s personality are revealed to be pluck, commitment to old-fashioned values, and an innate talent. More arresting than the (almost reproducible) narrative are the twelve photographs that accompany the piece, and just as the framing text set up expectations of privacy, intimacy, and authentic

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revelation, so too the photographs in this interview, like many others in the period, follow the same path. The image on the first pages are those of White as a film star, dressed in luxurious fabrics – furs, velvet, sequins, feathers, and gossamer – whether in costume ‘as a persecuted heroine’ or ‘as herself’ in publicity shots. These images offer the publicly promoted view of Pearl. By contrast, as the reader moves further through the article, more intimate, private, and casual photographs are displayed, indicating her rural heritage and active lifestyle, until on the final page a large image of Pearl shows her wearing a gingham dress and apron, standing in her garden and smiling naturally at the camera. Offering a multifaceted, glamorous portrayal of the subject, these images also suggest that the reader has moved through layers of publicity to finally obtain authentic access to the ‘true’ Pearl White. The on-screen persona that White, and other serial stars like her, promoted would also shape a new incarnation of the Lady Interviewer type. As historian Hilary A. Hallett has argued, White was one of the most frequently proffered examples of what she terms the ‘New Western Woman’ which emerged with and was promoted by the thriving film industry. Reputed to do all of her own stunts, White, like other serial actresses, regularly promoted her aptitude for and commitment to her strenuous career: as a child she took the ‘“dares” that the other kiddies turned down for sheer right’ and now devotes herself to ‘[l]ong hours of sleep, gymnastics and horse-back riding every day, sensible food, and not too much of that’ (Picturegoer Feb 1921: 32). For Hallett, the New Western Woman that White encapsulated offered viewers and readers ‘imaginative access to an environment that encouraged them to act the part of bold adventurer that boys had so long enjoyed by experimenting with erotic play and different work and romance roles’, something that Hallett reads as akin to third-wave feminism in its focus on individual empowerment and the pleasures to be found in romance, fashion, and popular culture (2011: 209–10). While Britain was slower to embrace this model (and celebrity culture in general) than the American studios, interviews with such figures were to become extremely popular reading in the interwar period, doing much to promote the cinema actors, serial stars, or otherwise, depicted within them. Yet, as Hallett herself emphasises, the New Western Woman was also an off-screen phenomenon and would have implications for the star interviewer. In sharp contrast to the usual demographics of Western towns, Los Angeles was the first boom town in California where women outnumbered men by 1920, flocking to Hollywood to work in an industry that offered women excellent professional opportunities (Hallett 2011: 183). Newly mobile, independent, living a bohemian lifestyle, and pursing romantic liaisons while sustaining a professional identity, the New Western Woman also promoted a modernised version of the Lady Interviewer – what we might call the ‘Hollywood’ interviewer – as journalists and gossip columnists on both side of the Atlantic such as Louella Parsons, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Nerina Shute, Gladys Hall, and Margaret Chute publicised these opportunities in print. In pieces such as the Pearl White article, the star is never alone; the interviewer, frequently female, is far more discernible than her purported role as inscriber might suggest. Far from a silent amanuensis, Hall is a visible, spectacular presence, an alternative, approachable, and sympathetic serial heroine with whom the reader can identify. In the above-quoted interview, the majority of the first page contains a lengthy description of Hall’s suspicions of the harmless-looking driveway, the Butler, and a cup of tea as she expects

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threats to her life at every turn. A lively, imperilled narrator, Hall is a constantly mediating presence between actress and reader, providing tension and emotional cues. Direct quotation of White is surprisingly limited in this interview, her childhood is narrated by Hall, not the subject, and Hall frequently frames her account with novelistic strategies, including addresses to the reader (‘perhaps you will agree with me that . . .’) and descriptive speech tags (‘she said, her face crinkling into laughter’) (Picturegoer Feb 1921: 33). This new version of the Lady Interviewer as role model on par with the subject was particularly visible in the era prior to 1929, when the stars being promoted acted in silent films. While visibility and spectatorship are obviously key to understanding the celebrity phenomenon, the silence that characterised the Hollywood star for much of this period meant that the interview offered one of few public means by which actors could ‘speak’. In this period the actor’s voice became one of the greatest secrets of all.13 As in all interviews, quotation of subjects acted as a marker of authenticity in fan magazine features; the speech patterns, slang, and idiosyncratic phrasing of Pearl White were offered not only as an example of her unique personality but as a moment of revelation. Tom Conley has persuasively argued that early film promoted a new form of ‘civil conversation’ wherein the ‘spectator could go to the movie in order to learn how to talk in the imagination, and how, too, to revive dialogue within his or her own body, in mimesis of a new panoply of silent types, without the need of interlocutors’ (2001: 83–93). His emphasis upon the benefits of such silence also helps to explain the appeal of the celebrity interview in this era: the sole site wherein readers had (purportedly) the opportunity to converse with a star, via an interviewer proxy.14 It also helps to explain the prominence of the Hollywood interviewer as narrator and mouthpiece for the silent star. Such associations between Hollywood and the Lady Interviewer, overwhelmingly positive in the early 1920s, were to become more detrimental in the 1930s thanks to shifts in the media ecology. In addition to the move to talkies rendering transcription of the film star’s speech less privileged, norms of disclosure in fan magazines were also changing. Before 1922 the Hollywood film industry had been keen to promote the film actor as a model citizen, rebuffing accusations of the immorality of (stage) acting and concerns over the healthfulness of cinema (deCordova 2001: 102–3). In the early twenties a series of scandalous events involving famous stars revealed a darker side to stars’ private lives. Fatty Arbuckle’s rape trial in 1921, William Desmond Taylor’s murder in 1922, and Wallace Reid’s death by drug overdose in 1923 were not heavily covered by the (British and American) fan magazines who were often reluctant to risk their important ties (financial or otherwise) with the studios and handicapped by a longer print cycle than daily newspapers. Nevertheless, the wider exposé of these stars’ tawdry behaviour behind closed doors did much to promote the revelatory rhetoric the magazines utilised. While the revelations offered in fan magazines were frequently bland, these gossip columns, interviews, and features became increasingly associated with scandal. Furthermore, although film commentary and fan publications continued to be hugely popular, their roles changed and in some cases, editorial and reviewing standards began to slip. By the mid to late 1930s, the Hollywood interviewer in general was becoming increasingly identified with the reproducible, hack writing associated with fan publications and their predominantly female workforce. Occasional interview series that promoted themselves as ‘impertinent’ or ‘cross

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examinations’ indicate an increasing anxiety around the form’s standing.15 While the Hollywood interviewer would continue to be a significant type in celebrity culture, her ‘methods’ were, by the 1940s, associated with gossip, sexual impropriety, and the massified, easily manipulated and consumer-oriented ‘vague giant “the public”’ (Noble 1934: 27). Thus having attaching herself to the film industry, the Lady Interviewer would become a maligned figure in the years immediately before and after the Second World War.

Women’s Magazines and the Absent Interviewer The interwar period saw the launch of a huge number of women’s magazines, mostly catering to the middle classes and lower-middle classes, yet this increase in titles was not matched by a swell in the number of interviews published by and for women (Clay 2013: 199–214). Monthlies such as Good Housekeeping, Modern Woman, and Woman and Home and weeklies like Woman and Woman’s Weekly catered to a wide range of tastes, interests, and reader communities. Continuing many of the debates and questions promoted by Lady Interviewers in the 1890s, we might expect these later titles to foreground her type. Given too that these magazines regularly advertised fan titles, suggesting a perceived overlap in readership, we might also expect the updated Hollywood interviewer to make extensive appearances. However, in these general interest women’s magazines the Lady Interviewer (in either incarnation) and her features are notable for their absence, especially in the later 1920s and 1930s. Even in society papers such as Queen or the Lady, the Lady Interviewer is not a visible type; while the former regularly included profiles of debutantes and photographs of the season’s social events, and ran rare interviews with subjects (including artists, the American First Lady, or that ever-present contributor to fan and women’s magazines, the bestselling romance writer Elinor Glyn), these pieces don’t include a visibly present female interviewer with whom readers can imaginatively identify. Such tactics are part of a more general restraint over the use of personal journalism in these titles as compared to the wider market, (especially in the decade before the strictures of the Great Depression put editors under additional pressure to compete for readers). Across one year of the 2d weekly Woman, for example, within a series of mini biographies of women in history, a profile of the Queen by Lady Cynthia Asquith represented the limit of such coverage in general features and as an extreme example, Good Housekeeping ran few, if any, personal features in the twenties, only marginally increasing the number in the decade following. In 1937, human interest content extends only to the literary critic Frank Swinnerton’s reminiscences and the occasional one-off article on popular preachers or Victorian pioneers of interior design. In this and many other titles, where references to and photos of film stars do exist, they are generally restricted to news round-ups and summaries of film releases. Still avoiding the Hollywood interviewer type, some more adventurous titles, Modern Woman in particular, were nevertheless willing to utilise the rhetoric of disclosure and celebrity promoted by fan magazines in specific arenas, including articles offering tips to readers – whether on how to make Marlene Dietrich’s hat or copy celebrity hairstyles. Beauty writer Dorothy Cocks, for example, re-appropriated the rhetoric of

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the star’s individuality – ‘Greta Garbo’s personality is so subtle it cannot be analysed, yet so strong that it rouses the most stolid film-goer to rhapsody!’ – to urge readers to ‘cultivate’ their own personalities via her tips and exercises (Modern Woman May 1934: 17). These, and other articles like them – ‘Walls that enhance your personality’ for example, (Modern Woman Aug 1926: 21) – domesticated Hollywood glamour, containing its more scandalous associations in a more respectable emphasis on the reader’s personality. Such strategies, utilised occasionally in editorial content, were far more widely deployed in advertisements, with products such as Pond’s face cream promoted through testimonials and glossy headshots of society women and film stars. Such prevalence suggests a tension in these magazines between a perception amongst editors and advertisers that the language of revelation, glamour, and celebrity promoted in fan magazines and by the Hollywood Interviewer could be an effective tactic for appealing to consumers’ desires, and a desire to eschew their more scandalous and negative associations. The absence of the Lady Interviewer in such magazines is, I argue, the result of attempts to balance these two tendencies. While borrowing some of her language, these titles supress the Hollywood interviewer almost entirely. Instead, she is substituted by a figure who, although not an incarnation of the Lady Interviewer, shares her function and many of her qualities – the advice columnist. Like the Lady Interviewer of the 1890s, the advice columnist offers readers entry into an intimate public, wherein advice can be sought and proffered on topics as various as romantic liaisons, interior design, social etiquette, diet, child-rearing, careers, and consumer advice. Although more domestic in purview and expert than Lady Interviewers, advice columnists such as Woman’s Weekly’s Mrs Marryat, Leonora Eyles in Modern Woman, or Woman’s Evelyn Home promoted similar reading communities based on mutual emotional support, practical advice, and imaginative identification. Hugely popular in a period in which writers sought to give ‘new zest to the hum-drum domestic round’ through sympathetic, friendly, and informative talk, the majority of women’s magazines also urged readers to write in for advice or to share opinions – in part, as Cynthia White has demonstrated, so that publishers could gain information about readers to target content more effectively (Peacocke 1936: 63; White 1970: Appendix 2). Distinct from the Hollywood interviewer in emphasising familiarity over exoticism, practicality rather than glamour, the advice columnist nevertheless performed a similar function in connecting readers ‘imaginatively with an exciting modern world’ as Hackney points out, ‘albeit in a more pragmatic form’ (2010: 24). The advice columnist’s uneasy resemblance to the Lady Interviewer and her Hollywood incarnation is more clearly evinced in those papers aimed at working-class readers such as Peg’s Paper. Heavily focused on fiction, throughout the twenties and thirties the magazine was unusual in deploying the techniques of fan magazines in its pages, including a series of ‘Confessions’ by music hall and film celebrities, a gossip column about Hollywood happenings, and ‘A Day With . . . ’ photo series, which encouraged readers to imagine they were socialising with a celebrity. Later it also ran a series of letters written explicitly to readers from celebrities and also a number of true-life ‘blood’ stories on friend’s suicides, one woman’s story of her husband’s sentencing to death for a crime he did not commit, or the cheerfully titled ‘Why Girls are Murdered’ (Peg’s Paper 10 Nov 1934). Peg’s Paper, and to a degree its competitor Home Chat, borrow the language of disclosure and confession from the fan magazines, featuring adventurous desiring

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heroines familiar from serial stars in their fictional offerings. With a tone that recalls the scandal reporting of yellow journalism more than glamorous revelation, we might expect the Hollywood interviewer to appear at any moment. Despite the fact that Peg’s Paper rejected the Lady Interviewer, it drew heavily on the cosy and candid persona of the eponymous writer as friendly advisor. Whether in the gossip columns, editorial letters, or correspondence pages, readers were encouraged to consider Peg their confidante and champion and she regularly addresses them directly. In ‘Peg Trots Round Filmland’, the regular Hollywood column of the 1920s, Peg frequently tailors pieces explicitly to her working-class readers’ interests and situation: I expect you have all read the discussion in the newspapers as to whether girls do or do not look awful frights in their bathing dresses. I think everything depends on the dress, and so that all my chums shall look charming when they bathe I am giving you a photograph here of beautiful Mary Thurman, the film star, wearing a ripping dress which you can copy for yourselves. I am sure it would suit the average girl splendidly. (Peg’s Paper 13 July 1934: 18) Although more likely to promote the glamour of the celebrity image, as is the case with other women’s general interest magazines, Peg frames such visual and textual references with practical advice, assumptions of shared reference points (note her slang), such as limited resources and awareness of local contexts, all of which position the celebrity’s appeal within the reader’s experience of her daily life. Following the publicity accorded to the Hollywood interviewer in the later 1920s and 1930s, the Lady Interviewer and her methods, tainted but nevertheless alluring, are suppressed across women’s interest magazines in favour of the more practical, spectacle- and scandalfree advice columnist. What we see in the interwar period then, is a bifurcation of the original Lady Interviewer type. On the one hand she evolved into an initially glamorous Hollywood Interviewer of the fan magazines, closely associated with film celebrity, gossip and, later, shoddy editorial standards, scandalous behaviour and talk, and a passive, feminised, and easily manipulated mass media. On the other hand, in women’s general-interest titles she is largely absented, replaced by the advice columnist and the Lady Interviewer’s earlier motivational talk on ‘ambitions and aims’ transformed into practical self-help guidance. While both the Hollywood Interviewer and the advice columnist aided distinct communities of interest, scholars should not overlook the different ways in which they were represented and utilised, and the variances between these often conflated reading communities. In tracing the early life of the Lady Interviewer (she exists today as Lynn Barber’s man-eating interviewer, amongst other versions), we can learn much about the interplay between women’s representations, texts, and communities. For the first forty years of the twentieth century female interviewers and their methods were both derided and glamorised. The texts they produced helped to publicise women’s professional achievements, promote communities, and facilitate readers’ own ambitions and knowledge. In her visible form, (especially in her more general cousin, the female journalist as evidenced in films such as His Girl Friday or the careers of internationally syndicated gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons in the 1940s),

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the Hollywood Interviewer was to have a decidedly mixed impact on perceptions of female interviewers and women’s print media at mid-century. No longer the augur of modernity and women’s ambition, this new version of the Lady Interviewer was, by 1939, a marker of the limits of good taste. Nevertheless, attending to the legacies of the Lady Interviewer provides important insight into the extremely complex relationships between female writers and readers, ‘vernacular modernism’, and women’s print media in the interwar period.

Notes 1. This research was funded in part by a European Research Council Grant, ‘Ego-media: The impact of new media on forms and practices of self-presentation’ [no. 340331]. 2. See Ponce de Leon 2002, Braudy 1986, and Hammill 2007. 3. There are parallels here with the secretary and telegraph operator: the devaluing of (repetitive) inscription work and increasing associations with female workers led to the feminisation of such roles in this era. See Price and Thurschwell 2005 and Otis 2001:137 on the secretary and modernity. 4. In The Lady Interviewer the housemaid Eliza fools female interviewer Miss Maguire into believing she is the lady of the house (Swears 1910). 5. See, for example, the contributions collected in Part IV of this volume, ‘Feminist Media and Agendas for Change’. 6. Studios had not initially encouraged publications to print interviews with actors. Prior to 1907 most actors were not credited in films; studios and actors alike were reluctant to release names, explained variously by the potential rise in salaries this might have caused, the lack of prestige associated with film (as opposed to stage) acting at the time, or the threat it posed to the cinematic illusion (deCordova 2001: 81). 7. For a more detailed breakdown of readership by class and economic background, see Glancy 2014; also see the Appendix to this volume. 8. Film Weekly’s Hollywood correspondent was none other than Cedric Belfrage, who was later to leak intelligence to Russia during the Second World War. 9. See, for example, Stead 2011 and 2013. 10. In an important parallel, Freudian psychoanalysis with its emphasis on the hidden unconscious as the seat of all desires, similarly popularised the private as the realm of greatest (sexual) significance at this time. 11. British Magazines regularly offered a mediating presence between the exoticism of Hollywood and the realities of interwar Britain, promoting home-grown companies, films, and talent and offering explanations of foreign slang, customs, and geography. See Glancy 2014. 12. For a discussion of White’s international fame, see Dahlquist 2013. 13. In ‘Me and the Microphone’, Laura La Plante, ‘[a]fter speaking to the world in general’ in her new film, grants ‘a few words to the Picturegoer!’ – in this case via the story of an actress’s day on the sound set, which involves being exceedingly quiet, to the point that red flannel underwear have to be worn in lieu of rustling ‘crêpe de Chine’ (Picturegoer Sep 1929: 19). 14. Shelley Stamp’s work on extra-filmic discourses and Laura Marcus’s attention to the printed quality of dialogue in this era also support the notion that the interview’s inscription of the film star’s speech marked it as a culturally significant form (Stamp 2000: 102–53; Marcus 2007). 15. The American title Photoplay ran such a series in 1933, with James Fidler interviewing Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, and others.

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Works Cited Anon. 2005. ‘Nerina Shute.’ Contemporary Authors Online. Gage Literature Resource Center. (Last accessed 28 July 2015). Berlant, Lauren. 2008. The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Black, Helen C. 1893. Notable Women Authors of the Day: Biographical Sketches. Glasgow: David Bryce and Son. Braudy, Leo. 1986. The Frenzy of Renown: Fame & Its History. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Clay, Catherine. 2013. ‘The Woman Journalist, 1920–1945.’ The History of British Women’s Writing, 1920–1945. Vol. 8. Ed. Maroula Joannou. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 199–214. Conley, Tom. 2001. ‘The Talkie: Early Cinematic Conversations.’ Talk Talk Talk: The Cultural Life of Everyday Conversation. Ed. S. I. Salamensky. New York and London: Routledge. 83–93. Dahlquist, Marina, ed. 2013. Exporting Perilous Pauline: Pearl White and the Serial Film Craze. Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press. deCordova, Richard. 2001. Picture Personalities: The Emergence of the Star System in America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Fraser, Hilary, Judith Johnston, and Stephanie Green. 2003. Gender and the Victorian Periodical. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gibian, Peter. 2001. Oliver Wendell Holmes and the Culture of Conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Glancy, Mark. 2014. Hollywood and the Americanization of Britain from the 1920s to the Present. London and New York: I. B. Tauris. Hackney, Fiona. 2010. ‘“They Opened Up a Whole New World”: Feminine Modernity and the Feminine Imagination in Women’s Magazines, 1919–1939.’ Dissertation. Goldsmith’s College, University of London. Hallett, Hilary A. 2011. ‘Based on a True Story: New Western Women and the Birth of Hollywood Author(s).’ Pacific Historical Review 80.2: 177–210. Hammill, Faye. 2007. Women, Celebrity, and Literary Culture between the Wars. Austin: University of Texas Press. Hansen, Miriam. 1999. ‘The Mass Production of the Senses: Classical Cinema as Vernacular Modernism.’ Modernism/modernity 6.2: 59–77. Haselden, W. K. 1914. ‘The Lady Interviewer and Her Methods of Work.’ Cartoon. Daily Mirror 15 May: n. p. British Cartoon Archive. (last accessed 28 July 2015). Lardner, John. 1957. ‘The Total Interview.’ New Yorker 9 November: 164, 166–8. Marcus, Laura. 2007. The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Noble, Vernon. 1934. Interviewing: A Guide for Professional and Free-Lance Journalists. London: Sir I. Pitman & Sons. Otis, Laura. 2001. Networking: Communicating with Bodies and Machines in the Nineteenth Century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Peacocke, Emilie Hawkes. 1936. Writing for Women. London: A & C Black. Ponce de Leon, Charles L. 2002. Self-Exposure: Human-Interest Journalism and the Emergence of Celebrity in America, 1890–1940. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press. Price, Leah and Pamela Thurschwell, eds. 2005. Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture. Aldershot: Ashgate.

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Ross, Betty. 1934. Heads and Tales. London: Rich and Cowan. Slide, Anthony. 2010. Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Markers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. Spacks, Patricia M. 1985. Gossip. New York: Knopf. Sphinx, A. 1919. Journalism as a Career for Women. London: George Newnes. Stamp, Shelley. 2000. Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Stead, Lisa. 2011. ‘“So oft to the movies they’ve been”: British fan writing and female audiences in the silent cinema.’ Transformative Works and Cultures. Vol. 6. —. 2013. ‘Letter Writing, Cinemagoing and Archive Ephemera.’ The Boundaries of the Literary Archive: Reclamation and Representation. Ed. Carrie Smith and Lisa Stead. Farnham: Ashgate. 139–56. Swears, Herbert. 1910. The Lady Interviewer: An Original Dramatic Sketch. London: Samuel French; New York: Henry French. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph. Wiener Joel H., ed. 1988. Introduction to Papers for the Millions: The New Journalism in Britain, 1850s to 1914. New York and London: Greenwood. xi–xix.

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12 The PICTUREGOER: Cinema, Rotogravure, and the Reshaping of the Female Face Gerry Beegan

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n this essay I will examine one specific magazine as an instance of key shifts in mass visual culture during the interwar period. I want to place this magazine, Picturegoer, at the heart of an intermedial nexus with film and women’s appearance. As popular print culture shifted in the early twentieth century, reflecting a new more image-based culture, women readers began to style their own images by using new cosmetic products that mimicked the effects of both film and printed photographs. Picturegoer was the leading British illustrated film weekly in the interwar period and I argue that a large part of its appeal to readers was its imagery and the method by which these images were reproduced. Picturegoer was one of the first British popular magazines to adopt the new reproductive technology of rotogravure, an innovative technique that enabled its publisher to produce an inexpensive magazine in colour for a large national audience. Although it was not explicitly a woman’s magazine, Picturegoer textually addressed a female readership in terms of its content and advertising. This might be expected; since its early days cinema had been associated with women who adopted the new medium with zeal. The film historian Gaylyn Studlar notes that from the 1920s the American film industry operated on the assumption that women formed the largest part of its audience, and estimates of the percentages of female viewers varied from 75 per cent to 83 per cent (1996: 263). There was certainly a similar situation in Britain (Richards 1984: 11–12). Attendance at the cinema and the purchase of the film fan magazines that flourished in the 1920s and 1930s were components of shared cultural practices that resonated widely with women in Europe and in the United States. Picturegoer was one of the very first British fan magazines. It was launched by Odhams Press in 1914 and by 1939 it was the longest running and most popular film magazine. During that quarter-century the magazine changed radically in terms of its editorial and advertising content, and its appearance. It did so in synchronisation with the British cinema, which grew from a small-scale industry at the beginning of the First World War to become the country’s dominant entertainment format by the Second World War. In 1914, film shows typically consisted of British-made silent shorts, melodramas, comedies, newsreels and actuality films presented in newly built small cinemas. The masthead for the earliest issues of Picturegoer trumpeted its miscellaneous coverage: ‘Drama Comedy Historical Travel Topical Educational. Popular Picture Players’. By 1939, the British movie scene was dominated by Hollywood sound features that starred international celebrities and were projected in opulent picture

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Figure 12.1 Cover, Picturegoer. Four-colour rotogravure from illustration. (Source: Picturegoer Apr 1931)

palaces. Picturegoer didn’t just track these developments, the magazine was also interlinked with film in many ways. Print media, in particular fan magazines, were crucial to the growth of film, providing the publicity needed to generate and maintain large audiences. During the twenties and thirties film became a major factor in shaping fashions in clothes, make-up, and hair. Mirroring and enhancing this influence, Picturegoer regularly featured articles on fashions in the movies and on clothes modelled by movie actors. These mass-produced representations of film stars set standards of appearance to which, for the first time, the everyday reader could aspire. Picturegoer published regular fashion issues, pattern offers, and carried increasing numbers of advertisements related to appearance. In all of these ways Picturegoer enabled women readers to assemble a wealth of female knowledge related to the visual elements of film. This expertise was mapped back on to readers’ bodies through the making or purchasing of clothes, the application of make-up, and the styling of hair. In this instance I will focus on make-up rather than clothing, as this was a crucial time for the incorporation of cosmetics into mainstream culture. Sarah Berry has charted the links between film and changing fashions in cosmetics in this period and the ways in which Hollywood offered women a ‘democratic’ range of choices, based on a variety of stars (2000:

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Figure 12.2 Constance Bennett. Two-colour letterpress with photomechanical halftone from a photograph. (Source: Pictures and the Picturegoer Aug 1925: 30) 108). During the 1920s, the use of make-up became more overt, and by the 1930s it had become a part of everyday life for British women. Adrian Bingham notes that by the Second World War 90 per cent of women under thirty were using make-up (2004: 174). The cinema and fan magazines were the major influences on this dramatic shift in female appearance. Movies in the 1920s attempted to position women as a consuming audience via the star system, and fan magazines helped women to negotiate the contradictions of modern female subjectivity in an informed way through editorial content that balanced female pleasure with an acknowledgement of the reality of readers’ lives (Studlar 1996: 275). Although romantic heterosexual marriage was still the ideal, both in movies and in the lives of many women, the magazines’ content acknowledged growing female economic power and sexual emancipation and the tensions that these changes might provoke. The key technical development in printing in the 1920s and 1930s, and something that I argue was central to the connections between film, publishing, and the body, was the introduction of rotogravure printing. This technique brought high quality colour images to illustrated magazines for the first time. Rotogravure offered no advantage over existing printing methods in terms of the printing of text; rather, it was developed specifically to improve the reproduction of images. The heavy investment in its development and extra expense involved in its employment could only be justified when it was used to print very long runs of illustrated periodicals. Picturegoer was one of the first popular magazines in Britain printed by rotogravure process and this enabled the magazine and its readers to respond visually to film in new ways. The printing methods that Picturegoer used were ideal for replicating the human face at a large scale and this was, I suggest, a key factor in its early adoption of the technology. Rotogravure images allow the face to be shown as literally spotless, unlike previous methods. The principal technologies of reproduction that had been used in the popular press up to this point were wood engraving and photomechanical reproduction. Both of these methods left visible traces of the reproductive matrix. Wood engraving was used from the 1840s onwards in the first popular illustrated periodicals. In a wood-engraved portrait elegant hand-incised lines formed the contours of

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the face. The photomechanical halftone was adopted by magazines in the 1890s. In a photomechanical halftone a portrait was made up of small dots of varying sizes in a regular grid. Figure 12.2 is a halftone from a photograph of Constance Bennett, a very popular silent-film actress of the late 1920s, and the older sister of Joan Bennett. It appeared in the August 1925 issue of Picturegoer, one of the full-page portraits that were regular features in the centre pages of the magazine. It was printed in black with a solid light-cream background. Although this is a well-printed fine screen halftone there are visible dots leading to an overall flatness. In the eyeballs dots have been removed to produce white highlights, this was the only way to achieve a pure white. Dark lines have been added in the hair and around the eyes to help define the head. In contrast, a rotogravure portrait consisted of smooth, continuous, delicate particles; there was no definable matrix. Its ability to reproduce a wide tonal range from intense blacks to bright whites brought a new intensity to the mass-reproduced portrait. Its aesthetic was closely linked to the projected close-up that had been a feature of film since the 1910s. Early film theorist Béla Balázs noted that the cinematic close-up not only brought the human face to the audience at a new scale, but it also isolated it from any context or background and allowed the audience to study the face in detail for an extended period. Indeed, Balázs argued that the close-up allowed viewers to experience the small details that he regarded as central to life’s value. Theatre could not do this, ‘[B]ut the magnifying glass of the cinematograph brings us closer to the individual cells of life, it allows us to feel the texture and substance of life in its concrete detail’ (Carter 2007: 103). Fan magazines extended the temporal engagement viewers could have with stars’ images. Via their articles on stars and their films they allowed readers to go deeper still into these details.

Odhams and the Illustrated Press Photographically illustrated mass-market periodicals and cinema both emerged in Europe and the United States in the 1890s. These magazines were printed by letterpress, a relief process in which raised type and images were locked into a metal frame, inked, and then impressed into the surface of paper. They were printed on high-speed rotary presses, but the basic technique was unchanged since Gutenberg. What was new in the 1890s were the photomechanical halftone technologies that enabled publishers to print photographic images alongside text on a commercial basis for the first time. In nineteenth-century illustrated weeklies like the Sketch and its imitators, the numbers of illustrations increased as the cost of reproduction fell. The introduction of the halftone had led to increased anxieties about the shift to a visual culture. Magazines countered these concerns by visually reinforcing their status as printed artefacts, locking images within the symmetrical, centred typographical grids of traditional printing composition. These halftones filled rectangular blocks, which, in many cases, were reinforced by a black line or elaborate border. Thus, when magazines laid out halftones on their pages they confined them within the long-established conventions of print and also the conventions of photographic display, literally framing them on the page. These layouts and borders were a means of reassuring viewers of the status of the mechanical halftone. They called attention to the magazine as a designed object in which the relationships of the elements of the printed page were made clear. Each

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element was discrete, and at the same time integrated and locked together by the use of line and space. These magazines were part of a flourishing publishing scene in Britain as conglomerates competed for advertising revenue. In order to do so they needed to supply advertisers with large numbers of readers, and in order to this they had to produce inexpensive, attractive products. Picturegoer was one of a stable of magazines published by the Odhams Press. During the interwar period Odhams became a dynamic force in magazine and newspaper publishing, challenging the established press conglomerates including Ingram Brothers, Newnes, and Amalgamated Press. The firm had initially been a magazine printer based in central London and the expansion of the firm into periodical and later newspaper publishing was driven by J. S. Elias, a clerk at the firm, who rose rapidly to become managing director of the business. Elias, intimately familiar with the possibilities of print, appreciated the importance of the visual as a means of attracting readers. Under Elias the firm diversified from printing, in which profits were somewhat limited, to the potentially more lucrative field of publishing. During the 1920s and 1930s, Odhams became a transmedial undertaking fully engaged with the new forms of mass communication. The firm became a publishing hub, offering clients typecasting, typesetting, blockmaking, printing, billposting, publishing, and publicity services in addition to using all of these technologies in their own magazines (Odham 1953). Elias, later Viscount Southwood, was a very modern businessman, using the latest methods of planning and promoting on his new ventures. He was constantly monitoring the circulation of his magazines, tracking sales and adjusting both editorial content and promotional activities to achieve his targets. He was also intimately engaged with the new technologies that were reshaping everyday life. Elias was able to gain a thorough understanding of the mass entertainment industries through the trade magazines he controlled that dealt with new communications media, including Electricity Trading, Broadcasting, Radio and Electrical Marketing, and Kinematograph Weekly. He then launched or bought magazines that catered to the consumers within these industries. Elias grasped the link between mass entertainment and mass publication, believing that these new developments in popular entertainment should be covered by magazines that would explain and interpret the technology, and also be vehicles for advertising related to the technology. Women had new educational and employment opportunities, with better wages and more leisure time in which to spend their money. Allied to women’s growing economic power, as R. J. Minney hints, was a new sexual emancipation: And in step with these changes, the restraints and rigours of behaviour were easing too. One saw women going about unescorted in the evening, lighting cigarettes in public, queueing up for the theater and even the music hall. Their invasion of business houses in vast hordes, often far outnumbering men, gave them a sense of equality and led to a demand for its fullest recognition. (1954: 117) Minney’s reference to the ‘invasion’ of business by ‘vast hordes’ of women evokes the aggressive threat that the increasing female independence, visibility, and economic power posed to existing patriarchal systems of power, and to male identity. Women had long been seen as primarily sensual and irrational rather than intellectual. By the

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Figure 12.3 Cover, Pictures and the Picturegoer. One-colour letterpress with photomechanical halftone from a photograph. (Source: Pictures and the Picturegoer 4 Apr 1914)

1920s, not only were women engaging in commerce and business, but there was a greater acknowledgement that women were seeking control over their own sexuality (Studlar 1996: 275). As women engaged with the pleasures and contradictions of modernity, moving through new arenas, they were more visible than ever before. Women needed to be able to monitor and adjust their appearance depending on place, time, and audience. The press was a vital means of keeping abreast of these changing constraints and opportunities. Newspapers and periodicals produced in the interwar period contained countless reproductions of women’s bodies, particularly those of fashion models, society figures, female athletes, and above all film stars (Bingham 2004: 47–83, 145–81). Cinema itself was the other major factor shaping female appearance. J. P. Mayer’s surveys of Picturegoer’s readership show how readers, both men and women, responded to film stars as models for appearance and behaviour (Mayer 1946; 1948).

The Picturegoer This cinematic influence was just gathering speed in 1913. Minney wrote that just before the First World War ‘A further sweeping change came from a novelty not expected to endure – the film’ (Minney 1954: 117–18). Odhams had, in fact, been involved in cinema publications since 1907. The first magazine that Odhams published was the Kinematograph Weekly, a specialist publication aimed at a small but significant readership; by September 1920 its circulation was only 4,400 (Shail 2008: 193). John Dunbar, the young editor of the Performer, a music hall and theatre magazine, was hired as editor of the new enterprise. In 1913 Elias took over the Picturegoer, a cinema fan magazine and also bought the Pictures, the first English fan magazine launched in 1911. In February 1914, Odhams relaunched the combined magazines as Pictures and the Picturegoer: the Picture Theater Weekly Magazine, at a penny per issue. Five years later, perhaps as an indication of the centrality of film and popular entertainment to his conception of magazines, he appointed Dunbar of Kinematograph Weekly as editor-in-chief of all his publications.

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Figure 12.4 ‘The Future “Star”’. One-colour letterpress with photomechanical halftones from photographs. (Source: Pictures and the Picturegoer 4 Apr 1914: 150–1)

The timing of Odhams’ cinema ventures coincided with transformations in film formats and dissemination systems. The producers and distributors of films were moving from programmes that consisted of a variety of short items to longer narrative films featuring recurring actors. Publicity became a vital component in the success of these films, and film magazines were an important vehicle for communicating information on films and actors. By 1910 film manufacturers were establishing publicity departments to circulate photographs of films and actors to the press, and to advertise their latest productions. Larger cinema chains were developing by renting the films from the studios and constructing purpose-built picture theatres to show them in. Elias and Dunbar would have been well aware of these changes as publisher and editor of a major trade weekly. Rachael Low traces the rapid growth of distribution companies and cinemas in this crucial period, so that by 1917 picture shows had become a part of the social structure of Britain (Low 1997: 39–46). The new fan magazine was printed letterpress by Odhams and was initially conventional in its layout, using the devices of print; borders, symmetry, unvarying type columns, typographical headings, and subheadings. The content included ‘Picture News and Notes’, adaptations of film stories that provided spoken text where none existed, biographies and gossip of stars, and recommendations for films to see. The magazine also featured ‘Replies’, consisting of short responses to readers’ queries, many of which were thinly disguised plugs for Odhams’ other products such as their many rotogravure postcards of stars. Another item ‘Bits From Our Letter-bag’ gave readers

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more of a voice. Lisa Stead has traced the ways that Picturegoer’s letter writers actively engaged with changing conceptions of femininity through their discussion of film stars. She finds that the choices that films offered allowed readers to construct a composite of modern femininity, balancing traditional domestic norms and sexually and economically progressive models (Stead 2011: 12.1). During the war the magazine did well, Minney noted: ‘People on leave from the front, or released for a few hours from the munitions factories and the shipyards, bought Pictures and the Picturegoer to read about the films and the stars before they queued up outside the cinemas’ (1954: 128). By the end of the conflict both the cinema and the Picturegoer were successfully established, and this led rival conglomerates to launch their own fan magazines; Amalgamated Press launched Picture Show in 1919, and Girl’s Cinema appeared in 1920. These magazines also proved popular; within a year Picture Show was selling around 442,000 copies a week (Reed 1997: 141). However, these competitors were not as visually attractive as Picturegoer. Though they were printed by letterpress, like Picturegoer, and cost two pence a copy, the same price as Picturegoer, they kept their production costs low by using cheaper paper than Picturegoer with the result that their images looked coarse on this rough absorbent surface. Additionally, pages often had a ‘show-through’ from the text and images on the other side of the sheet. In Picture Show, the materiality of the printed artefact was often further reinforced by the stray spots of ink that marred the images and the paper. These weeklies would later incorporate inserts printed by rotogravure, but their letterpress pages remained somewhat poorly printed. Elias, convinced of the importance of the image in attracting readers and advertisers, was willing to invest time and money on developing better reproduction. He looked to the rotogravure techniques that were just being developed specifically for the reproduction of images, rather than letterpress which had been developed for type. Picturegoer was one of the first magazines to switch to this method in the early 1920s. The magazine was eventually printed by the pioneering rotogravure firm, the Sun Engraving Company in Watford, which became the major printer of magazines in the UK by the 1930s. They initially had a virtual monopoly on the rotogravure process, as it wasn’t possible to buy the technologies from manufacturers. In addition, skilled specialist workers were needed to operate these complex processes. The production of the printing matrix for rotogravure was very time-consuming and expensive. Both type and image were photographically etched into the surface of a curved cylinder. Rather than consisting of raised individual metal letters, the rotogravure text was a component in an etched photograph. In addition, the image was not made of a grid of raised dots but from minute etched recessed cells. During the printing process, rolls of paper passed at very high speeds between this printing cylinder and a rubber roller that pressed the paper against the printing cylinder. Under the pressure of the rollers, capillary action forced the ink, held in the minute indentations of the cylinder, onto the paper. Special thin, highly volatile inks were developed for rotogravure that could be dried almost instantaneously. One key attraction of gravure was the ability to use multiple colours. Letterpress was typically printed in one colour, black. Rotogravure was often printed in dark browns, blues, and greens. Furthermore, rotogravure presses were developed at Sun Engraving that could print colours in rapid succession. The roll, or ‘web’ of paper would be passed rapidly through a series of rollers of different colours interspersed with

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dryers. Sun continued to invest and develop its colour expertise and by 1926 was producing four-colour pages. The printed rotogravure image was soft, smooth, and continuous, a gauzy grain rather than a grid of dots, more like a projected film than a halftone. Printers referred to the luminous tones of rotogravure, achieved by thin inks that sat on the paper without an impression, immaterial in comparison to the inky recesses of letterpress. Rotogravure was very suited to the depiction of the human body and face. Its soft subtle tones, often in two colours, were ideal for reproducing the carefully made up, dramatically lit photographs of stars. This was, I suggest, an important aspect in Elias’s choice of Picturegoer as his first gravure periodical. The cover was usually a close-up portrait of a star, and each issue also contained a section of full-page portraits in addition to the many smaller portraits dotted throughout the magazine. In this, the magazine directly allied itself with the film close-up with its intense focus on the features of an individual star. One key difference between the letterpress and rotogravure processes was the types of substrate that could be used. For high quality halftone printing the surface of the paper had to be coated, otherwise the ink would spread. This paper was too expensive to be used for tens of thousands of copies, unless the publisher could charge readers a high cover price. When printed on cheaper, absorbent paper, such as that used by Picture Show, a coarser halftone grid with more widely spaced dots was required so that the inked dots making up the image would not run together and fill in. In the case of rotogravure, however, cheaper newsprint paper could be used while still achieving good quality images. Ink did not ‘fill in’ as there were no visible dots, and the ink dried rapidly. Although the costs of preparing cylinders and operating rotogravure presses were high, these were counterbalanced by the savings on paper. By the end of its first decade, Picturegoer was incorporating an exceptionally large number of film stills and portraits, upwards of four large photographs per page. These images would have been supplied gratis by the studios promoting their films and their actors. In 1920, Picturegoer switched from weekly to monthly publication and increased its cover price to one shilling. It may be that the two-penny fan weekly market segment was too crowded and Elias decided to take the magazine upmarket. It is also likely that Elias wished to refine his command of gravure and explore the potential of this new medium. The new monthly magazine had a distinctive look, unlike American monthly fan magazines such as Photoplay, launched in 1911, or Screenland launched in 1920, which employed layouts similar to conventional illustrated magazines of the period such as Good Housekeeping and Ladies’ Home Journal: elegant pages with refined, well-designed typography and extensive use of borders. I suggest that the rotogravure processes allowed Picturegoer to challenge the cultural dominance of the word that, as Johanna Drucker has maintained, was ingrained, and inscribed in letterpress technologies (2008: 43). By removing the trappings of print, the borders, and the dominance of type, the magazine was moving into a new visual territory. The magazine was responding to the pictorial richness of film culture. The word, in the form of synchronised recorded dialogue, was not part of the cinema experience for most of the 1920s; film remained a predominately visual experience throughout the decade, developing a sophisticated visual language through new techniques of montage and expression. This experience of silent ocular focus was similar,

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Figure 12.5 ‘Snow Men and Women’. Two-colour rotogravure with images from photographs. (Source: Pictures and the Picturegoer Dec 1924: 40–1) I would argue, to the experience of reading a magazine. Picturegoer celebrated visuality within its covers. It did this in the sheer number of its images, with their intense focus on the surfaces and details of film. It also emphasised the image through its innovative layouts. Picturegoer, rather than confining images and balancing them with type, interwove both visual forms. Some photographs were still framed by the conventions of printing, with borders of various designs, whether square, circular, or custom made. However, this print-based aesthetic broke down as more and more images were cut out and as geometric regularity was dissolved by gestural interventions. In many cases the cut-outs isolated the figure on the page, in many others elements of the image’s background were cut away to form abstract shapes that intersected with the type. The edges of images were scored with short lines, again breaking up the geometry of the page. Almost all of the images overlapped other images, intersecting and layering in complex ways. For instance, the four images shown in the November 1921 Picturegoer article, ‘In the Firelight’s Glow’, on homebody and silent film star Ethel Clayton, overlap so that the chair in the second from bottom image is cut out of the ceiling of the lower image showing Clayton’s living room (Figure 12.6). These designs rejected the conventional devices of the text page such as borders, regularity, centred typographic headlines, bold subheadings, and the dominance of type over image. The flexible gravure process in which both letterforms and photographs were fundamentally pictorial had the potential to challenge the hierarchy of text over image that was

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Figure 12.6 ‘In the Firelight’s Glow’. Two-colour rotogravure with images from photographs. (Source: Picturegoer Dec 1921: 42–3) entrenched in letterpress, and indeed in literary culture. Rather than structure its texts through the use of bold subheadings, as its competitors such as Picture Show did, the articles in Picturegoer flowed continuously. This fluid linking of disparate visual elements echoed the experience of film, which by the 1920s was using motion, montage, and a variety of camera positions to hold the attention of the viewer. From the beginning, film made the world visible in a radical way, potentially breaking established literary and theatrical conventions. Its impact on audiences was visually stimulating, and possibly liberating. The avantgarde Russian artist and designer El Lissitzky in his manifesto ‘Topographie der Typographie’ published in 1923, urged that the future of print must be cinematic, referring to ‘The continuous sequence of pages – the bioscopic book’ (1923: 47). In Picturegoer this filmic fluidity occurred within the page as most articles were confined to single pages or spreads. By the 1920s, Picturegoer’s layout evoked the liveliness of the film projection. The magazine’s approach to type was also new. In its weekly letterpress incarnation large typeset headlines had been used. The monthly’s headlines became nontypographic. A recurring linear hand-drawn geometric lettering, often printed in a second colour, was used for almost all of the headings in the 1920s. This was a means of quietly anchoring the appearance of the magazine, giving visual respite from the varied treatments of the images. The informal, modest, hand-lettering also suggested that the word was no longer dominant.

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Figure 12.7 ‘A Swimming Lesson’. Two-colour rotogravure with images from photographs. (Source: Pictures and the Picturegoer Aug 1924: 36–7) Another important element in this visual exploration was the use of colour. Rotogravure could provide colour options that added to the magazine’s visual miscellany. Two-, three-, or four-colour images were printed on magazine covers. These featured heavily retouched star portraits in which hair, eyes, nails, lips, and cheeks were carefully tinted by hand to achieve the effect of dramatic make-up. The magazine rarely used expensive full-colour images in editorial pages, but commonly employed two colours. Colour often had little relevance to the subject of the illustration as the same second colour would be used across a section of the magazine, though alternating colours might add to the structured variety of magazine. By 1924 the magazine, instead of printing an overall second colour on a page, was using the second colour as a spot colour, overprinting duotones on a photograph or picking out type and printing its headlines in colour. Rather than alternating colours, blocks of pages would be printed in the same second colour. In addition, the hand-written headlines, and type in advertisements, were often printed in the second colour. The magazine’s readers would have been very familiar with varied uses of colour from their cinematic experiences, where tinting and tinted stock were commonplace. The majority of films were tinted at this point. As Tom Gunning writes, tinting might be used ‘simply to provide chromatic variety by differentiating scenes through varied colours’ (2015: 18). Colour might also be used for diegetic meaning – blue for night, for instance, yellow to indicate an interior lit by electric light – but colour was also used expressively to suggest emotion or atmosphere. As with its fluid layout, Picturegoer was filmic in its use of colour.

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Figure 12.8 ‘Through Our Lens’. Two-colour rotogravure with images from photographs. (Source: Picturegoer Weekly 30 May 1931: 10–11)

Picturegoer in the 1930s In 1931 the magazine returned to weekly publication, becoming a two-penny weekly as of the Friday, 30 May issue. An article, ‘Only Twopence, but – ’ claimed that it was switching to a weekly format in order to satisfy readers’ demands for more timely coverage. It also announced that it would be printed in ‘art photogravure’ at a ‘[g]reat new plant, specially put down’ which would ensure that the magazine ‘is the best printed and best produced picturegoer’s paper ever produced’ (Picturegoer Weekly 30 May 1931: 39). An advertisement in the same issue linked this shift with the need to match the increased tempo of the film industry and the new developments in film production and distribution: ‘It had to come! It was as inevitable as the passing of the silent film – as logical as the talkie.’ The advertisement spoke of the ‘[h]uge kinemas dotting the county’ and the succession of stars, new cinema techniques, and innovations. The weekly would ‘keep pace with the new order of things’. Furthermore, the magazine aligned itself with fashion, particularly as it related to the world of film: ‘The new Picturegoer Weekly will be the first with news of big events, just as it will be first with the gossip retailed in the studio or news of ravishing frocks worn by a Hollywood beauty’ (30 May 1931: 41). Picturegoer envisaged the technologies of mass reproduction and distribution, in Hollywood, in fashion, and in publishing, marching closely in step.

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The two-penny weekly, edited by the film critic S. Rossiter Shepherd, described itself as ‘The Screen News Magazine de Luxe’ on its masthead. Rossiter was the film critic of the Sunday People, another Odhams publication, and as someone familiar with newspaper journalism, he would have been accustomed to a rapid production cycle. The extent varied between thirty-six and forty-eight pages with a three-colour cover devoted to a film star portrait, and a three-colour centre spread reporting on a major current film. It differed from the earlier monthly in that it was printed on cheaper uncoated newsprint, and there was less use of colour. However, despite its weekly production cycle, the magazine maintained its lively layouts with highly illustrated busy pages. Some of the aesthetic variety was achieved through the more active use of typography, which changed from the previous simple hand-lettered typefaces to a much more active and dramatic use of type with strong serif headlines mixing italic and roman type and the use of bold deco rules. The headlines were, in fact, influenced by the American magazine Photoplay. The growth of the film industry was visible in the pages of the magazine. By the 1930s, as Jeffrey Richards records, eighteen million Britons were attending the cinema each week (1984: 11–12). It is more difficult to grasp the size of the organisation that was producing the magazine. By 1934 Odhams’ turnover was £8.5 million.

Figure 12.9 ‘Lucky Days’. Two-colour rotogravure with images from photographs. (Source: Picture Show 6 Sep 1930: 10–11)

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The firm employed over 10,000 people, and paid them over £2 million in wages. These employees printed over sixty publications (Odham 1953: 72). That same year Odhams opened their own sixteen-acre photogravure plant in Watford, near Sun Engraving, with a 120,000 square-foot main works. The first rotogravure machine they installed was capable of printing 15,000 to 20,000 impressions per hour (Cox 2014: 73–4). These investments meant that Odhams publications were visually superior to those of their competitors. The two-penny weekly, Picture Show, published by Amalgamated Press, could not compete in terms of aesthetics, or content. Printed on cheaper paper, it had fewer pages than Picturegoer, typically twenty-four pages. Its cover was in one colour, and although it did feature cut-outs, these were crude with a dark line of ink at the edges. Pages typically had only one or two images, and the magazine was heavily dominated by text. The text was structured using subheadings in bold type. The images in the body of the magazine tended to be smaller than in Picturegoer and the layouts were very much in a print tradition with elaborate borders. A colour rotogravure ‘art supplement’, on coated smaller paper was bound into the centre of the magazine. But even this, as Figure 12.9 shows, was more coarsely printed than Picturegoer.

The Growth of Cosmetics Advertising Advertising was closely connected to the growth of popular illustrated magazines and it is important to consider both advertising and editorial sections and how they related to each other within Picturegoer. One of the motivations behind the large investments that were made in rotogravure printing technologies was the confidence that advertisers wanted to use colour printing to attract readers. In terms of its advertising content, Picturegoer initially featured regular advertisements for films placed by distributors, and ads for chocolates that would be bought at the cinema to enjoy during the programme. There was also a recurring small ad for ‘Keating’s Powder’ for killing fleas, bugs, and beetles. If we assume that this might relate to cinemas’ reputations as ‘flea-pits’, then the advertisements were all directly connected with film. By the 1920s the magazine contained a far greater range of advertisements than in its first decade. At this stage, the design of the advertisements was far more conventional than the editorial. Many ads still used borders, and many used hand-drawn illustrations rather than photographs. It was only in the 1930s that the advertising began to break out of these conventions. The February 1925 issue of Picturegoer gives a sense of the magazine’s advertising content. The issue consisted of seventy-four pages, and the ten pages of advertising were, with one or two exceptions, separated from editorial and placed at the back and the front of the magazine. The advertising content was mixed at this stage. There were many adverts for grooming products such as soap, toothpaste, hair care, hair removal, as well as a variety of other ads for weight loss, headache remedies, chocolates, baking powder, watches, tea, cocoa, and a fashion sketching school. The emphasis on products relating to the female body intensified over the next decade. The marketing of cosmetics had grown rapidly with the growth of film. In the recent past cosmetics had been bought discreetly over the chemist’s counter, or

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were made at home, but this changed in the late 1920s. As Neville Williams noted in 1957: Without the invention of the moving picture the revolution in the use of cosmetics would have proceeded at a very much slower pace. In the late ’twenties and through the ’thirties millions of English girls modelled their appearance as far as they could on America’s untitled aristocracy – the stars of Hollywood. They not only saw them in films, but learnt the ‘secrets’ of their toilet from magazines, bought the same beauty-preparations by which their idols professed to wear, and copied the hair-style of their latest pictures. (1957: 135) Stage actresses of the 1890s had already established close connections between performance, the press, and fashion, wearing designer gowns that were described in illustrated magazines. A few decades later these same networks between the entertainment, publishing, and clothing industries were much more commercially developed. There were myriad intersections between Hollywood and fashion, as Stella Bruzzi notes: ‘From the late 1920s, Hollywood openly declared its desire to supplant Paris as the leading fashion innovator’ (1997: 4). Not only did film stars model clothes on screen and in print, but also studios commissioned couturières, including Erté, Chanel, Givenchy, and Schiaparelli, to design for films. Clothes by Hollywood costume designers such as Adrian, Edith Head, Orry-Kelly, and Travis Banton influenced fashions on the street. Film and cosmetics were even more intimately connected. Indeed, the theatrical term ‘make-up’ became synonymous with cosmetics (Stutesman 2016: 37). As with clothes, cinema stars promoted make-up; in addition, make-up that was developed specifically for film shaped fashions in cosmetics. In the early days of cinema, studios realised that they needed to refine theatrical make-up procedures. Greasepaint ensured that faces seen by the camera under studio lights were visible, were not distorted, and were consistent over the production process. By 1910, make-up became even more important with the increasing use of close-ups. The tight framing of one individual face, isolated from background and other actors was crucial in the creation of ‘stars’, recurring players who audiences could both identify, and, more importantly, identify with. The filmed face required extensive make-up as Alicia Annas shows (1987). Max Factor was a key figure in the development of cinematic make-up and in its diffusion. From 1910 Factor developed make-up specifically for black-and-white cinema. Factor also marketed make-up to the public for cosmetic use, thereby merging the worlds of the screen and the everyday. In 1938, with the coming of Technicolor film, Factor developed a panchromatic foundation, ‘Pan-Cake’, specifically for the new production requirements (Berry 2000: 128). Foundation powder was the major item in women’s beauty routine, used to achieve an even, soft complexion, and to heighten colour. Max Factor’s Pan-Cake became the most popular beauty product of the period, covering the skin with a transparent matte coating that allowed women to smooth and shape their complexions in new ways. Indeed, I argue that women were able to develop a photogenic face, influenced by Hollywood, shaped by make-up, and modelled on the smooth retouched colour rotogravure.

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Figure 12.10 Cover, Picturegoer. Three-colour rotogravure with image from a photograph. (Source: Picturegoer 1 July 1939)

The front covers of Picturegoer consisted, almost invariably, of a close-up of an actress. In some cases, such as in the April 1931 cover (Figure 12.1), these were paintings, but photographs became the norm. Picturegoer’s cover of 1 July 1939 is a threecolour photogravure from a photograph of Joan Bennett (Figure 12.10). It is interesting to contrast this with her sister Constance Bennett’s rather flat halftone portrait from 1923 (Figure 12.2). The later image is a closely cropped shot of Bennett’s head and one shoulder outlined against a black background with dramatic lighting flooding in from the right. There is far more contrast in the photogravure of Joan Bennett than in the halftone: the image seems suffused with light. The face is isolated even more by the shallow depth of field, a trope of Hollywood portraiture, this keeps Joan Bennett’s face in focus while blurring the hair on the side of her head. Tints of dark orange ink are used in combination with black and green to define her skin tones and hair. They emphasise her dramatically rouged lips and heightened cheeks. Light illuminates individual strands of hair and heavily tweezered eyebrows, picking out mascaraed eyelashes and casting shadows from those lashes. The retouched photogravure allows the face to be luminous, smooth, and flawless, the edges of the lips precise, the cheeks subtly gradated, diffused, and glowing, wrinkle and blemish free. This reprographic

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perfection was achieved by the labour of accomplished still photographers employed by movie studios, highly trained gravure technicians, retouchers, and printers. The make-up styles modelled by stars like Bennett were copied widely. Although cosmetics advertisements in the magazines suggested that these products themselves provided an easy means of achieving cinematic perfection, readers would have been well aware that these precise transformations could only be achieved by knowledgeable and skilled women, based on the close study of films and fan magazines. Picturegoer helped women master the complexities of lipstick and mascara application, the use of nail colour, and the selection of modern hair styles through its myriad images, its beauty and fashion articles, and through its advertising which began to concentrate almost entirely on beauty products. With Picturegoer’s switch to weekly publication, the advertisements for beverages and household cleaning products faded, and the focus became more narrowly on skin care, cosmetics, and hair: products such vanishing cream, eau de cologne, hair colouring, hair bleach, face cleansing pads, hair remover, curling lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, nail polish, and lipstick dominated. A number of the advertisements linked their product explicitly to film; a half-page advertisement for Quickies Cleansing Pads boasts: ‘They make you feel like a million film-stars, too.’ It is telling that the flawless face that Quickies promises is groomed for photographic reproduction; the advertisement ends with the question: ‘Where’s the press photographer?’ (Picturegoer 2 Sep 1939: 32).

Conclusion Despite the tone of these advertisements, woman readers of Picturegoer were far from passive consumers of these messages, naïvely reproducing on their bodies the appearance of glamorous stars. Although the expansion of choice in fashion and grooming products was certainly a means of boosting consumption, evidenced by the increased focus on grooming and make-up in Picturegoer, Berry argues that this democratic beauty offered a wider range of models to women across social classes (2000). Picturegoer’s pioneering use of detailed, heavily retouched rotogravure images, in conjunction with regular cinema attendance, enabled readers to develop a pleasurable and powerful visual expertise. These intermedial practices allowed women to study, discuss, and reproduce hairstyles, expressions, make-up, fashions, and gestures in new ways. The writer and film critic James Agate noted in his diary for 1935, as he watched couples dancing at the Empire Ballroom in Blackpool, Lancashire: ‘Influence of cinema apparent, since every girl is a Garbo, Shearer, Loretta Young, but oddly enough, no examples of Gracie Fields’ (1946: 100). By the 1930s there was no longer one fixed ideal of beauty, as there had been for women in the nineteenth century; now women could explore a range of conceivable options, embodied in a variety of stars. Faces and bodies could change, they were now regarded as malleable through the make-up, fashions, and exercise routines depicted in fan magazines. It is telling that Fields, a popular Lancashire singer and actress, was not the model the women in Blackpool copied; rather, they were drawn to the more transformative Hollywood actresses. Appearance no longer needed to be natural or authentic, rooted in class and locale. The retouched rotogravure images in the Picturegoer were evidence that the body was constructed. They served to inspire women who were open to the dexterous modification of their own appearance to produce a photogenic face.

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Works Cited Agate, James. 1946. A Shorter Ego. London: Readers Union. Annas, Alicia. 1987. ‘The Photogenic Formula: Hairstyles and Makeup in Historical Films.’ Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film. Ed. Edward Maeder. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 52–6. Berry, Sarah. 2000. ‘Hollywood Exoticism: Cosmetics and Color in the 1930s.’ Hollywood Goes Shopping. Ed. David Dresser and Garth Jowett. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 108–38. Bingham, Adrian. 2004. Gender, Modernity and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bruzzi, Stella, 1997. Undressing Cinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies. London and New York: Routledge. Carter, Erica. 2007. ‘Béla Balázs, Visible Man, or the Culture of Film (1924).’ Trans. Rodney Livingstone. Screen 48.1: 91–108. Cox, Howard. 2014. Revolutions from Grub Street: A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Drucker, Johanna. 2008. ‘What is Graphic about Graphic Novels?’ English Language Notes 46.2: 39–56. El Lissitzky. 1923. ‘Topographie der Typographie.’ Merz 4: 47. Gunning, Tom. 2015. ‘Applying Color: Creating Fantasy of Cinema. Fantasia Of Colour In Early Cinema. Ed. Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, Jonathon Rosen, Joshua Yumibe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 17–28. History of Sun Engraving and Sun Printers. (last accessed 1 Feb 2016). Low, Rachael. 1997. The History of the British Film. Volume 4: 1918–1929. Oxford and New York: Routledge. Mayer, J. P. 1946. Sociology of Film: Studies and Documents. London: Faber & Faber. —. 1948. British Cinemas and Their Audiences: Sociological Studies. London: D. Dobson. Minney, R. J. 1954. Viscount Southwood. London: Odhams Press. Odham, W. J. B. 1953. The Business and I. London: Martin Secker. Reed, David. 1997. The Popular Magazine in Britain and the United States, 1880–1960. London: British Library. Richards, Jeffrey. 1984. The Age of the Dream Palace: Cinema and Society in Britain, 1930–1939. London: Routlege and Kegan Paul. Shail, Andrew. 2008. ‘The Motion Picture Story Magazine and the Origins of Popular British Film Culture.’ Film History 20.2: 181–97. Stead, Lisa Rose. 2011. ‘“So oft to the movies they’ve been”: British fan writing and female audiences in the silent cinema.’ Transformative Works and Cultures no. 6. < http://journal. transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/224/210> (last accessed 1 February 2016). Studlar, Gaylyn. 1996. ‘The Perils of Pleasure: Fan Magazines Discourse as Women’s Commodified Culture in the 1920s.’ Silent Film. Ed. Richard Abel. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 263–98. Stutesman, Drake. 2016. ‘The Silent Screen, 1895–1927.’ Costume, Makeup, and Hair. Adrienne L. McLean, Drake Stutesman, Mary Desjardins, Prudence Black, Karen de Perthuis. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 21–46. Williams, Neville. 1957. Powder and Paint: A History of the Englishwoman’s Toilet, Elizabeth I–Elizabeth II. London: Longmans, Green.

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Reimagining Homes, Housewives, and Domesticity: Introduction Fiona Hackney

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home of one’s own, one of the most compelling dreams of the period, was becoming a reality for increasing numbers of people in the interwar years. The interwar generation, social historian John Burnett observed, ‘was perhaps the most family-oriented and home-centred one in history’ (1978: 265). Over four million new houses, an unprecedented expansion in the state and private sectors, coupled with cheap mortgages, easy credit, and the mass manufacture of household consumer goods, underpinned the domestic focus of magazines aimed at women across a wide range of sectors including the commercial, political, religious, and literary magazines, and women’s pages in newspapers examined here. The essays in Part III explore how a complex and often contradictory discourse of modern housewifery was shaped for readers in these publications, and how the housewife, home, and housewifery were reimagined in a multiplicity of ways – in advertising, editorials, and fiction – as a key factor in the modernisation of public and private life. Home was at the forefront of government thinking in 1918 when fears about social unrest impelled Lloyd George’s coalition government to promise radical change with its ‘Homes fit for Heroes’ state subsidised housing scheme (Swenarton 1981). Editors and advertisers were alert to the symbolic importance of home to the nation state and attempts to reimagine the nation in terms of the concerns, values, qualities, and priorities that shaped the home. The ‘turn to the public’ in modern domestic discourse responded to shifts in social and political life related to housing reform, health, and hygiene. Countering the belief that home signified a straightforward retreat from society and politics at this time, Alice Wood’s chapter in this part examines the discourse of homemaker citizenship as it developed in two domestic monthlies, Good Housekeeping and Modern Home. The first offered an outward looking, and by the later 1930s, distinctly internationalist perspective, reporting on developments in Europe and encouraging readers to be politically active citizens outside the home while, with its images of idyllic rural cottages, the latter focused on a nostalgic, insular, English nationalism. Lisa Sheppard’s analysis of the Welsh language publication Y Gymraes (‘The Welshwoman’), reveals how the domestic woman, in the context of contemporary debates about Welsh literature and culture, could be read as a potentially subversive figuring of Welsh womanhood. Adrian Bingham argues that the interwar newspaper women’s page gave female readers and writers levels of public visibility and reach far beyond that which could be achieved in the lower circulation women’s press. A gradual decline in empire trade coupled with the industrial and economic crises of the later 1920s and early 1930s, and growing industrial competition from America meant that the consuming household took on heightened significance as a

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central market for goods. Although the middle classes were the main purchasers of the new domestic labour-saving appliances such as vacuum cleaners, the domestic revolution was not restricted to the moneyed middle classes. The increased number of magazines aimed at women readers (around fifty in the commercial sector alone) depended on an unprecedented growth in home ownership, supported by low prices, cheap mortgages, and hire purchase, in addition to well over a million local authority constructed houses for rent (Burnett 1978: 249, 253). The dispersal of hundreds of thousands of people from crowded inner-city areas to mass suburbs brought about a minor revolution in standards of working-class housing and life (Oliver et al. 1981). The consuming power of the working-class woman had never been so strong and the families of small clerks, tradesmen, artisans, and better-off semi-skilled workers with average-sized families, and safe jobs, began to enjoy a modest surplus of income with which to purchase improved housing, more interesting food, small luxuries, and entertainment, the very goods that filled the advertising pages of commercial women’s magazines. Unlike high-end periodicals such as Vogue, which were determinedly elitist, magazines with a domestic remit were of necessity more inclusive. Domestic discourse became a means of connecting with, understanding, and appealing to wider readerships. Fiona Hackney, writing about the raft of domestic consumer magazines launched in the period to offer an ‘“intimate personal service” with a secondary emphasis on entertainment’ (White 1970: 96), points to a new readership among younger lower-middle-class and upper-working-class women, and argues that magazine producers were under pressure to understand their needs and represent their views. Karen Hunt’s chapter on ‘Labour Woman and the Housewife’, a column that appeared in Labour Woman from 1920, meanwhile, shows how domestic discourse was equally important for those in the labour movement wishing to connect with women for whom housework meant drudgery, and the daily difficulties of survival on limited incomes. Demonstrating how the language and concerns of housewifery enabled new kinds of conversations between Labour activists and women in the home, she reminds us that ‘the housewife’ was not a settled identity in the period but rather was shaped by experiences of place, generation, and social class. A discourse of expert advice and specialist writing about the home and domestic matters underpinned the growth of magazines written by women who, increasingly, were qualified in a specific field or had undertaken professional journalistic training. Consumer experts reinforced the rhetoric of efficiency central to the new housekeeping, as Wood and Bingham demonstrate. The quality of this advice, moreover, was both intended to instil trust in readers and attract advertising (Hackney). Chapters by Green, Sheppard, and Hunt show how the role of expert extended to feminist, literary, and political figures. Barbara Green’s analysis of the feminist and suffragist Evelyn Sharp’s contributions to the Manchester Guardian women’s page, shows how her subtle and sometimes controversial features provoked new ways of thinking about the home, children, and domestic life. Other magazines were written by experts for experts. Katherine Holden’s chapter on the correspondence pages in childcare magazines focuses on publications aimed at trained professionals: nurses and nannies, as well as parents. At the same time that childcare became a desirable profession for young women trained in the latest theories, the falling birth rate and smaller families meant that middle-class mothers were more involved in their children’s upbringing,

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resulting in a sharing process that often produced tensions. Holden argues that correspondence pages provided a safe space in which conflicts could be aired and sometimes resolved and, as such, they were beneficial both to parents and the women who undertook this emotionally charged and demanding form of domestic work. One thing all the writers in this section share is a desire to question and complicate assumptions about interwar domestic writing as a retreat into domestic life, ‘back to home and duty’ (Beddoe 1989). In doing so they foreground the varied ways in which domestic discourse was used for alternative ends: to promote Welsh nationalism, represent advanced perspectives, or further political agency and social reform, for instance. Sheppard argues that a discourse of ambivalent domesticity operated in Y Gymraes, while Green, drawing on the work of a number of print scholars, discusses the Manchester Guardian women’s page as a hybrid and heterogeneous print cultural form. Hackney links hybridity to the composite material form of magazines defined by competing discourses of advertising, editorial features, and fiction, as well as a visual culture of design, that included photogravure imagery in colour and black and white. Bingham, observing that in reality the majority of goods advertised in women’s pages would have been beyond the means of most readers, refers to historian Sally Alexander’s assessment of advertising as a site of fantasy and desire as much as an invitation to consume (1995). Interwar domestic magazines, these chapters argue, offered readers a space in which to imagine their lives differently. As such, they afford scholars of print culture unique insights into the many and varied dreams of domesticity that were shaped so powerfully in the period.

Works Cited Alexander, Sally. 1995. Becoming a Woman and Other Essays in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Feminist History. London: Virago. Beddoe, Deirdre. 1989. Back to Home and Duty: Women Between the Wars 1918–1939. London: Pandora. Burnett, John. 1978. A Social History of Housing 1815–1970. London and New York: Methuen. Oliver, Paul, Ian Davis, and Ian Bentley. 1981. Dunroamin: The Suburban Semi and its Enemies. London: Barrie & Jenkins. Swenarton, Mark. 1981. Homes Fit for Heroes: The Politics & Architecture of Early State Housing in Britain. London: Heinemann. White, Cynthia. 1970. Women’s Magazines, 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph.

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13 Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in GOOD HOUSEKEEPING and MODERN HOME Alice Wood

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espite the multitude of public roles and spaces opening up to women in the early twentieth century, the home remained a central concern for women’s magazines of the interwar era. The marked decline in working-class women entering domestic service produced a new generation of middle-class women doing their own housework. A new range of domestic periodicals emerged to offer these ‘middle ranks’ what Cynthia L. White terms an ‘intimate personal service’ with expert guidance on the best methods and products for feeding, cleaning, and styling a household (1970: 96). Service magazines not only supplied domestic and consumer advice, but imagined new identities for women as wives, mothers, daughters, homemakers, and shoppers. Driven by the rise of consumer capitalism, as Judy Giles has identified, the early twentieth century saw ‘[t]he rhetoric of scientific management and industrial rationalisation . . . quickly adapted to discussing women’s work within the home and nowhere more vigorously than in the proliferating women’s magazines of the period’ (2004: 117). Housekeeping was recast as skilled and professional work and housewives as adept, rational planners providing a vital service to their families and the nation. This emphasis on the homemaker’s citizenship in domestic magazines of the interwar period counters the belief that the home signified a straightforward retreat from society and politics at this time. This chapter investigates how the pervasive image of the homemaker citizen was imagined differently by different sections of the interwar domestic magazine market through analysis of two monthly periodicals. The first, Good Housekeeping (UK), was launched by American publisher William Randolph Hearst’s National Magazine Company in 1922 and set the standard for this new genre of commercial service magazine in Britain. The second, Modern Home, was a home-grown domestic monthly from British publisher George Newnes Ltd, issued from 1928 until its amalgamation with Newnes’s Modern Woman in 1940. Good Housekeeping was priced at 1s and addressed a financially comfortable middle-class reader. Sold at 6d, Modern Home targeted a lower-middle-class reader with considerably less disposable income. Both magazines emphatically framed women as citizens, but differed in their conceptions of the nature and extent of women’s citizenship. While Modern Home regarded managing a household as women’s particular contribution to society, Good Housekeeping insisted on women’s citizenship inside and outside the home. Comparison between the two magazines exposes Good Housekeeping’s strikingly internationalist

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politics in the later interwar period. Modern Home maintained a patriotic focus on Englishness in its housing features throughout the 1930s, while the British edition of Good Housekeeping increasingly urged its homemaking readers to consider their values, responsibilities, and potential power as citizens in international rather than national terms. In print since May 1885, the American edition of Good Housekeeping was purchased by Hearst in 1911, who transformed it into ‘a large flat quality slick magazine’ combining home and fashion with fiction by well-known authors (Ashley 2006: 253). The British edition, launched in March 1922, continued this formula. An editorial in its first issue addressed the ‘house-proud woman in these days of servant shortage’ and pledged to ‘lessen her own burdens’ with domestic advice, while also supplying ‘good fiction’ by ‘our greatest and best-known novelists’ and features on ‘art, music, and the drama, and the social side of life’ (Mar 1922: 11). Once established each monthly issue contained between 200 and 250 pages, with short stories and serialised fiction by successful writers such as E. M. Delafield, John Galsworthy, Stella Gibbons, and W. Somerset Maugham. In addition, Good Housekeeping printed articles by prominent women journalists, activists, and politicians, including Violet Bonham-Carter, Virginia Woolf, Winifred Holtby, and Ellen Wilkinson, on subjects such as divorce reform, social mobility, shopping, and the workings of Parliament. These features were accompanied by fashion pages and specialist articles on different housekeeping topics, supported by product reviews, sample budgets, and meal plans. Advertisements for domestic appliances, cleaning materials, branded food items, clothing, and health and beauty products dominated the latter half of each issue, with editorial and feature articles split between the front and back of the magazine to draw the reader into this catalogue of commercial content. Good Housekeeping anticipated more diverse interests in its middle-class homemaking readership than a twenty-first-century reader might expect. This exploration reveals a sustained undercurrent of feminist politics promoting women’s entry into the professions and the political sphere, their rights as wives, workers, and citizens, and an increasingly prominent pacifist-internationalist outlook. Feminism existed alongside conservatism, however, and the magazine never challenged the perception of housework as women’s work. Indeed, early Good Housekeeping valued domestic labour as the very source and evidence of women’s ability to equal men in their capacity for rational thought, efficient organisation, and economic sense. As Caitríona Beaumont has traced, the language of citizenship was widely used by mainstream women’s organisations in this period to debate women’s social role without rejecting the identity of homemaker (2013). Rather than a place of retreat, the home was imagined as a crucial site of women’s engagement with and contribution to public life. Modern Home was launched by Newnes in October 1928 to expand the British publisher’s range of women’s periodicals and sold at half the price of Good Housekeeping. The magazine placed great emphasis on its usefulness to the lower-middle-class housewife and the first issue was marketed as ‘The Magazine of New Ideas’ with an opening editorial promising ‘help . . . with both personal and practical problems’ (Oct 1928: 9). Modern Home was slimmer than Good Housekeeping with around 120 pages per issue and printed on poorer quality paper, though it retained colour covers and benefited from monthly photogravure and colour supplements. Its advertisements addressed women interested in the health, appearance, and well-being of themselves, their family, and their

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home. Each issue usually contained a brief opening editorial followed by three or four items of fiction, a selection of special features including photo-spreads on housing or decoration, reader competitions, and a broad array of domestic and consumer content, such as recipes, furnishing ideas, housekeeping advice, shopping columns, a substantial craft section, and pages answering readers’ questions with matter-of-fact guidance for the new wife or mother. Modern Home focused on a younger audience of married, soonto-be married and single working women in the process of setting up their first home and sought to cultivate an intimate relationship with its readers. Regular features such as ‘Ask Modern Home About It!’ invited readers to seek, share, and exchange household tips, while conversational editorials like ‘Home Gossip’ created the impression of dialogue between the magazine and its audience.1 In response to the interwar boom in house building and the increasing availability of cheap mortgages, Modern Home included numerous housing and furnishing plans encouraging its lower-middle-class readers to envisage themselves as homeowners with frequent competitions to ‘Win The Home of Your Dreams’ (Jan 1929: 25). Advertisements in the magazine’s back pages featured new homes in suburban developments, while its editorial photo-features paradoxically showcased period properties, routinely situated in rural areas and idealised through captions evoking nostalgic conceptions of pre-industrial Old England. For Modern Home, the domestic sphere was inherently tied to insular notions of Englishness. The magazine’s patriotic vein positioned women with a vital social role as nurturers of the nation. Both Good Housekeeping and Modern Home were aspirational publications, but the magazines differed in the direction of their aspirations and interests. Each situated women in the domestic sphere, but while Good Housekeeping looked out from the home, Modern Home turned its gaze inwards, finding the nation in the home. These periodicals were informed by divergent interwar debates about women as homemakers and citizens, which were frequently contradictory. The contemporary framing of housewives as active in their citizenship through efficient home management simultaneously empowered and disempowered women, for example, by suggesting they occupied a position of power in society while trapping them within the home. In the same period, as Lucy Delap notes, feminist activists adopted the metaphor of government as national housekeeping to conversely ‘lay claim to a public space in which women might be as competent and “at home” as men’ and to assert women’s aptitude for politics (2007: 147). ‘[E]ven if a new commercial culture of “home-making” was conservative in assuming this to be a female sphere’, as Alison Light observes, ‘it nevertheless put woman and the home, and a whole panoply of connected issues, at the centre of national life’ (1991: 10). The first section of this chapter explores the complex and frequently inconsistent gender politics involved in the portrayal of women as professional homemaker citizens in interwar Good Housekeeping and Modern Home. The second turns to examine the magazines’ differing conceptions of nationhood. In her influential study of ‘conservative modernity’, Light argued that the 1920s and 1930s ‘saw a move away from formerly heroic and officially masculine public rhetorics of national destiny and from a dynamic and missionary view of the Victorian and Edwardian middle classes in “Great Britain” to an Englishness at once less imperial and more inwardlooking, more domestic and more private – and, in terms of pre-war standards, more “feminine”’ (1991: 8–9). Modern Home’s inward-looking English nationalism, as my analysis will demonstrate, neatly accords with this narrative. Good Housekeeping, in

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contrast, disrupts it. Representations of Englishness are to be found in Good Housekeeping, but the magazine’s politics were more acutely influenced in the later interwar period by the rise of internationalism. Between the wars, as Patricia Clavin describes, internationalism emerged as a coherent political stance through ‘the aspiration for world peace’ and ‘in the notion of world citizenship inscribed in institutions like the League of Nations’ (2011: 5–6). Martin Pugh has identified the wide range of women’s organisations in Britain that supported an internationalist position during the interwar period, from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – a predominantly middle-class organisation founded in 1915 – to the Women’s Co-operative Guild which, with its large working-class membership, campaigned vociferously for peace and disarmament in the 1920s and 1930s (1992: 103–7). Without aligning itself with any one such organisation, Good Housekeeping responded to this prominent pacifist-internationalist movement in interwar women’s politics with an increasingly internationalist outlook, and encouraged its readers to view themselves as citizens of the world rather than the nation.

Professional Housekeeping and Homemaker Citizens Interwar service magazines were influenced by and contributed to the ideology of the industrialised home. From its first issue, Good Housekeeping sought to professionalise domestic labour. Housework was elevated to ‘Home Management’ and ‘conducted’ by Mary Penfold, holder of a ‘First-Class Diploma’ from the ‘National Training School of Cookery and Domestic Subjects’ (Mar 1922: 56). Throughout the interwar period the magazine used scientific language and the qualifications of its contributors to construct ‘Housecraft and Household Engineering’ as a skilled field of labour.2 The foundation of the Good Housekeeping Institute in 1924 created a body of expert advisors to school readers in the latest tried-and-tested housekeeping products. Looking back in 1936, the Institute’s Director, D. D. Cottington Taylor proudly recalled that before Good Housekeeping ‘articles dealing with household matters had been written by journalists and never before had the work been entrusted to a group of people who had taken a thorough training and made a specialised study of Domestic Science (a term which includes Cookery, Housecraft, Interior Decoration, the Chemistry of Foods and Cooking Processes)’ (Sep 1936: 46). In 1928 Modern Home similarly depicted housekeeping as a vocation requiring specialist knowledge. Its first issue reassured readers that the magazine was ‘equipped’ to train the housewife and launched a ‘Help with Your Housekeeping’ series specifically ‘for the Newly-Married Girl’ (Oct 1928: 9). Like Good Housekeeping, Modern Home presented housework as a thoroughly modern enterprise. In ‘Are you Spring Cleaning?’ Helen Davidson offered detailed guidance on ‘modern aids’ and ‘improved ways’ to accomplish the task (Mar 1929: 38). Following the marketing strategies of manufacturers of housekeeping goods, on whom interwar service magazines relied for advertising revenue, Good Housekeeping and Modern Home presented housekeeping as important work requiring the reader to keep up to date with the latest products and technologies. Both magazines positioned the modern housewife as a skilled worker and the home as her place of her employment. The rhetoric of efficiency was pervasive in interwar women’s magazines. A colour supplement from Modern Home depicted an ‘attractive modern kitchen, fitted with laboursaving appliances’ as ‘an ideal workshop for the efficient home-maker’ (Feb 1929: 42).

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Figure 13.1 P. L. Garbutt, ‘Washing Day, 1934 Style’. Courtesy of De Montfort University Archive. (Source: Good Housekeeping UK July 1934: 42–3) Efficiency was a recurrent and prized motif in Good Housekeeping’s numerous features on domestic appliances, too, as indicated by P. L. Garbutt’s ‘Washing Day, 1934 Style’, a review of ‘modern home laundry equipment’ that has been ‘tested and found efficient’ to help the housewife say ‘good-bye to drudgery’ (July 1934: 42–3) (Figure 13.1). Housewives in this period were responsible for planning and preparing meals, making and purchasing clothes, the weekly laundry, cleaning, furnishing and often decorating the home, the care of any children, budgeting, and shopping for the household. Readers of Good Housekeeping might be undertaking these tasks alone or, if they could afford it, with the aid of one or two servants. Modern Home did not expect its lower-middle-class readers to have any paid help, though the occasional feature – such as a query from Miss Clark of North Shields about how to make her kitchen comfortable ‘as it serves also for the maid’s sitting-room’ (May 1930: 53) – indicates that some of the magazine’s upwardly mobile readers aspired to, and sometimes employed, a housemaid. Crucially, service magazines addressed all housewives as household managers, regardless of whether they had domestic staff under their direction or did all their own housework. The image of the industrious homemaker managing essential work with efficiency and skill from her domestic workshop encouraged the perception of housewives as competent and rational citizens making a vital contribution to society. From one angle, this image seems progressive. It promotes a view of women as intelligent, capable, and active rather than passive in their citizenship. Yet, the construction of women as homemaker citizens could also be restrictive. It justified women’s unpaid domestic labour and, by identifying their particular social role as housekeeping and

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motherhood, encouraged women to accept their subjugation within the patriarchal home. These implications had vastly different meanings for different readers depending on their wealth and class. As Carol Dyhouse has explored, while middle-class feminists consistently fought for women’s right to work outside the home during the interwar period, ‘their working-class counterparts were bent rather on securing protection from an unending burden of toil both at home and in the workplace’ (1989: 83). For Modern Home’s less financially secure lower-middle-class readers, the role of full-time housewife citizen represented freedom from ‘the dual burden of housekeeping and paid labour’ (Dyhouse 1989: 137). Good Housekeeping’s solidly middle-class readers, in contrast, were frequently urged to extend their citizenship through education, work, or political engagement in addition to managing a home efficiently. ‘Variant models of femininity and accompanying debates about women’s behaviour appeared in magazines throughout the 1920s and ’30s’, as Fiona Hackney has valuably traced (2008: 119). Early Good Housekeeping prided itself on tackling the ‘burning questions of the day’ by commissioning articles on controversial topics such as contemporary femininity (Mar 1922: 11). A feature drawn from the first issue indicates some of the vexed debates surrounding gender relations in the early interwar period that infused and sustained the contradictory ideal of the homemaker citizen. In ‘Mistaken Both Ways: A Comment on What is Called “Sex Warfare’“, the popular novelist Marie Corelli presents a curious mixture of progressive and reactionary opinions on women’s changing roles. On one hand, Corelli condemns patriarchy and argues that men ‘have always made their own laws; and . . . by those laws have enforced the subjugation and moral degradation of women’ (Mar 1922: 14). She celebrates signs of increasing gender equality, such as the partial extension of the vote to women in 1918 and the admission of women into universities, and presents as reasonable women’s demand for degrees, ‘which (if they have the ability to win) they deserve’ (Mar 1922: 15). On the other hand, Corelli illustrates her complicity in patriarchal ideology by condemning women for the previous errors of male governments through their failure, as the nation’s mothers and homemakers, to nurture men into better versions of themselves. She cites the Great War as evidence that ‘man is . . . far from being “civilised’“, but contends that ‘in this women are to blame’ for ‘[t]hey should have civilised him long ago’ (14). Despite championing equality, Corelli retains an essentialist view of gender in regarding women, as society’s carers, as biologically more inclined to oppose aggression, violence, and war and thus with a responsibility to civilise men. ‘[T]he fact remains’, she asserts, ‘that a nation is born, bred, and trained into greatness or littleness by its women’ (14). The statement of her belief as ‘fact’ gestures towards its prevalence in the interwar period. Identifying women at the centre of society through their domestic role frames them in a position of significance and power, while surreptitiously enforcing their subjugation in a manner that here enables Corelli to blame women – who have been historically disenfranchised, disempowered, and marginalised within society – for the actions of those with real power at its centre. Corelli situates women, in their collective role as homemakers and nurturers, as accountable for the nation’s actions – even more so than the male governments she criticises who have made its laws. Corelli voices transitional attitudes of this period and her article is purposefully provocative as were many topical features in interwar women’s magazines, which aimed to engage and accommodate divergent opinions in order to cultivate broad readerships. She welcomes ‘freedom and

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independence of thought and action’ for women, but maintains that a woman’s chief value is achieved through her nurturing of others and cherishes the patriarchal ideals of feminine modesty, passivity, and grace (14). ‘When we observe the immodest dress, deportment, and general behaviour of the smoking, drinking, slangy women of our time’, Corelli notes despairingly, ‘we can but wonder what the next generation will be!’ (14) This article demonstrates some of the incongruities implicit in the interwar positioning of women as homemaker citizens and is typical of the conflicting gender politics found in domestic magazines of the era. It should be noted that while both Good Housekeeping and Modern Home positioned women’s domestic identities as skilled and significant, neither magazine presented housekeeping as the only social role available to women or presumed that all their readers were full-time homemakers. Modern Home printed articles directed to women employed outside the home, for example, including a furnishing feature from March 1929 that begs the reader to ‘Walk in and see a Girl’s – Bachelor Flat’. ‘In many districts blocks of flats are being erected specifically to meet the needs of the woman worker’, the author notes, and describes ‘a particularly attractive [flat] in a healthy London suburb’ with careful discussion of how it can be furnished to comfortably accommodate a single working woman (Mar 1929: 38). Another Modern Home furnishing feature details the transformation of an attic into a flat for ‘two business girls who badly wanted a home that really felt like a home’ (Aug 1929: 14). By addressing unmarried women as ‘business girls’, the magazine validated their identity as skilled workers. However, Modern Home also suggested that work alone was unfulfilling for women by perpetuating the view that marriage and motherhood were the business girl’s ultimate goal. Good Housekeeping was not immune to this view, but less tolerant of it. The magazine ran a series of articles on careers throughout the 1920s, beginning in March 1922 with Helena Normanton’s ‘The Law as a Profession for Women’ and surveying a range of occupations including engineering (July1922), hairdressing (Aug 1923), and advertising (Apr 1928). The framing of each area of work as a profession emphasised the potential value of women workers within these fields. Unlike Modern Home, whose less securely middle-class audience might be more inclined to aspire to freedom from work through marriage as a sign of higher social status, Good Housekeeping encouraged its solidly middle-class readers to make themselves useful to society through utilising their capacity for learning and professional employment. The magazine printed articles from prominent women writers and feminist activists that unsettled or outright rejected the view of employment as a temporary or secondary social role for women. In October 1922 Rebecca West responded to A. S. M. Hutchinson’s novel This Freedom, a source of press controversy due to its restrictive view of gender roles, with a debate titled: ‘Wives, Mothers, and Homes: Can a Married Woman Have a Career Outside her Home?’ Four years later Mrs W. L. Courtney argued that the teaching profession requires ‘quite a different view of marriage in relation to employment’ (Oct 1926: 112). Beatrice Kean Seymour declared ‘Modern Girls WANT to work’ in the early 1930s (Sep 1933: 10–11). Yet, in keeping with its aim to foster a forum for debate and attract readers with different viewpoints, Good Housekeeping was far from unified in this outlook. While its feature articles frequently argued for women’s employment rights, its domestic content and fiction often undermined their importance. The closing scene of a sentimental love story by Dorothy Sanburn Phillips, for example, concludes

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with the heroine giving up the job she enjoys of ‘her own free will’ for the ‘better’ job of marriage and looking after a home (Sep 1926: 157). Thus while neither Good Housekeeping nor Modern Home restricted women’s citizenship to the domestic sphere, both magazines presented homemaking as women’s particular domain and pledged to support women’s self-improvement through extending their knowledge and aptitude as homemakers. The chief beneficiaries of this raising of housekeeping standards, as Giles observed, were neither women nor the nation but makers of domestic appliances and editors of domestic magazines eager to generate and sustain a market for these commodities (2004: 117). The financial stability of Good Housekeeping and Modern Home, along with other service magazines of the period, depended on fuelling their readers’ interest in domestic advice and selling advertising space to manufacturers and retailers of domestic products. Consequently, the division between editorial and commercial content in both magazines was often blurred. Good Housekeeping promised to inform the reader about ‘every new invention that is practical and economical’ and printed editorial footers reassuring readers that ‘Advertised Goods are Good Goods’ (Mar 1922: 11). Modern Home offered consumer advice ‘to help you save money, time and labour’ in editorial columns surrounded by advertisements for the products recommended (Apr 1932: 69). Both magazines framed shopping as a vital part of the interwar housewife’s role and another way in which she might exercise her citizenship. In her study of modern consumer culture, Rachel Bowlby identifies the late twentieth-century transformation of the shopper from the 1960s vision of a ‘dim and dazed . . . childlike housewife passively picking up brightly coloured things’ to the contemporary notion of the consumer as the ‘model of modern individuality’, a ‘rational planner who knows what she wants and competently makes her selection’ (2000: 5–7). Interwar service magazines interestingly anticipated this later model of the rational shopper through their framing of women as homemaker citizens. Shopping pages in Modern Home, such as ‘Let Us Help You Shop Wisely’, emphasised the reader’s capacity to make reasoned and informed consumer choices (Mar 1932: 69–70). In the early 1930s, in the context of global recession and its aftermath, this rhetoric increased as housewives were urged to boost the nation’s economy by choosing British products. ‘Every time you go shopping, make up your mind before you leave home that whatever you buy must be British’, Modern Home instructed it readers: Talk to the shopkeeper, look at the labels, really demand British . . . [and] just remember that by taking this little extra trouble . . . you are personally helping to secure jobs for British workers. (italics in original; Jan 1932: 62) This editorial reflects a wider Buy British campaign by the government’s Empire Marketing Board (EMB), established in May 1926 and active until September 1933. The EMB regularly advertised in women’s magazines with a domestic focus, and an advertisement declaring ‘British is the Best Policy’ in Modern Home is characteristic (Feb 1932: 2).3 The magazine’s shopping column began to make ‘a special point of bringing British goods to the housewife’s notice’ and encouraged her to ‘furnish [her] house, stock the larder, clothe the family, and select every item on [her] weekly shopping list’ from products grown or produced in Britain or its colonies (Jan 1932: 62). This extension of domestic nationalism to the colonies also reflected the sale of interwar British women’s magazines around

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the empire, with Good Housekeeping posted free to any address in the UK or abroad for subscribers. ‘I am sure that many other women situated as I am, somewhere out in the “blue” in various parts of the world, are also grateful for the help your magazine gives them’, asserted one reader from Northern Rhodesia in a letter to Good Housekeeping (Sep 1924: 189). Magazines bought and read in Britain and its colonies had good reason to foster collective British identity. One editorial presented Good Housekeeping as ‘The Buying Directory of the British Family’ (Jan 1937: 1). The female shopper’s potential influence on and duty to support the British economy was also evident in an advertisement in Good Housekeeping reminding readers that ‘British Cars are Best’ and highlighting that the ‘British motor industry is a national asset of the greatest importance to employment of our own workpeople’ (May 1938: 127, bold in original). Far from a dim and dazed housewife, the interwar consumer was constructed as a savvy shopper whose actions in the marketplace affected not only her family but the nation.

Nationalism and Internationalism ‘The usual view of the middle class in the inter-war period is that it was simply politically and socially conservative—isolationist, inward-looking’, Light notes in Forever England, and the ‘accent on home-ownership and house-building, on domestic consumerism and on the small family’, made visible by service magazines, ‘would seem to reinforce this picture’ (1991: 9). For Light, nevertheless, this period’s ‘redefinition of Englishness’ as insular, intimate, and domestic should be understood in terms of modernity as well as conservatism as a reaction against international conflict, a consequence of diminishing imperial power and a radical realignment of nationhood to admit women (1991: 8). Through their framing of women as homemaker citizens, interwar Good Housekeeping and Modern Home support Light’s perception of a redefinition of national identity. Both magazines explored women’s experience of nationhood, but differed in their construction of women’s position and potential contribution to the nation. While Modern Home located women’s citizenship firmly within the home, Good Housekeeping frequently politicised the figure of the homemaker citizen by encouraging her engagement in British public life and awareness of national and global political contexts. Moving into the 1930s, the two magazines reflected and contributed to competing contemporary discourses. Modern Home’s sentimental depictions of English heritage, landscape, and ‘that finest of all British institutions, an English home’ corresponded to the interwar transition from expansionist Britishness to nostalgic, insular Englishness that Light identifies (May 1935: 32). Good Housekeeping’s more outward-looking perspective on women’s citizenship, in contrast, expanded to evoke the internationalist movement of the period. Simon Featherstone sees this movement, which evidences ‘Englishness as a site for gendered contest’ in the early twentieth century, as exemplified by Virginia Woolf’s famous rejection of nationhood in her feminist antiwar pamphlet Three Guineas (2008: 24–5). ‘[A]s a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country’, Woolf declared in response to women’s historical exclusion by the English state; ‘As a woman my country is the whole world’ (1938: 313). ‘In the political sphere women . . . spent much of the 1920s and early 1930s making war on war’, Julie V. Gottleib records, and the ‘cause of peace and the internationalist orientation gave form and substance to women’s politics’ (2015: 38). Good Housekeeping presents a range of perspectives on nationhood but, like Three Guineas, also conveys the pacifist-internationalist outlook that came to characterise a significant faction of women’s interwar activism.

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The home was powerfully associated with English nationalism throughout the interwar era and both Good Housekeeping and Modern Home responded to and sustained this association through their representation of housewives as homemaker citizens. Their portrayal of domestic labour as an expression of women’s citizenship followed the rhetoric of many feminist political campaigners of the period by drawing a parallel between managing a household with governing a nation. In ‘HomeMaking At No. 10’, for example, Modern Home offered ‘an intimate study’ of Ishbel MacDonald, daughter of the Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and celebrated as the youngest hostess to run 10 Downing Street. The feature describes a day in the life of Miss MacDonald, beginning with reference to her Diploma in Domestic Science and her ‘success in managing domestic affairs’ before detailing her daily tasks within and outside the prime minister’s household (Oct 1929: 30). The article highlights MacDonald’s economy, efficiency, and common sense in both her private and public roles, whether planning meals, ‘opening bazaars, making speeches to local Labour parties, [or] attending the London County Council’ (Oct 1929: 31). Ishbel MacDonald frequently accompanied or deputised for her father at charitable events as well as pursuing her own political career as Labour representative for South Poplar in the London County Council from March 1928 (Barron 2015). This unsigned feature depicts MacDonald’s political career as an extension of her domestic role, suggesting that the two roles equally demonstrated her citizenship. Interwar Good Housekeeping also, and more frequently, included content portraying homemaking as effective training for participation in government. The magazine drew this comparison not only in relation to women in positions of power, but also proposed that all women should use skills learned through domestic labour to exercise their citizenship outside the home. Writing in the magazine in 1922, Barbara Wootton, Director of Economics at Girton College, Cambridge, contended that ‘Every woman to be a good citizen must extend the interest she feels in her own housekeeping to the nation’s housekeeping’ (Apr 1922: 49). Wootton’s article explains the workings of Income Tax in order to help newly enfranchised readers make informed decisions when they vote. Contributions from prominent women campaigners and politicians routinely encouraged women to take an active interest in government. In early issues Millicent Fawcett considered ‘What Eight Women Million Women Will Do With Their Votes’ (Apr 1922: 10–11), while Violet Bonham-Carter imagined ‘The Political Future of Women’ (Oct 1922: 11–12). In the early 1930s, former Labour MP Mary Agnes Hamilton offered an insider’s guide to the House of Commons with Parliament cast as a female domain in an essay titled ‘Mother Westminster’ (Mar 1932: 18–19). Throughout the interwar period, articles on careers for women in Good Housekeeping, such as Lady Rhondda’s ‘Women in Business’ (Sep 1923: 15–16) or Winifred Holtby’s ‘Getting to the Top’ (Aug 1931: 16–17), also promoted women’s active citizenship outside the home. In ‘Why Women Should do the Dull Work’, Sidney Dark wondered why more women had not taken jobs in politics and the civil service since their adept budgeting and management as housewives demonstrated their aptitude for the task. ‘It is as surprising as it is disheartening that men still monopolise the tasks that demand common sense’, he reflected. For Dark, women were suited to government due to their organisational skills, their lesser respect for convention and tradition, their ‘calm judgement’, and their lack of ‘romantic imagining’ (Mar 1928: 10). His article again demonstrates the fusion of progressive and conservative views of gender in the interwar construction of women homemaker citizens, which drew on essentialist stereotypes to argue that it

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was women’s innate practicality, rather than any intellectual capability, that equipped them to manage the nation. Good Housekeeping and Modern Home also cultivated women’s sense of nationhood by printing housing features showcasing period properties or new homes built in architectural styles recalling England’s heritage. This phenomenon was epitomised by the ‘Tudorbethan’ home, ubiquitous in suburban developments of the 1920s and 1930s, which, as Deborah Sugg Ryan has detailed, ‘evoked a majestic past, far removed from the reality of England’s diminishing world status and declining Empire’ (1997: 19). Both magazines included photo-features of older or pseudo-traditional properties that visualised a popular ideal of English nationalism. Such features were most common in Modern Home and frequently sentimentalised both traditional housing designs and the English landscape. ‘Built on a Sussex common’, the caption for an illustrated article on ‘A Lovable Little Home’ in Modern Home’s first issue declared, ‘this charming cottage with its roof of golden thatch combines the rural charm of Old England with all the conveniences which modern life demands’ (Oct 1928: 48). This patriotic tone persisted. ‘An English house should harmonise with the landscape’, instructed a 1929 photo-spread, while a 1937 editorial announced: ‘Certain styles in furnishing never go out of favour because they are suited to a country and the character of its people. In England, the Tudor and Jacobean style will never lose its appeal, for there is something essentially English in its sturdy dignity’ (May 1929: 33; Mar 1937: 35). These aspirational home features supplied the magazine’s lower-middle-class readers with an escapist dream of a more leisured pace of life in a mythologised, pre-industrial rural England, and propagated the era’s nostalgic, insular English nationalism. Depicting the ideal home as quintessentially English encouraged the female homemaking reader to recognise her nationhood. Good Housekeeping also included housing features glorifying England’s past and rural landscape in this manner, such as P. A. Barron’s description of an ‘attractive, new, reed-thatched house’ designed by Frank H. Crown with ‘much of the charm belonging to houses which were built long ago’ (Feb 1934: 30). However, the magazine celebrated innovation as often as it idealised pre-industrial English life. Its first housing feature, for example, presented ‘The Ideal Home for the Person of Moderate Means’ as a newly built, suburban ‘detached two-story cottage, designed on labour-saving principles’ (Mar 1922: 49). In the 1930s, nostalgic photo-features like ‘Remodelling an Old Manor House’ (July1938: 70–1) were offset by the modernity of features such as ‘A Home for To-day and To-morrow’ showcasing an ‘ingeniously planned concrete house’ (Aug 1934: 29). The magazine similarly alternated between an inward- and outward-looking viewpoint. Thus a series on ‘Old English County Cookery’, supplying recipes from Cornwall (Jan 1936), Wiltshire (Apr 1936) and Yorkshire (Sep 1936), was balanced by a series on international cuisine from countries such as Austria (Sep 1935) and Norway (Oct 1935). Good Housekeeping encouraged the female reader to compare her experience as homemaker citizen with the experience of housewives in other nations. In January 1923, for example, the Irish writer Katharine Tynan wrote on ‘Family Life in Germany To-day’, detailing how ‘German women, in the mass, have the Victorian ideal of the dominance of the male’ (Jan 1923: 17). In November 1938, the expatriate English author Lilian T. Mowrer discussed her experience of ‘Housekeeping through Europe’ after living with her husband, foreign correspondent for The Chicago Daily News, in Italy during the rise of Mussolini, Germany during the rise of Hitler, and latterly in France.

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Figure 13.2 Helena Normanton, ‘The World as it Passes’. Courtesy of De Montfort University Archive. (Good Housekeeping UK Aug 1934: 74–5) The article largely avoids direct treatment of politics while describing Mowrer’s experience of housekeeping and servants in all three nations, yet supplies a brief but vivid portrait of living in Nazi Germany under the fascist regime. ‘German daily life was regulated in a hundred little ways by the police’, Mowrer explains, recalling her constant sense of paranoia; ‘for no one can be sure that his correspondence, visitors and other details of daily intercourse are not reported to some Nazi chief by an over-zealous house-servant’ (Nov 1938: 11, 84). While Modern Home kept its gaze turned inwards, Good Housekeeping also looked beyond Britain’s borders in its domestic content. This outward-looking perspective became more visible in the 1930s as the magazine became more attentive to international affairs. Central to the construction of Good Housekeeping’s internationalist outlook in the later interwar period was Helena Normanton’s ‘The World as it Passes’, a ‘Monthly Commentary on People and Events’ that became her routine column in the 1930s (Figure 13.2). A pioneering feminist, Normanton was famous as the first woman to practise as a barrister at the Bar in Britain, a prominent campaigner for women’s employment rights, and a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping in the interwar years (Workman 2011). In ‘The World as it Passes’ she offered a summary of current affairs, including national and global events, and described economic and political shifts in Europe and Britain’s colonial territories. Her reports frequently reflected the pacifist-internationalist politics of the women’s movement of the period. ‘The bitter, violent nationalism of our post-War days is the curse of the age we live in’, Normanton

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asserted in November 1932, for example; ‘What is any of us doing to make the United States of Europe a possibility?’ (Nov 1932: 47) Her column continues with a call for action in the form of political agitation by the ‘average’ female reader: Is there no method of organising the political woman power of the world towards peace and against all this war fever and armament jingling? . . . Is not the sight of all that is to-day menacing the peace of the world enough to arouse the average woman? It is she who matters . . . and she may be seeing the war trains off at Waterloo again if she does not bestir herself more vigorously in the near future. (Nov 1932: 176) This pacifist-internationalist outlook was reflected, too, in articles from a number of well-known women writers who contributed to Good Housekeeping in the 1930s including Rebecca West, Winifred Holtby, and Vera Brittain. In October 1933, Brittain supplied an article titled ‘Modern Youth Does Care’ opposing the perception of young people as politically apathetic with reference to an internationalist debate amongst undergraduates at a university union. ‘There is a need for a new Nationalism’, Brittain wrote of the motion debated, ‘based not on rivalry and the Sovereign independence of the State, but on a desire for Co-operation in commerce and politics’ (Oct 1933: 98). The sentiment is quoted from an undergraduate magazine, but might serve just as well to summarise the political outlook of Good Housekeeping. In the context of global recession, the spread of European fascism and rearmament, the magazine increasingly urged its housekeeping readers to consider themselves citizens of both Britain and the world. This outlook was explicit in occasional feature articles and in Normanton’s outward-facing column, but was also implicit throughout the interwar period in Good Housekeeping’s address to its middle-class housekeeping readers as socially aware, politically alert, and with an active interest in the world outside the home.

Conclusion A comparison between interwar Good Housekeeping and Modern Home reveals the complexity and diversity of these magazines’ portrayals of the housewife’s domestic role and their divergent views on women’s citizenship and nationhood. Both periodicals belonged to a wave of commercial domestic magazines that emerged in Britain post1918 which, as Brian Braithwaite has noted, aimed ‘to reflect the radical social changes witnessed in the aftermath of the Great War’ and meet the needs of middle-class women ‘fend[ing] for themselves’ in the home (1995: 29). Yet, they also differed substantially in price, format, expected audience, and outlook. Home-grown Modern Home perpetuated the notion of women’s chief role as domestic for its lower-middle-class readers, and consistently evoked an insular English nationalism with women as homemaker citizens at the domestic heart of the nation. Aimed at a wealthier and more highly educated audience, Hearst’s Good Housekeeping both constructed homemaking as a valuable profession and posed that women’s skills as housekeepers might be profitably applied outside the home. Good Housekeeping sought to provide a forum for debate by printing feature content that offered a wider range of opinions on gender roles and politics. The magazine presented women’s work as housekeepers, their gradual entry into the professions,

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and their engagement with the activity of government as evidence of their nationhood. Issued by a transatlantic publisher and influenced by the pacifist-internationalist movement of the period, Good Housekeeping prompted readers to consider their citizenship in an international as well as a national context. Together these magazines evidence an assortment of interwar perspectives on women’s identity as homemakers and citizens. The variety of ways in which women’s citizenship was conceived and explored within their pages demonstrates the danger of homogenising accounts of the ideology and content of interwar service magazines. Sincere thanks to Fiona Hackney, the editor of Part III, for her astute comments on draft versions of this chapter.

Notes 1. Good Housekeeping also sought to construct a relationship with its readers and the tone of its housekeeping editorials could be familiar, though it was more often instructive. The dialogue between Good Housekeeping and its audience was much more one-sided than Modern Home with readers’ thoughts and opinions rarely represented in the magazine’s pages. 2. ‘Housecraft and Household Engineering’ regularly appeared as a subsection of the contents page of Good Housekeeping during the 1920s and 1930s. 3. For more information about the Empire Marketing Board and its campaigning activities see Constantine 1986.

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Hackney, Fiona. 2008. ‘“Women are News”: British Women’s Magazines 1919–1939.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 114–33. Light, Alison. 1991. Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism Between the Wars. London: Routledge. Pugh, Martin. 1992. Women and the Women’s Movement in Britain 1914–1959. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Sugg Ryan, Deborah. 1997. The Ideal Home through the 20th Century. London: Hazar. White, Cynthia L. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Joseph. Woolf, Virginia. [1938] 1998. A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas. Ed. Morag Shiach. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Workman, Joanne. 2011. ‘Normanton, Helena Florence (1882–1957).’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 18 Mar 2015.

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14 Modern Housecraft? Women’s Pages in the National Daily Press Adrian Bingham

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he ‘women’s page’ was one of the defining features of the new mass-market daily newspapers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although the content of these new sections was not particularly innovative – the advice about fashion, cookery, and domestic life was familiar from generations of women’s magazines – its inclusion in publications conventionally oriented to the business of the male-dominated public sphere symbolised an important rethinking of the role of the newspaper. Editors and proprietors were responding to two increasingly insistent commercial pressures: the competition to increase circulation by tapping previously neglected markets – in this case, lower-middle-class and upper-working-class women in the expanding suburbs – and the battle to secure lucrative display advertising from the emerging retailers and brands who were starting to dominate the growing consumer economy and who sought above all to attract the attention of the holder of the domestic purse. The prominent and well-resourced women’s columns of Alfred Harmsworth’s all-conquering Daily Mail, included from its first issue in May 1896, seemed to demonstrate the circulationboosting potential of features for women, and newspapers launched in its wake produced their own rival versions. In the process, the austere and masculine late-Victorian newspaper was dramatically transformed. Women’s lives, and, in the fashion sketches and advertising columns, women’s bodies, became far more visible, and female journalists had new, if still highly limited, opportunities. Only the outbreak of the Great War, bringing newsprint rationing and an inevitable re-orientation of news values, temporarily halted the rise of the women’s page. After 1918, the editorial value of the women’s page rose still further as the national newspaper market matured – the total circulation of London morning dailies virtually doubled from 5.5 million to 10.5 million between 1921 and 1939 – and the competition for advertising intensified with the continued expansion of the consumer economy (Jeffery and McClelland 1987: 28–9). As pagination levels recovered to, and then significantly surpassed, pre-war levels, sections aimed at women often stretched to two or more pages. With greater investment came increased professionalisation and better writing; fewer columns were dashed off by men instructed to fill space by impatient and unsympathetic editors. Originally associated with the popular end of the market, elite newspapers such as the Manchester Guardian (1922), the Morning Post (1926) and The Times (1937) launched their own versions. Yet if these sections were built on deeply entrenched stereotypes about ‘women’s interests’, they could not ignore entirely the political, social, and economic changes that were reshaping gender identities in

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this period. After the upheavals of the Great War, the enfranchisement of most women over thirty (and all women over twenty-one in 1928), and the perceived emergence of a generation of ‘modern young women’, there was a widespread belief that the domestic sphere would have to be reorganised and updated: otherwise, the appeal of a career and independence might prove stronger than marriage and motherhood. At the same time, the reluctance of young female workers to enter domestic service was exacerbating the servant problem and increasing the pressures on middle-class women. It was modern technology, in the form of labour-saving devices, that seemed to offer a possible solution to these problems, and raised the prospect of a more ‘scientific’ and comfortable home. Meanwhile, the rise of psychological modes of thinking was altering ideas about marriage and parenthood. Newspaper ‘experts’ outlined the domestic management techniques and theories of child character formation that would enable the ‘modern’ housewife and mother to be truly professional (Pugh 2015; Kent 1993). The first half of the chapter sets out the content and style of the most popular women’s pages as they had developed by the interwar period, focusing on the market leaders, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. It examines the ways in which traditional subject matter was modernised and repackaged for a new generation widely deemed to be more independent, demanding, and discriminating. The second half explores the various attempts to reimagine the women’s pages in this period. In the early 1920s even the most conservative and commercial papers extended the parameters of their women’s pages to address a broader range of subject matter, such as politics, careers, and the balance between work and home. Over time, however, these experiments were quietly dropped in favour of a greater preoccupation with personal relationships and moral and emotional dilemmas. Rather than bringing the public sphere into the women’s pages, editors preferred to delve further into private lives. Three left-of-centre newspapers – the trade-union supporting Daily Herald, the liberal Manchester Guardian, and the communist Daily Worker – did try to do more than pander to the usual feminine stereotypes. Although none of these titles was entirely successful in reimagining the women’s pages, the Manchester Guardian set out a model that would provide a lasting and significant space for moderate feminist perspectives across the twentieth century.

The Content and Style of the Women’s Pages Interwar women’s pages were routinely filled by the three subjects that had dominated writing for women since the seventeenth century: fashion, housewifery, and motherhood. The most detailed content analysis of women’s pages in this period – which studied the Daily Express, Daily Herald, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, and Daily News (which merged with the Daily Chronicle to form the News Chronicle in 1930) at fouryearly intervals between 1919 and 1939 – found that more space, by some distance, was devoted to fashion advice than any other subject. Fashion accounted for 43 per cent of the total space, and did not drop below 23 per cent of the space in any of the thirty samples. Housewifery (features related to cookery, household management, and domestic consumption) comprised 24 per cent of the space in the samples, and motherhood (articles about parenting and childcare) a further 9 per cent. No other single category comprised more than 3 per cent of the space (Bingham 2004: 249–51). Yet if these were all well-worn topics, there were three distinctive elements to the coverage they received in this period. First, there was a general shift away from the simplicity

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of traditional routines towards an expectation of mastery of a more professionalised set of techniques or bodies of knowledge – such as the use of cosmetics, new forms of body management, ‘scientific’ housewifery, and the adoption of psychologically informed theories of childcare. Second, there was an increased emphasis on an educated participation in the consumer economy, buying the items required for an attractive appearance, and the creation of a stylish domestic environment. Third, there was a growing awareness of women’s desire to balance domestic life with other roles and opportunities, including work, and an active social life. Editors regarded fashion as a subject which appealed across the age spectrum and the gradations of social class, and status. It injected glamour and fantasy into pages often otherwise dominated by mundane realities of domestic life, and provided attractive visual displays that broke up columns of dense text. Fashion advice was repeatedly found to be popular with readers, both in the anecdotal surveys of the 1920s and in the more sophisticated market research of the 1930s. Political and Economic Planning’s survey in 1937 revealed that ‘beauty articles were read rather more than average’ by women (1938: 252), while Mass Observation discovered a female interest rate of 87 per cent in sewing patterns and 56 per cent in beauty aids (1948: 22). Retailers of women’s clothing were also highly coveted advertisers. Prestigious department stores and drapers were prepared to offer extremely lucrative contracts to reach the huge readerships of the market-leading newspapers: the first two firms to spend over £100,000 in a year in the Daily Mail were Harrods and the Barker group, and in 1924 the latter agreed to take out a full page in the Express every day for a year (Northcliffe Papers 2 Sep 1920; Aitken 1926: 82). In 1933 an eight-page women’s supplement in the Scottish Daily Express was approved largely because it would ‘contain all Glasgow and Edinburgh drapers’ advertising’. The interest from these stores raised the prospect that the supplement ‘could be made to pay for itself’ (Beaverbrook Papers 3 Jan 1933). The columns of the Mail and the Express flattered their lower-middle-class readers with the idea that they were privy to the secrets of the leading fashion houses and trendsetting society hostesses. Maintaining an aspirational tone was an explicit editorial policy. Northcliffe was adamant that ‘Nine women out of ten would rather read about an evening dress costing a great deal of money – the sort of dress they will never in their lives have a chance of wearing – than about a simple frock such as they could afford’ (Fyfe 1930: 93). Journalists wrote with great seriousness and in exhaustive detail about styles and accessories that were only fantasies for most readers. Discussing ‘Fashion Novelties Featured in Paris’ in March 1927, for example, the Mail’s ‘Fashion Editress’ confidently informed readers that ‘the ragged shoulder flower, now such a craze in England, was doomed in Paris’. ‘True, they are seen on occasion at the Paris dress parades’, she continued, ‘but much more rarely, or there may be a tiny nosegay of coral or possibly of glass cherries, a fashion one of the Place Vendôme houses has originated’ (7 Mar 1927: 23). Readers were invited to consider the lifestyle dilemmas of the cosmopolitan elites as if they were their own. An article discussing the ‘Preparations for the reception of the winter visitor to the Riviera in search of sunshine’ advised about ‘what places are going to be fashionable this year’ and encouraged an hour’s rest between tea and dinner, because the ‘evenings are very long’ (8 Nov 1927: 19). The women’s pages encouraged a fascination with the lives and practices of the wealthy elites that would increasingly spread into the celebrity coverage of other sections of the popular press.

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This high-end fashion commentary was combined with more practical and achievable advice. Articles outlined ‘Fashions for the Moderate Purse’, provided ‘A Resume of Modes that will Suit the Business Girl’, and set out ‘Blouse Notions to bring your Wardrobe up-to-date’ (Daily Mail 5 Nov 1924: 15, 1 Dec 1937: 23). Yet there was a striking shift across the period in the expectations placed upon women in terms of self-presentation and body management. Looking back in May 1936 at forty years of the Mail’s women’s page, star feature writer Margaret Lane was amused at the modesty and simplicity of the early beauty advice, ‘all about cold cream and washing one’s face in water’ (4 May 1936: Supp iv). Even in the immediate postwar period, cosmetics were viewed with suspicion in the women’s pages. ‘Don’t Camouflage’ advised Leslie Scott in the Express in 1919, explicitly casting doubt on the claims of the beauty industry: ‘no cosmetics under the sun, however, alluring the advertisements, are going to do Dame Nature out of her job’ (7 May 1919: 3). ‘Do not “paint” or “rouge”’, agreed a columnist in the Mail the following year. Such techniques, she insisted ‘injure the skin and produce a coarse, artificial effect’ (13 July 1920: 11). By the late 1920s, however, the heightened expectations of glamour and beauty fostered by Hollywood cinema, and the insistent advertising of the expanding fashion and cosmetics industries, normalised the belief that an attractive appearance could only be maintained by an ongoing regime of treatment and care. ‘In my opinion makeup is a modern necessity’, wrote the actress Clare Hardwicke in the Daily Mirror in 1929. ‘No woman can do without it, for even if her skin is perfect, she needs a certain amount of cream and powder to preserve its beauty’ (25 May 1929: 16). Proper management of the face and body was essential, argued Joan Beringer in the Mail with a nod to the fashionable language of psychology, to prevent the ‘feeling of inferiority and dissatisfaction with themselves’ that many women developed, especially in early middle age. This grooming required effort, expert advice, and the purchase of the correct products: women in their thirties, Beringer suggested, ‘must either start with half a dozen beauty treatments or a very serious course of home treatments’. Above all, women needed to subject themselves to constant scrutiny: ‘She must be critical of her efforts in make-up, and if she doesn’t trust her own opinion, she should ask for the candid criticism of husband or friends’ (11 Nov 1936: 23.) By the late 1930s, it was assumed that women had a range of cosmetics at their disposal. ‘You probably have one range of make-up for daytime and another – rather more exotic – for evening wear’ observed the Mail’s Vanity Notes in December 1937 (1 Dec 1937: 23). It was expected, too, that women wanted to maintain a slim figure. Margaret Lane noted in 1936 that ‘loss of weight’ occupied ‘such tracts of editorial and advertising space nowadays, ranging from reducing tablets to rubber corsets and the latest diet’; such writing would have been regarded with ‘buxom horror’ in the 1890s (4 May 1936: Supp iv). Women’s page features described exercise regimes and offered tips on how to eat well, and organisations such as the Women’s League of Health and Beauty were given significant coverage as the popular press backed the wider efforts to promote physical fitness, and bodily hygiene (Zweiniger-Bargielowska 2010). Whether the aim was to be fashionable or to maintain health, modern life seemed to require new levels of physical management and self-examination. The domestic advice aimed to provide similar mix of style, sophistication, and modernity. Features about interior decoration and household consumption often addressed readers as if they had lavish budgets and spacious environments in which to

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display their homewares. ‘Housewives are slowly realising the immense importance of wall treatment in relation to furniture’, observed a Daily Mail columnist in February 1923: ‘The possessor of pictures needs particularly to exercise careful judgement in the choice of a background for works of art’ (21 Feb 1923: 15). ‘All black cups and saucers are the newest housekeeping idea from Paris’ revealed another article in May 1927, before outlining ‘A Parisian Furnishing Scheme’ (4 May 1927: 18). Although aesthetics remained important, however, there was a strong emphasis in the postwar period on ‘science’ and ‘efficiency’. In the early 1920s, the Daily Express introduced a ‘Modern Housecraft’ column which highlighted the new products and techniques that could transform housework. In an article entitled ‘Spring Cleaning By Machinery’, for example, Judith Ann Silburn, a prolific writer of domestic advice, argued that ‘A Spring-Clean need no longer be a bugbear to the housewife; it can practically all be done by machinery.’ Employing vacuum cleaners, electric polishers, and scrubbing machines would transform the home, insisted Silburn, although she knew that she had to counter anxieties about the expense of this equipment: The larger electrical appliance do certainly cost money, but when it is considered that they save not only domestic service . . . but also depreciation of furniture, and the need for constant redecorating, this argument falls to the ground . . . Spring-cleaning by electricity is labour-saving and absolutely healthy. (14 Mar 1923: 4) Two months later, another article in the paper expounded the merits of ‘Electrical Table Devices’ such as toasters, small table stoves, and coffee percolators. ‘The advent of electrical devices for cookery has made possible the preparation of light meals at the table itself, thus saving any unnecessary running backwards and forwards’, claimed Mary Gwynne Howell (9 May 1923: 4). This clean, scientific, and efficient form of housework was presented as a means of reconciling modern women with domesticity, especially now that middle-class women might be forced to carry out many household tasks themselves owing to the lack of servants. Such features were powerfully reinforced by newspaper-sponsored exhibitions, most famously the Daily Mail’s Ideal Home Exhibition. The exhibition warmly embraced new technologies and social change. The 1925 event featured an all-Electric house, while the whole of the 1928 exhibition was organised around the theme of the future, with the centrepiece being a gadget-laden ‘house of the future’ (Daily Mail 1 Mar 1928: 9–10). At these and similar exhibitions, and in the advertising that featured daily on and around the women’s pages, domestic appliances and household products were presented as the means by which drudgery could be removed and time saved, so that the ‘modern woman’ could find ‘hours of freedom for pleasure’ (Daily Express 1 May 1931: 1). In 1931 Mary Edginton even used the language of feminism in a Mail feature to celebrate the Ideal Home Exhibition as helping to undermine the ‘old household-slave system’: ‘women’s freedom begins where she will live – in the home. Her freedom is evolving quietly by means of such innovations as have been presented to her every year for twenty three years at Olympia’ (11 Apr 1931: 10). Yet this discourse of modern housewifery, driven by consumerism and heightened perceptions of modernity, consistently exaggerated the opportunities available to women to create an ‘ideal home’. Labour-saving devices were featured in the women’s pages well before most readers would have had any realistic prospect of buying them.

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This was partly the result of the constant editorial pressure for fresh and innovative copy. Myfanwy Crawshay, an experienced writer for women’s pages and magazines, advised the freelance journalist that to ‘write an article on labour-saving devices that will sell you must be able to show that you have something really new to tell readers’ (1932: 27–8). Such pressure meant, however, that articles declared ‘It’s Time You Were Refrigerator-Conscious!’ at a time when only around 1 per cent of homes actually had refrigerators (Daily Mirror 1 July 1934: 27). Even in 1938, only a quarter of homes possessed a vacuum cleaner: the ‘Spring Cleaning by Machinery’ recommended over a decade earlier was still a long way off for most households (Bowden and Offer 1996: 248). It is, perhaps, revealing that a 1934 survey found that the popularity of the women’s page tended to decrease with the income of the reader (Political and Economic Planning 1938: 252). With seductive images of an ‘ideal home’ to be achieved by educated consumption frequently triumphing over features with a more realistic appraisal of average domestic circumstances, it is unsurprising that the less prosperous may have felt themselves excluded. This is not to say that more economical advice was never published: money-saving tips were included, and a number of the ‘management techniques’ relied more on good organisation than any real expenditure. Nevertheless, the basic pattern was clear: housewifery could be modernised and drudgery reduced, but only with a significant amount of expenditure (or a continued dependence on domestic help). As with the fashion columns, most women’s engagement with the domestic advice was necessarily vicarious and aspirational. With so much space devoted to explaining the benefits of labour-saving devices and electrical appliances, more fundamental issues such as the sexual division of labour, and the lack of money, and poor conditions of many housewives rarely received the attention they deserved. It is important to note, though, that even in most commercial and conservative papers, the women’s pages addressed the limitations and frustrations of domesticity. In May 1927, for example, the Daily Mail women’s page included a feature attacking ‘the convention that all married women are bound to be domestic and express themselves in the same way’, and insisting that ‘home-keeping is no longer the chief or only role of women’: ‘Once [you] get absorbed in household affairs and farewell to all the arts and crafts. Become a conscientious duster . . . and you lose all interest in literature and the arts’ (4 May 1929: 19). The piece prompted a flurry of correspondence. Some readers denied that the domestic life was unfulfilling, especially now that the modern household was run on scientific lines. One correspondent insisted that there was ‘as much beauty in a well-kept home and even polished brasses as in polished verse or a good illustration’ (10 May 1927: 19). Others welcomed the opportunity to discuss the mundanity of housework. ‘Let every man who is blessed with a clever but undomesticated wife’, declared one reader, ‘reflect that though he may return to a house less efficiently or luxuriously run than those of the men he knows, his home will nevertheless radiate that brightness of intellect which is . . . the secret envy of many husbands’ (19). A similar controversy erupted in the same paper two years later. When a female doctor asked whether she should sacrifice her career to accept a marriage proposal, letters of advice poured in (2 May 1929: 19). The women’s page editor ultimately announced that ‘those who advise the woman doctor not to marry are in a small majority’ (8 May 1929: 23). If there was no sustained critique of women’s domestic role, the women’s pages did provide opportunities for women to debate and contest some of the assumptions, and expectations that constrained their lives.

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The emphasis on ‘professionalisation’ and ‘scientific advances’ was similarly evident in the parenting columns, as newspapers popularised the findings of the growing band of psychologists and educationalists who were seeking to inform parents about the possibilities of moulding the character of their children (Thomson 2006). Much of this advice criticised ‘Victorian’ strictness and distance in favour of more flexible, and child-centred approaches to parenting. In December 1918, a Mail women’s page article considered whether traditional forms of child-raising ‘killed initiative’, and discussed the pioneering work of Maria Montessori. The piece concluded that ‘The teacher of the future will let a child find out for himself what he has to learn, and not cramp his mind by trying to put in what the brain cannot absorb’ (13 Dec 1918: 7). In 1927 the Mirror suggested that corporal punishment was outdated now that more sophisticated modern methods were available: ‘we have psycho-analysis. We have Montessori. We have Borstal and other systems of reform without brutality . . . The rod is the parent’s confession of failure’ (26 Mar 1927: 7). ‘Freedom from repression does not mean giving the child the opportunity to give way to tempers and unseemly behaviour, without a veto being put upon him’, observed a ‘Harley Street Woman Doctor’ in the Mirror in 1930: ‘What it does mean is that instead of damming-up his mind energy by continual “don’ts,” the child must be considered as an individual with rights of his own’ (26 May 1930: 23). Always seeking to generate talking points, space was also provided to those who argued that ‘modern’ methods had gone too far. ‘No mother thwarts her child for fear of arousing an inferiority complex’ complained the Hon. Mrs St Aubyn in 1930 in an attack on ‘This Modern Upbringing “Nonsense”’: No father, of greater experience, suggests a line of conduct to his son, for fear of checking some inherent bent. Most of us waste considerable time in conscientiously answering the heedless ‘whys’ of children. It is no exaggeration to say that children rule us. (Daily Mail 27 May 1930: 19) Ultimately, though, specific recommendations were probably less important than the general raising of expectations about parenthood. The modern mother had to be informed and aware if she was to fulfil her role: as a Mail columnist declared in July 1920, ‘It is the duty of conscientious and fond parents to understand the emotional growth of children’ (23 July 1920: 6). Typical household squabbles could now be seen as a sign of failure or dysfunction: ‘Family Friction – It Can Be Avoided – Says A Child Psychologist’ (Daily Mirror 19 June 1935: 23). ‘Are You One Of . . . The Parents Who Don’t Know Their Job?’ asked the ‘Daily Mirror Psychologist’ accusingly (16 Nov 1935: 4). The insistent cajoling of the women’s pages ensured that ‘not knowing one’s job’ was becoming one of the sins of the age.

Reimagining the Women’s Pages Many female journalists involved in the production of women’s pages were frustrated at the power and resilience of the stereotypes about female readers. Mrs Peel, who became editor of the Mail’s women’s page during the First World War, recalled with frustration how Mail journalists ‘expected women to be interested solely in knitting jumpers, in caring for their complexions, looking after babies, in cooking, in a “good murder” and in silly stories about weddings’ (1933: 227). Mrs Peel found her advice

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was frequently ignored because she was viewed as an ‘exceptional woman’, unreflective of the more straightforward tastes of the Mail’s readers. Similarly, when candidates to replace Peel as editor of the women’s page in 1920 complained that the page was ‘too stereotyped in its choice of articles and too ‘narrow-minded’, a memo was drawn up and action promised, but genuine changes were slow in coming (Northcliffe Papers 19 Jan 1920). After all, one of Northcliffe’s maxims that had been elevated to conventional wisdom in Fleet Street was that while it was bad not to give the public what they wanted, it was far worse to give them what they did not want; such attitudes help to explain the editorial inertia that constrained many newspaper feature pages. Nevertheless, women’s political enfranchisement and their movement into new public roles encouraged the perception after 1918 that the content of the women’s pages would have to be of a higher standard, and be prepared to address a wider range of issues, if they were to meet the expectations of a more demanding generation of readers. This tendency was reinforced by the increasing numbers of women entering journalism and seeking to pursue their interests in their writing. The veteran journalist Sydney Moseley recalled that ‘in the early days of “feminine interest articles” – when most of the work was done by men – there was a great deal of silly nonsense’. Such poor-quality writing, he observed, was ‘no longer tolerated by any publication of repute’ and he warned prospective freelance contributors in 1926 not to ‘write down’ to women (1926: 102–3). ‘It is a vast mistake to think that women’s interest nowadays is purely domestic’, he advised: Because women are now competing with men in business, in the professions and the arts, and in politics, it is evident that there is a limitless opportunity for the freelance writer to produce articles on almost any subject, and still present them in such a way as to hold the interest of women readers. (1926: 98–9) Crawshay agreed in 1932 that ‘the scope of the woman’s page has widened as editors have realised that women want to hear about other things besides routine domesticity’. The female journalist had become ‘indispensable to editors because she can interpret the New Woman and her fuller life’ (1932: 9, 7). In the immediate postwar years, the market-leading papers such as the Mail, Express, and Mirror conducted experiments with different types of content in their women’s pages. It seemed possible, for a brief time, that politics might become a regular feature. ‘Learning to Be Citizens – A Matter of Importance’ declared a headline on the Mail women’s page in September 1919, above an article insisting that ‘no woman should forget that whether her sphere be compassed by the office or the home, she has wider interests because she is also a citizen’ (1 Dec 1919: 15). Three months later, the Mail invited the noted suffrage campaigner Ray Strachey to write a series of weekly articles on ‘Womanly Politics’. Everyone who has a vote ought to think and know about politics . . . but for a woman it is doubly necessary to do this because we have to train up the next generation of voters as well. That is why current politics is woman’s job, and why it is possible to call politics ‘womanly.’ (1 Dec 1919: 15) Strachey’s very readable column touched on a wide variety of issues ranging from the everyday (such as housing, and the price of milk and coal) to questions of imperial reform in India and Ireland. It was, however, dropped after little more than a month,

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and similar experiments at other papers suffered the same fate. Party politics subsequently tended to reach the women’s page only at the time of general elections, when there were regular articles about female candidates, discussions of ‘women’s issues’, and advice about public speaking and canvassing (Bingham 2004: 118–20, 124–5). As women became a more familiar feature of the political landscape, moreover, even these features became less frequent. A more durable change was the greater space accorded to paid employment. Content analysis indicates that articles about work amounted to 3 per cent of the overall space across the interwar decades; in five of the fifteen samples from the first half of the period, there was more space devoted to careers advice than to motherhood, although this material did become less prominent in the 1930s, as economic dislocation intensified and unemployment rose (Bingham 2004: 249–51). The women’s pages gave details of what seemed to be a spectacular array of opportunities for middle-class women. In 1920, for example, the Daily Express introduced a new series of careers advice for the parents of young women with the observation that ‘today, when practically every profession and most industries are open to women, fathers and mothers are confronted with a bewildering field of choice’ (27 Oct 1920: 3). The jobs covered over subsequent weeks included engineer, lecturer, decorator, mental nurse, policewoman, probation officer, and sanitary inspector. The Mail was equally wide-ranging in its careers advice, providing details about being a photographer, almoner, school bursar, auctioneer, architect, and surveyor. Launching a major series on women’s employment in 1927, the Mail interviewed the leading feminist Lady Rhondda and recorded her view that ‘Girls’ careers should not be chosen with an eye to their possible temporary nature . . . choose a career with a future’ (7 Nov 1927: 19). The following day the Warden of King’s College for Women contributed an article under the headline ‘Choosing A Girl’s Career – Give Your Daughters the Chances You Give Your Sons’ (8 Nov 1927). Such serious, detailed, and diverse features on women’s employment were an important innovation in this period, and contributed to the broader perception that women’s opportunities were expanding rapidly. Ultimately, though, the women’s pages in the market-leading papers chose to expand their coverage of women’s private lives and personal relationships far more than they did their public and professional roles. The insistent commercial pressure for human interest and sensational revelations, coupled with a wider sexualisation of the press, led to the emergence of the problem page as a significant feature of the women’s pages from the 1930s (Bingham 2012). ‘Dorothy Dix’ (the pen name of the American journalist Elizabeth Meriweather Gilmer) was given a significant platform in the reinvented Daily Mirror from December 1935, while Ann Temple’s ‘Human Case-Book’ was promoted heavily by the Daily Mail from its launch in 1936. Rivals soon followed suit with similar features of their own: ‘everywhere problem columns appeared, disappeared, and reappeared’, noted Temple (1944: 7). Before the 1950s problem columns remained euphemistic about sex, but they covered a wide range of personal troubles and dilemmas, from the temptations of adultery, via difficult relationships with parents, to falling out with friends. Journalist such as Temple and Dix celebrated the virtues of sexual restraint outside marriage and defended the expectation that women (if not men) should be virgins when they wed. This preoccupation with private life was supplemented by the rise of astrological predictions in many papers by the late 1930s. ‘Romance and heart interests will be under a temporary cloud at the weekend’ the Mail’s ‘Fortune Forecast’ advised readers with birthdays in April, May, September,

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and October. ‘Misunderstandings will end in impulsive quarrels which will be a bar to happiness’ (4 May 1936: 23). Such material was cheap and easy to produce, and consistently popular. At their best, the problem pages offered a useful space for women who often struggled to find reliable and accessible sources of information and advice about personal life, but this was partly at the expense of a reimagining of the women’s page to engage more consistently with citizenship and public life. It was left-of-centre papers such as the Daily Herald, the Daily Worker, and the Manchester Guardian that demonstrated a more sustained interest in rethinking the women’s pages, although even in these titles editors often fell back on traditional stereotypes and the momentum for change was often lost. The Daily Herald, established in 1912 as a strike sheet, and funded by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) from 1922, saw itself as a counterweight to the ‘millionaires’ press of the Mail, Mirror, and Express, and had a proud tradition of support for the women’s movement (Richards 1997). It could attract as contributors a range of noted left-wing authors and intellectuals; Rebecca West was briefly editor of its women’s page. Yet the paper’s preoccupation with reporting news of the labour movement, its lack of resources, and its struggle to attract consumer advertising, combined to ensure that features for women were a low priority. TUC directors complained that ‘we feel that the cost of producing the women’s page is high in proportion to the amount of space devoted exclusively to women’s topics’ (Daily Herald Papers 13 Nov 1925). The women’s section was sacrificed when there was a lot of movement news, and other non-political features remained underdeveloped. In the space that it did have, ‘Home Rulings’, the Herald’s women’s page, did occasionally distinguish itself from its competitors by including socialist analyses of the housewife’s position. John Lister informed housewives in 1919, for example, that their contribution to the family earnings was just as important as that of the husband, despite the ‘breadwinner’ model employed by capitalism: Under the capitalist system the family income is usually paid to the husband, because the capitalist pays for labour and not for maintenance . . . When an employer engages an employee he, in fact, engages two employees, the man and the woman, but he pays the wages to the man only. (2 May 1919: 9) There was a distinctive approach to fashion, too, with less space devoted to the subject overall (albeit still a quarter of the total), and a determination to present the latest styles in ways that would be affordable to a less wealthy class of reader: Why shouldn’t the working-woman take a pride in dainty headwear as well as the leisured lady who has little to do but wonder what suits her best? Any of these pretty caps can be easily made from scraps of lace, net or ninon, and such work is a fascinating pastime for winter evenings. (6 Jan 1921: 7) There was a corresponding reluctance to celebrate the fashions of society women at the traditional events of the ‘season’. Ultimately, though, the Herald usually conformed to traditional notions of gender. The interests of the housewife were still defined fairly narrowly. There was a patent concern with achieving respectability, and this generally entailed aping middle-class

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norms. The Herald no more challenged the basic sexual division of labour in the home than the other popular papers. Nor was much coverage given on the Herald’s women’s pages to possible political or feminist avenues for improving the lot of the housewife; campaigns for family allowances or birth control, when reported, were usually placed in the political columns. The underlying expectation of ‘Home Rulings’ seemed to be that housewives would uncomplainingly make the best out of their difficult situations. After the paper was partially bought out by the commercial publisher Odhams in 1930, the differences with mainstream rivals narrowed even further. The emphasis on the women’s pages shifted gradually from careful economy to a more consumerist outlook. ‘It Pays to Keep a Well-Filled Store Cupboard’, announced an article in August 1931; at the depths of the Depression (5 Aug 1931: 5) Herald features championed the virtues of kitchen gadgets from Moulinette mincing machines to icing syringes (13 Nov 1935: 5). During the 1930s, the Herald found itself consistently outflanked by the smallcirculation communist paper the Daily Worker, which introduced a ‘week-end page for women’ full of challenging material. ‘A Conference of Women Discuss Why Mothers Die’, ‘Women Sold in China’, ‘The Soviet Union As Seen By Women Delegates’, and ‘Deaths In Childbirth Are Mainly Due to Poverty’ were typical headlines from summer 1936 (1 June 1936: 6; 8 June 1936: 6; 6 July 1936: 6). Even in the Daily Worker, however, one can trace a shift towards a more commercial approach. The weekly women’s page was transformed into a wider-ranging ‘home page’, with material for men and women, and by the later 1930s mainstream fashion and domestic content became more common (for example, 3 Mar 1939: 7). It was the Manchester Guardian that developed the most sustained and respected challenge to the commercial women’s pages of the popular press. Introduced in May 1922 under the editorship of Madeline Linford, this was a bold venture for an elite paper like the Guardian: as Linford later recalled, ‘women’s pages were not well thought of by serious journalists, being mainly fluffy, ephemeral and a sop to advertisers’. Linford had instructions to make the page ‘readable, varied, and aimed always at the intelligent woman’; she saw herself as seeking to reach a demanding and critical audience ‘vigilant for lapses of taste, dignity and literary English’ (Guardian 11 Sep 1963: 6). It was, perhaps, this perceived need to meet the demands of a rigorous audience that ensured the pages maintained a high standard of writing and featured a wide range of different subjects. A typical page from June 1922 included articles on fashion (‘Two Gowns for Yesterday’s Court’) and housewifery (‘A Salad of June Fruits’ and ‘Today’s Food Prices in Manchester’) alongside an interview with Lady Rhondda on ‘Women in the Lords’ and a report on the Association of Head Mistresses (9 June 1922: 4). Linford attracted a range of talented contributors, including Winifred Holtby and Vera Brittain, and maintained a coherent moderate feminist perspective in the pages. Mary Stott, who took charge of the Leicester Mail’s women’s page in 1926, later recalled that she was a ‘devoted reader’ from the start: it was the interwar Guardian women’s page that educated her ‘as a feminist, and indeed, a pacifist’. When she was offered the opportunity to edit the page herself in 1956, she was aware of its ‘world-wide prestige’, and was adamant that ‘there was no Women’s Page job, absolutely not one, for which I would have applied other than the Manchester Guardian’s’ (Stott 1987: xvi). Inspired by the example of the interwar pages, she re-established the Guardian as a space for the intelligent discussion of moderate feminism in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Conclusion The newspaper women’s pages of the interwar years provided an important arena in which a self-consciously modern femininity was articulated and debated. There were no radical breaks with the past: content was still dominated by the traditional staples of fashion, housewifery, and motherhood, and there were few sustained attempts to challenge the sexual division of labour within the home. In most papers, too, the pages were heavily shaped by an aspirational and consumerist ethos which placed great emphasis on imitating the styles and behaviour of elites, and purchasing products and devices to manage appearance or improve the domestic environment. The discourse of ‘modern housekeeping’ tended to obscure both how few women could actually share in the technological advances and also how much still depended on the labour of domestic servants. At the same time, the pages helped to foster the conviction that the status of housewifery and motherhood needed to be raised to meet the higher expectations of a postwar generation of modern women who had new political, professional, and public opportunities. The offering of careers advice was one manifestation of this acceptance of women’s expanding horizons. The women’s pages provided a space for female journalists to assert the worth of ‘female topics’ in the most popular and influential form of print culture. The women’s pages, and their associated advertising, also served, in their own way, to destabilise the conventional categories and hierarchies of British print culture. The traditional liberal model of the newspaper as a site for rational debate about public affairs was challenged by the women’s pages’ interest in consumption, appearance and the private sphere, and their deliberate appeal to glamour, fantasy, and desire; indeed, these tensions were often played out in adjoining columns, as political commentary or careers advice nestled alongside fashion features. There was a blurring between the newspaper and the magazine, and many journalists, such as Crawshay and Temple, moved between the two. In 1932, the critic Queenie Leavis looked back nostalgically at time when the ‘daily papers catered for the governing and professional classes, intelligently interested in politics, the money market, the law, and current affairs’; instead, the mass press was characterised by the ‘glorification of food, drink, clothes, and material comforts’, a ‘determined inculcation of a higher standard of living’, and a ‘facetious denigration of serious values’ (Leavis 1965: 177–8). Newspaper owners and editors, though, had reimagined their publications, and opened them up to different types of content and audience. The women’s pages can perhaps be seen as a form of ‘feminine middlebrow’, and they attracted the same opprobrium and criticism as many novels of the genre, while attracting a keen female following (Humble 2001). But this was not a space that could be taken for granted. Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War, newsprint rationing was imposed, and was not lifted until the end of 1956. Even then, the rise of newsprint prices and production costs meant that in some cases newspaper pagination levels did not return to pre-war levels until the 1970s or even later. The feature sections and women’s pages were the most likely to be cut or restricted in this tougher climate, leaving fewer opportunities for existing female journalists and outside contributors wanting to write for women; many inevitably pursued opportunities in the booming women’s magazine sector. Popular newspapers tended to have less regular and well-defined women’s sections in the 1950s and 1960s; the Guardian’s women’s page did not return until 1957. Conservative and formulaic as

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they usually were, the interwar women’s pages did give female readers and writers an important platform, and one that had a greater visibility and reach than that provided by women’s magazines; without this platform, the cultural marginalisation of women became easier.

Works Cited Aitken, Max (Lord Beaverbrook). 1926. Politicians and the Press. London: Hutchinson. Beaverbrook Papers. 3 January 1933. House of Lords Record Office, H/99, Max Aitken to Beaverbrook. Bingham, Adrian. 2004. Gender, Modernity and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. —. 2012. ‘Problem pages and British sexual culture, c. 1930s to 1970s.’ Media History 18.1: 51–63. Bowden, Sue and Avner Offer. 1996. ‘The Technological Revolution that Never Was.’ The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective. Ed. V. Grazia and E. Furlough. Berkeley: University of California Press. Crawshay, Myfanwy. 1932. Journalism for Women. London: Fleet Publications. Daily Herald Papers. 13 November 1925. Bodleian Library, Oxford. Reel 6, LP/DH/466, Sub-committee on editorial policy to Editor. Fyfe, Hamilton. 1930. Northcliffe: An Intimate Biography. London: G. Allen & Unwin. Humble, Nicola. 2001. The Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jeffery, Tom, and Keith McClelland. 1987. ‘A World fit to Live in: the Daily Mail and the Middle Classes 1918–39.’ Impacts and influences: Essays on Media Power in the Twentieth Century. Ed. James Curran, Anthony Smith and Pauline Wingate. London: Methuen. 27–52. Kent, Susan Kingsley. 1993. Making Peace, The Reconstruction of Gender in Inter-war Britain. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Leavis, Queenie. [1932] 1965. Fiction and the Reading Public. London: Chatto and Windus. Mass Observation. 1948. File Report 3005, ‘Reading the Daily Herald.’ Moseley, Sydney. 1926. Short Story Writing and Freelance Journalism. London: Pitman. Northcliffe Papers. 19 January 1920. British Library, Add. MS 62204, Crawford to Price. Northcliffe Papers. 2 September 1920. British Library, Add. MS 62214. Faulkener to Northcliffe. Peel, Dorothy [Mrs C. S.] 1933. Life’s Enchanted Cup: An Autobiography. London: John Lane. Political and Economic Planning. 1938. Report on the British Press. London: Political and Economic Planning. Pugh, Martin. 2015. Women and the Women’s Movement in Britain since 1914. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Richards, Hew. 1997. The Bloody Circus: The Daily Herald and the Left. London: Pluto Press. Stott, Mary, ed. 1987. Women Talking: An Anthology from the Guardian Women’s Page. London: Pandora. Temple, Ann. 1944. Good or Bad – It’s Life. London: Nicholson & Watson. Thomson, Mathew. 2006. Psychological Subjects: Identity, Culture, and Health in TwentiethCentury Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Ina. 2010. Managing the Body: Beauty, Health and Fitness in Britain, 1880–1939. Oxford: Oxford University Press

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15 LABOUR WOMAN and the Housewife Karen Hunt

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any of the women enfranchised in 1918 were housewives: women over thirty who were themselves local government electors or who were married to local government electors. Political parties, particularly their women members, had to decide how to engage with this new electorate. One way was to recognise the reality of many women’s daily lives and to draw their concerns into the discussions of political women. One space in which these attempted dialogues are apparent is the press created by and for women who had, or might be persuaded to have, a party affiliation. Labour Woman (1913–71), the monthly journal of women in the Labour Party, provided one of those spaces. Here, from 1920, they created a column entitled The Housewife. This chapter takes this column as its focus and uses it to consider how Labour Woman perceived the housewife and engaged with her over the interwar years. It asks whether this space constituted an opportunity to reframe understandings of domesticity. Labour Woman was an in-house monthly magazine produced for women in the Labour Party. It was edited by the party’s Chief Women’s Officer and carried contributions from a range of Labour women, including MPs and local councillors as well as activists, and occasionally from Labour men. It was sold within the party to an audience of women across a spectrum from the least to the most active. Its content ranged from reports of day-to-day political activities, campaigns, and concerns of Labour women to recipes and household hints. The balance between political and domestic material could be contentious for its writers and readers. This was important as although the magazine was not a commercial concern, relying on subsidy from the Labour Party as well as carrying adverts, its purpose was to engage with existing and potential women party members. It was, therefore, recognised that Labour Woman had to be in dialogue with its readers and to be open to finding ways to widen its appeal. However, it did not see itself as being in direct competition with commercial women’s magazines. In contrast to them, Labour Woman had much more explicit political content and a more serious format: it was largely text-based with illustrations such as prints, cartoons, and photos on the cover as well as lightly scattered through the inside pages. What distinguished Labour Woman in the interwar years was not the inclusion of household hints within a political paper for women but that it had a column entitled The Housewife. By the interwar years the housewife was not a settled identity, although it was generally understood to mean a married woman who was not in paid employment but had the responsibility for running her household however substantial or inadequate the income brought in by her husband and children. A range of experiences were hidden

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beneath the term ‘housewife’, shaped by place (rural, urban, or suburban), generation, and most significantly by social class (Hunt 2014). When and where women were figured as housewives – rather than as mothers or workers or just as women – was significant. Yet when interwar politicians and journalists addressed the housewife or spoke on her behalf, they assumed a homogenous identity and set of experiences. Many historians and cultural critics have followed suit. The interwar housewife is often seen as being solidly middle class, southern, and suburban. She is exemplified by Mrs Miniver, the fictional creation of Jan Struther, who made her first appearance late in the period (1937). The historian Judy Giles’s pioneering study of domesticity and the housewife in the first half of the twentieth century does include working-class examples but these women had benefited from new suburban housing in the 1920s and 1930s, and were in a material position to respond to the increasing consumerism of the period (Giles 1995). For them consumption was a pleasurable leisure activity, not about daily survival in constrained economic circumstances. Much of the writing on interwar domesticity continues this narrative, yet the dominant language associated with the housewife in Labour Woman was of everyday drudgery. Being a workingclass housewife was seen as an unrelenting job, with the home as the workplace, rather than being part of a new modern profession aided by advances in domestic technology. What follows uses a specific example to consider whether we have too monolithic an understanding of interwar domesticity, where discourse has come to be read for experience, and where the power of social class to shape the practices of everyday life has been understated or even overlooked. Were working-class housewives reimagining the home in ways which sit outside the dominant narratives of interwar domesticity? The context for this reading of Labour Woman overlaps with some of the historiographies that frame other chapters in this volume: the debates on the effect on interwar politics of a powerful resurgence of an ideology of domesticity (Beaumont 2013); the extent of the feminism of interwar women’s organisations post-enfranchisement (Andrews 1997); the reach of a new modern discourse of rationalised housework (Schwartz Cowan 1983); as well as the influence of a range of popular magazines targeted at a new audience of women (Winship 1987). Added to this is the literature on women’s relationship with the interwar Labour Party (Graves 1994; Tanner 2005) and on the degree to which activist women sought to engage with unorganised women through a focus on everyday life (Hunt 2005; Hunt 2012). There has also been discussion on the extent to which the newly enfranchised housewife, as an identity distinct from women in general or mothers or wives in particular, was engaged with by political parties (Hilton 2002; Thackeray 2013). The varying presence (and absence) of the housewife within the pages of Labour Woman over the interwar period challenges many of the assumptions made in these intersecting historiographies, particularly any easy generalisations about the period as a whole, about the homogeneity of women as a group, and the agency of the housewife herself. In order to explore this, the chapter will first examine Labour Woman itself and then map the various ways in which the journal represented the working-class housewife, engaged with her, and even provided spaces in which she might participate in shaping a politics that connected to her daily life. The first edition of Labour Woman appeared in May 1913 and was the journal of the Women’s Labour League (WLL), the women’s auxiliary of the Labour Party, which had been formed in 1906. The journal was the successor to the League Leaflet,

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first published just over two years before. To begin with, all that really changed was the title, as the journal remained essentially a magazine for WLL members. Once the Labour Party passed a constitution in 1918, which created individual party membership, Labour Woman became an official publication. It defined itself as A Political Monthly Journal for Working Women, published by the Labour Party. Given this, it is striking that from January 1920 Labour Woman included a column headed The Housewife, which appeared for much of the 1920s and 1930s, despite the fact that for many the housewife was not a political category nor were housewives generally understood as working women. From the outset the changing use of terminology revealed much about wider understandings of the boundaries of ‘the domestic’, the extent to which the home might be understood as a political space, and housewives as engaged citizens. The target audience for the journal was the growing number of women members of the Labour Party. The 1918 Representation of the People Act created a mass, if not yet fully democratic, electorate where all men over twenty-one and most women over thirty could vote. In response, the Labour Party created a new structure for the party that included individual party membership. Women responded to this opportunity with enthusiasm: by 1922 there were about 100,000 women party members. This peaked at 300,000 in 1927 and then fell to below 250,000 by 1931 (Pugh 1992: 131). However, there was a huge discrepancy between the numbers of male and female activists at all levels of the party. Labour Woman’s purpose, therefore, was as much to engage with the challenge of translating the passive woman member into an activist, as to recruit women to the Labour Party. The journal was distributed through the party rather than being available commercially at bookstalls. Occasionally effort was made to extend its reach, for example by placing it in a local Free Library or by securing more advertising (May 1932: 79; Oct 1930: 153). Readers were asked in 1930 what they required in a political journal for working women. The key issue was the balance between what one called ‘the more serious part of the journal’ and the overtly domestic material (Sep 1930: 133). The editorial response was that: While we do not wish to reduce the space for solid, informative matter, we want to include lighter and useful hints for the home. Just as a man likes to read of his own work and recreations so does a woman want to have something about her workshop – the home – and her leisure hour (when she gets them!) pursuits. (Sep 1930: 133) One reader asked for a page on knitting and crochet, but another took a rather different view: ‘Cookery I never look at. I am fed up with getting meals and hate the sight of a recipe’ (Sep 1930: 133). After canvassing views, it was noted: ‘Home Notes of all sorts are in general demand, though a few say, “please don’t!”’(Oct 1930: 153). Working out what attracted women readers was an issue for all interwar political parties who created journals directed at actual and potential women members: the Conservative Party’s Home & Politics (launched in 1921) and the Liberal Party’s Liberal Women’s News (begun in 1925). The most successful was Home & Politics which was not modelled, to any great extent, on commercial women’s magazines of the period (Jarvis 1994: 132). Mostly focusing on political news and articles, Home

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& Politics also included advice on household chores, cookery, and dress. It has been argued that ‘[i]ncorporating these ostensibly non-political features into party literature was seen as vital in appealing to women, especially those of the lower middle and working class’ (Thackeray 2013: 39). This fits with a long-standing view of women as essentially apolitical, and requiring political messages to be disguised or sweetened for consumption. Home & Politics was not alone in its knowing nod to ‘the woman who we have all canvassed who, with a disdainful toss of the head, scornfully remarks, “I don’t meddle with politics; I leave that to the men and get on with the home”’ (quoted in Jarvis 1994: 142). This view was apparent right across the political spectrum from before this period. These deep-seated assumptions created the context for the awkward balance struck between domesticity and politics in the magazines addressed to women by the interwar political parties. Although the housewife might seem to be the obvious figure to address, she was not always engaged with directly. One of the most successful features in Home & Politics was a series of short stories that featured Mrs Maggs, a charlady, and Betty, the maid. It is striking that these characters, mouthpieces for a series of debates about women and politics, were domestic labourers rather than housewives. David Jarvis, historian of women and the Conservative Party, notes of these stories that the ‘routine of domestic chores which makes up these women’s lives provides a readily identifiable setting for their political discussions and an inexhaustible source of metaphor’ (1994: 133). What it was not was a way of taking the housewife (in all her heterogeneity) seriously as a citizen in her own right. The fact that a number of Conservative constituency women’s associations organised events where scenes from the stories were acted out in full costume suggests the distance these ‘characters’ had from Conservative women’s own everyday experience (Jarvis 1994: 133–4). This chapter asks whether Labour Woman was any more successful in engaging with the actual experience of housewives across the interwar period, providing space where they might speak for themselves.

Labour Woman Labour Woman was designed to speak to, with, and for women in the Labour Party. It was edited by the Chief Women’s Officer after that role was created by the party in 1919. In the interwar period this meant two formidable women: Marion Phillips (1881–1932), who was editor even after she became an MP in 1929 until her premature death, and then Mary Sutherland (1895–1972). Within the interwar Labour Party, Labour Woman’s role was to form part of the new structure for women members that included women’s sections, regional women’s organisers and an annual conference, all co-ordinated by the chief women’s officer. However, this structure, and its powers in relation to the parent party, was contentious. Women’s sections were not mandatory and were resisted in some areas. Marion Phillips reported in 1922 that in some urban areas ‘there is a feeling that to have a women’s section with its own officers is to divide the sexes and create sex war’ (June 1922: 85). This was to be an anxiety throughout the interwar period for some female as well as male party members. As a consequence, women’s sections were slow to start, were not always tenacious, and were never ubiquitous – much depended on local political cultures (Hunt 2005). This meant that the potential audience and appetite for Labour Woman varied across the country and between individual local Labour parties.

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The journal was a mix of reports on activities of local Labour Party women’s sections and on their regional and national conferences together with articles on key issues of the day usually written by leading Labour women, information to focus discussion within women’s sections as well as readers’ letters, occasional fiction, and various columns including one for children, together with some advertising material. Its cost was 2d (the same price as commercial domestic weeklies for women), with a subscription offered with postage for 3s a year. For most of the period, each edition had a new image on the cover which underlined the audience and appeal of the journal. So, to take a random issue, in June 1930 the cover was a striking black-andwhite print by Paul Nash captioned ‘Who rules the world?’ (Figure 15.1). It showed an aproned woman in a scullery standing with her hands in a sink washing up, with kitchen utensils on shelves around her. This was unlike the images on the covers of commercial women’s magazines. It was neither a glamourous modern housewife nor an illustration designed to elicit sympathy for the effects of economic depression on many working-class households: both ways in which the interwar housewife might be figured. At the same time neither was it an image of empowerment: the woman’s gaze is on her task and does not engage the viewer. Nor, of course, was it an image created by the housewife herself. Once inside the covers of Labour Woman, how was the housewife represented? Even before women were admitted into citizenship, Labour Woman was exploring the relationship between the ordinary housewife and politics. In 1914, the WLL activist Lisbeth Simm argued that ‘Working women must add politics to the list of primary duties of home-making . . . The home-woman should know best the needs of the home and she must learn to express herself as one who knows.’ But she argued against the common idea that ‘women are only capable of bringing into public life the domestic side and energy of home life’ (Mar 1914: 172, 171). By implication both the notion of domesticity and the political agenda had to be expanded. Simm also made the case that the working-class housewife was just as much a working woman (the phrase used in the subtitle of Labour Woman) as any woman engaged in paid labour. Yet the word housewife was barely used in the early years of Labour Woman, and only very occasionally did women contributors use it to describe themselves. Again and again the more inclusive yet ambiguous term ‘working woman’ was used – which muddied both a woman’s social class and also her relationship to the labour market. When a series of six classes on citizenship was outlined in the journal in anticipation of the 1918 general election, the terms used for women were wives, mothers, married working women but not housewives (June 1918: 14). The majority of the new women voters in the first decade of female enfranchisement were working-class housewives. It made sense to engage with them as a distinct group, yet the language of ‘the housewife’ was often deployed with carelessness and inconsistency right across the political spectrum (Hunt and Hannam 2013; Hunt 2014). The figure of the housewife fades in and out of view in the pages of Labour Woman across the interwar period. The run-up to elections provided an opportunity to engage with the housewife as a specific subset of women, with assumed interests and characteristics. This is more apparent in the 1920s than later in the period. For example, in an analysis of Labour women and the 1922 general election, the only housewives mentioned were a somewhat reluctant audience. Approached in their neighbourhoods,

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Figure 15.1 Paul Nash, Cover, Labour Woman. (Source: Labour Woman June 1930)

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women were drawn out into the back streets to hear speakers who specially tailored their message to ‘the woman in the home’. It was argued that this form of canvassing was particularly effective at reaching isolated housewives including those whose poverty meant they lacked respectable clothes to go out in (‘a much larger group than many suppose’), those who were ‘so tied to their household duties’ that they could not leave home, as well as those women ‘who boast that their sole interest lies in scrubbing and cleaning. They have no time to meddle with politics’ (Jan 1923: 7). The housewife represented here was a challenge to organised Labour women, trapped by and even embracing the burden of domestic drudgery. Labour had to demonstrate the relevance of politics to these women’s daily lives (Hunt 2012). In that election one of the ways in which Labour Woman encouraged their readers to galvanise the women’s vote was to stress that Labour would provide a million cottages ‘as women want them’. They asked ‘Is Women’s Place the Home? Then see that it is a good place to live in. VOTE LABOUR AND HAVE A GOOD HOME’ (Nov 1922: 169). Here there is a recognition that the domestic sphere was not separate from the concerns of politics and that the archetypal domestic figure of the housewife could gain from using her vote even if she accepted that women’s place was the home. At election time most parties used the trope of the housewife as Chancellor of the Exchequer of the home and it can be found in Labour Woman too (June 1933: 168; see Thackeray 2013). For Labour this was shorthand for the effect of the rising cost of living, particularly food prices, and the extent to which food taxes exacerbated the situation. The wider inter-party debate about free trade versus protectionism was translated into a polemic that focused on the prices of everyday items that the housewife had to, or wished to be able to, purchase for her family from the depleted contents of her purse. In the 1920s politicians wanted to be seen as the friend of the newly enfranchised housewife, as one Labour Woman front cover had it: ‘Mr Snowden’s Friend: The Housewife’ (Aug 1924: cover). Philip Snowden was Chancellor of the Exchequer during the short-lived minority Labour government of 1924. Only seven years later Snowden was seen very differently in Labour Woman: ‘The National Government has betrayed the women. Mr Snowden, who was once the Housewife’s Friend, is now her enemy’ (Oct 1931: 146). The journal went on to explain to its readers how the national government’s austerity measures were ‘leaving the housewife to face the battle with the shops unprotected and shorn of part of her income by the cuts’. The 1931 crisis which tore the Labour Party apart might have been in the realm of high politics, but Labour Woman’s editor underlined its ramifications for everyday domestic life: ‘It is difficult for a woman who has to spend her time in looking after a home, in cooking, cleaning, and mending – and worrying about Friday’s money lasting the week out, to understand just what has happened. But I do ask her to have a try.’ Marion Phillips went on to explain the origins of the international economic crisis. But she then interrupted herself: ‘Just stop dusting the kitchen or peeling the potatoes or whatever you are busy with, and try and follow this because your very existence depends on you voting right, and to do so you must know why’ (Oct 1931: 146). Across the years one can hear Phillips’s frustration and her sense of urgency as the connection between the domestic world of the working-class housewife and the public world of politics was revealed if only her readers could see it. Here was a moment when the new woman citizen was addressed directly, not as a mother or worker, but

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as a housewife whose views and actions could, and according to Phillips should, make a difference. But this was not the first time that Labour Woman had addressed the housewife as an audience.

The Housewife Column At the beginning of 1920 a new column was introduced in Labour Woman, not called household hints or recipes (although it was to contain an increasing amount of both), but The Housewife. This suggests a distinct identity for a significant part of the journal’s readership. Mapping how this new dedicated space was used over the interwar period reveals how the housewife was understood by Labour women and the extent to which this changed over the period. The column soon arrived at the format that would dominate for the rest of the period: a full page of two, later three, columns with a series of subheadings in bold, headed by a title banner illustration. The contents and to some extent the purpose of The Housewife was to change from a more explicit political reading of the housewife to one where the domestic details of housewifery came to the fore. The subheadings in the early years suggest the issues which were associated with the housewife, for example Food Prices / Sugar / Save Labour & Worry / Who gets our food? (Aug 1920: 122). February 1921 saw the first Notes from the Kitchen section within the column, with a recipe to provide nourishment without using meat. To begin with this did not change the approach taken in the rest of the column. For example, in November that year The Housewife had a section on public wash houses, one on cheap municipal milk, as well as recipes for barley and lentil soups and an advert for Bournville cocoa. For each topic, detailed examples were given and suggestions were made as to how housewives might respond: ‘if they bring sufficient pressure to bear they should be able to get their own local authorities to start similar [milk] depots, especially with this very successful example to quote’ (Nov 1921: 181). The early years of The Housewife were more explicitly class-conscious than the later. In 1922 the future of Princess Mary, who was about to marry, was contrasted with working-class women of the same age who had to begin married life not in ‘her beautiful homes’ but in a room in their mother’s house (Mar 1922: 45). The injustice of the economic system was underlined in a later discussion on the cost of dresses. It was claimed that a very modest dress allowance for a lady of say £500 a year would clothe a working-class family of five for thirty-eight years or would clothe a working woman for roughly 200 years (May 1922: 79). Here fashion illustrated the pernicious effect of the class system, but later the column would address this issue in a rather different way by publishing a monthly free dress pattern so that readers could make at home the kind of clothing which looked very much like the fashion plates of commercial women’s magazines. Whether this was a response to the competition of these publications was never acknowledged in Labour Woman. Although the injustice of class difference might have become less explicit in The Housewife from the mid-1920s, class did not disappear from Labour Woman’s representation of the housewife. In 1938 Mary Sutherland, now editor, used unequivocal language: ‘Capitalism . . . It is the housewife who pays for this needlessly wasteful system’ (June 1938: 88). Class was also apparent in the intervening period when the magazine shared the experiences of working-class housewives struggling to feed

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families on low, intermittent wages and particularly on the dole. There were recurrent debates about how much it really cost to feed a family of five, in order to expose the inadequacies of the dole. Sharing ways of stretching what you had, as had been encouraged in wartime, was another way of coping hence the growing importance of household hints to The Housewife page. Another strategy was to ask readers for weekly budgets to demonstrate how they managed their resources and to challenge claims made in the mainstream press, by government or ‘experts’. These were increasingly political issues as the disputed figure for minimum weekly subsistence for a family of five was used to fix the levels of public assistance to the families of the unemployed. As with pre-war social surveys that had used household budgets such as Maud Pember Reeves’s Round about a Pound a Week (1913), this information could be used to make a broader case about the effects of poverty particularly on the women who had to manage in such constrained circumstances. The use of household budgets in The Housewife, therefore, was partly to inform readers for whom this was not their direct experience, as well as to provide mutual support for those who were struggling. In both cases the collection of household budgets was a tool to politicise the question by reducing national economic issues to a domestic and human scale, which made them more accessible but also more powerful. This approach was particularly apparent when the cost of living became the focus for discussion in Labour Woman. It was always understood to be pre-eminently an issue for housewives, but not just for them. In 1925 it was commented, ‘The housewife is waking up, and it is the business of Labour women to see that she does so to good purpose’ (Feb 1925: 30). To begin with it was one of the topics covered in the more political version of The Housewife of the early 1920s, but it later migrated into the adjacent pages of Labour Woman. The cost of living, particularly the price of food, connected politicised women with the everyday experience of the unorganised working-class woman voter as well as the many women who were only paper members of the party. Fundamental was the recognition, as Mary Sutherland argued, that ‘The woman in the home is more interested in today’s bread than tomorrow’s war, and we shall win her for the Labour Party if we speak to her first on the things in which she is most interested’ (June 1938: 89). However, that did not mean simply sharing experiences and grievances. The key message to housewives was that women could do something: they had agency. An example was Labour women’s 1938 crusade against the cost of living: ‘We are going on the doorstep to organise the strong resentment of women against dear food and coal and clothes, and we must convert that resentment into effective protest against the poverty system’ (Jan 1938: 4). Their petition gathered the signatures of 700,000 housewives. At a large campaign rally, one housewife said, ‘A rise in the price of food is not an abstract problem to the housewife . . . The problem of getting food is mental torture’ (Apr 1938: 57). Crucial was the recognition that working-class housewives were, as Mary Sutherland said, ‘workers with a special job to do’ and they should demand their right to better incomes and fair prices. ‘These demands take us down to everyday questions which all women know and understand’ (June 1938: 89). This was not the usual stuff of politics, yet campaigns like this had a transformative capacity: to expand the political agenda to accommodate concerns previously understood to be domestic and beyond politics, while at the same time linking politicised women to the experiences of unorganised women in the home.

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The treatment of food in The Housewife demonstrates how the column changed over the interwar period. To begin with it was clearly represented as a political issue which should determine how a woman voted: for Labour ‘which favours control of the people’s food’ or the Coalition ‘that sacrifices the workers’ table to the profiteer’ (Apr 1920: 53). The causes of high prices were explained and advice was given to avoid costly branded goods (Aug 1920: 122; Apr 1925: 55). For a time, The Housewife page disappeared, from August 1925 to January 1928, replaced briefly by Food Problems. On its return The Housewife was much more domestic in focus, consisting of three columns, two of which were given over to Hints to the Housewife including recipes and a monthly Housewives Competition with a prize of 2s 6d. The third column explored a more political topic, such as maternal mortality. The latter space was often eaten into by adverts, most of which did not engage specifically with the housewife. The number of recipes appearing in Labour Woman had already become contentious. In 1925, increasing industrial tension meant that the editor felt ‘almost ashamed of giving any recipes this month. It seems to be almost an insult to talk of how you shall cook food, when the chief difficulty may be to get it at all’ (Aug 1925: 133). In 1930, there were complaints that the recipes were too dear. The reply was that food that was cheap was often nasty. Readers were asked what they needed so that Labour Woman’s own cook could come up with appropriate recipes (Oct 1930: 148). Requests for recipes could reveal much about the readers’ world. In 1935 one asked for the 1928 recipe for Christmas pudding, as that had been the last year in which her husband was in work. Now that he had a job again she wanted to repeat the recipe that they had so enjoyed (Dec 1935: 188). Increasingly, however, The Housewife contained recipes and household hints with no reference to the housewife herself except in the title of the column. It now appeared to be much like housewifery pages in the mainstream press. The difference was the context: the wider politics of the home in the rest of Labour Woman, and the recognition that the readers were working-class housewives for whom cost was critical. This was not cookery or homemaking for display and status-marking, but nor was it housewifery linked to the wider world beyond the home. Nevertheless, this had not always been the case. Across the early 1920s topics included in The Housewife were often about the kind of ‘practical politics’, as one column put it, which would ameliorate the drudgery of the working-class housewife (Dec 1920: 187). They described municipal attempts to provide collective aspects of housekeeping, whether washing or cooking. Here one can see the hand of Labour Woman’s editor Marion Phillips, who served on the Consumers’ Council from its formation in 1918 and fought for its continuing relevance in the peace, including in The Housewife (Hilton 2002). After the end of rationing in 1920 and the abolition of the Consumers’ Council in 1921, these themes faded but they did not disappear. Housework was also the subject of articles in Labour Woman. Few columns engaged with contemporary debates about how technology might ameliorate the working conditions of the modern housewife. Economic questions, instead, were to the fore. In ‘The Cost of Cleanliness’ the issue was how much it really cost a month to keep a house and person clean as this was of ‘such very great importance in the life of every housewife’ (Mar 1926: 34). The Housewife had a piece on spring cleaning, including the best colours for new wallpapers. Reflecting the dominant discourse on domesticity, the author took the view that ‘Men build houses, but women make homes’ (Apr 1930: 52; see also Hunt 2007).

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Discussions were determinedly practical. One essay competition asked the housewife for a timetable of how she managed her housework so that she could have some time to garden or get out of the house (June 1935: 92). Another asked for readers’ views on the all-electric house (Jan 1935: 12). The topic of the scientific management of housework, seen by historians to be a key feature of interwar domestic modernity (Giles 2004), appeared only once in The Housewife. It was argued, I wish the experts would remember that the greatest workmaker in the homes of most working-class mothers is POVERTY. Poverty not only prevents most of them from buying labour-saving equipment, but poverty adds to the housewife’s manual work as well as to her mental worry . . . I am all for the introduction of scientific methods and equipment in the home to ensure more leisure for the housewife, and the first essential towards that is a decent income for the housewife. (Aug 1935: 124) As a consequence the possibilities for new technologies to transform housework seem to have been of passing interest to interwar Labour Woman, setting it apart from the dominant narrative of interwar domestic modernity. The Housewife, in contrast, increasingly gave a good deal of its space to practical advice, often derived from housewives themselves. The focus was on making goods such as lampshades, cleaning materials or foods rather than on craft-making as a leisure activity, which tended to be the approach of commercial women’s magazines (Hackney 2006). The area where the column came closest to emulating contemporary magazines for women was its treatment of clothing. There was advice on what was best to wear when doing housework: a cotton dress as a kind of overall, neatly made with short sleeves to the elbows and a full cap of the same material. The housewife could look ‘nice’ while she worked. This had an important benefit: it made ‘the work itself less of a drudgery’ (Feb 1923: 21). Fashion was very occasionally discussed but in class rather than aesthetic terms, as in a debate about whether the short skirt re-created a class distinction in dress, as it was implied that long skirts were expensive and impractical (Aug 1930: 116). When the word fashion was used within The Housewife page, it was generally thought to refer to others – to gay young girls rather than the housewife (Oct 1930: 148). In 1930 a free pattern – for a smart and useful frock to be made easily at home – appeared on a separate page in Labour Woman. By 1933 it was a permanent and large part of The Housewife column. Readers praised the service which produced a new pattern each month for a brassiere and knickers or a smart tennis frock, as well as dresses for women and for children. Many appeared to be technically demanding. All were represented by a line drawing of a glamorous slim young woman with shingled hair, the nearest thing that Labour Woman came to a fashion plate. The images sit rather uneasily with the continuing representation of the working-class housewife in the text, who might be resilient and even a Labour activist but she was usually older, less healthy or relaxed, and seemed to be so time-poor that it was hard to see when she could wear all these clothes, let alone find the time to make them. She was altogether less modern and metropolitan than the dress patterns suggested. The visual representation of the housewife in Labour Woman across the interwar period does suggest some uncertainty about who she was. Like Nash’s 1930 cover illustration, the first banner headline for The Housewife column showed a woman

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engaged in domestic work, in this case cooking on a kitchen range (Apr 1920: 53). However, later the following year this banner changed. While the woman in the kitchen remained on the right of the title, she was joined on the left by a woman standing in the street in a hat and coat, a basket over one arm and a parcel under the other, holding the hand of a small child (May 1921: 77). Unlike its predecessor this suggested that the housewife could occupy both private and public space with confidence, and that the column was concerned with domesticity and the home and the public world of politics, and that the two were linked by the title words, The Housewife. By 1930, the year when Nash’s cover appeared, the banner illustration changed again. Now a woman’s face was superimposed on the outside of a house with washing and brooms outside it, while the left of the title displayed such kitchen items as jars of flour and crockery. Once again, the only associations were domestic. But was this how the housewife saw herself? The Housewife did offer a space for housewives to move from the role of passive reader to that of speaking and even acting for themselves, although that does not seem to have been its principal purpose. The concerns of the column could be a springboard to the kind of political activity reported elsewhere in Labour Woman, such as consumer boycotts (Nov 1933: 168). Occasionally authors explicitly identified themselves with their audience, as in the phrase ‘we housewives’ or ‘us as homemakers’ (Feb 1923: 21; Apr 1930: 52). In September 1935, it was noted that the column had a new temporary author – Labour Woman’s editor – as ‘the Housewife who looks after this column’ had gone on holiday (Sep 1935: 140). This is as near as we get to the identity of the author of the column. Beyond the column there were occasional pieces clearly authored by housewives such as One Housewife to Another, where a woman in London wrote to her friend in a rural village (June 1932: 83). Aside from letters, the unmediated voice of the housewife was heard most often in reply to questions directly soliciting her views or in response to the Housewives Competition. However, it was in supplying versions of recipes or household hints that the actual voices of housewives were heard most often in Labour Woman within the space specifically designed for them: The Housewife column. Some readers’ views as self-identified housewives also appeared. One wrote of women’s sections as ‘the housewife’s trade union’. Her description of their work in the 1930s showed no retreat into domesticity: ‘It has increased the self-respect of homeworkers all over the country, and helped us to put a higher value on ourselves, not only as citizens and mothers, but as workers entitled to ask, as our right, proper conditions for the job we have chosen to do’ (May 1939: 72).

Conclusion The dominant view of the interwar Labour women’s movement has been that the 1930s saw a decline in its vigour and assertiveness, overwhelmed by the cult of domesticity (Pugh 1992; Graves 1994). Local studies have already revealed a rather different picture where Labour women’s neighbourhood activities saw connections forged between Labour women and their unorganised sisters over everyday issues that included food prices and housing as well as the conditions of maternity (Hunt 2005; Tanner 2005). The relentless demands of daily domestic life did not have to cut women off from political engagement, as many continue to assume, but they

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were undoubtedly a constraint. Labour women increasingly recognised that new kinds of conversations had to be devised between the activist and ‘the woman in the home’. One way to reach her, particularly the housewife who was an inactive member of the party, was through Labour Woman. Its contents could then encourage her to become more engaged herself. In 1932 Mrs Blackmore wrote to Labour Woman describing what involvement in a women’s section meant to her. Not only had she become a better citizen through it, but also We even become more efficient housewives as a result of an interest in national and world affairs – getting on with the work at home with good heart and will to give us time to spend on the work we get to love, as we realise its value to ourselves and the rest of the community. (Oct 1932: 155) New spaces and issues were crucial to this kind of outcome. Everyday life, traditionally assumed to be beyond politics, was the terrain where such interactions could begin. Such a space was The Housewife column. What is striking about the column is not so much the increasing space given to dress patterns and household hints, but how radical the conception of the housewife and her interests were at the outset of the column. Viewed in isolation from the rest of Labour Woman, The Housewife column might seem to provide evidence for the domestication of politics in the 1930s. Yet by situating it within the context of Labour Woman, it is apparent that there remained an important place for the working-class housewife in what was self-consciously a ‘political monthly for working women’ created by Labour women. For them interwar domesticity was neither cosy nor rationalised and modern, it was a space which provided the means to engage with the everyday lives of ordinary women.

Works cited Andrews, Maggie. 1997. The Acceptable Face of Feminism: The Women’s Movement as a Social Movement. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Beaumont, Caitríona. 2013. Housewives and Citizens. Domesticity and the Women’s Movement in England, 1928–64. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Giles, Judy. 1995. Women, Identity and Private Life in Britain, 1900–50. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. —. 2004. The Parlour and the Suburb: Domestic Identities, Class, Femininity and Modernity. Oxford: Berg. Graves, Pamela. 1994. Labour Women: Women in British Working-Class Politics, 1918–39. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hackney, Fiona. 2006. ‘“Use your hands for happiness”: home craft and make-do-and-mend in British women’s magazines in the 1920s and 1930s.’ Journal of Design History 19.1: 23–68. Hilton, Matthew. 2002 ‘The female consumer and the politics of consumption in twentieth century Britain.’ Historical Journal 45.1: 103–28. Hunt, Karen. 2005. ‘Making Politics in Local Communities: Labour Women in Interwar Manchester.’ Labour’s Grass Roots: Essays on the Activities and Experiences of Local Labour Parties and Members, 1918–45. Ed. Matthew Worley. Aldershot: Ashgate. 79–101. —. 2007. ‘Gendering the Politics of the Working Woman’s Home.’ Women and the Making of Built Space, 1870–1950. Ed. Elizabeth Darling and Lesley Whitworth. Aldershot: Ashgate. 107–22.

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—. 2012. ‘The Local and the Everyday: Interwar Women’s Politics.’ The Local Historian 42.4: 266–79. —. 2014. ‘A Heroine at Home: The Housewife on the First World War Home Front. The Home Front in Britain: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences since 1914. Ed. Maggie Andrews and Janis Lomas. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 73–91. Hunt, Karen and June Hannam. 2013. ‘Towards an Archaeology of Interwar Women’s Politics: The Local and the Everyday.’ The Aftermath of Suffrage. Women, Gender and Politics in Britain, 1918–1945. Ed. Julie Gottlieb and Richard Toye. London: Palgrave. 124–41. Jarvis, David. 1994. ‘Mrs Maggs and Betty. The Conservative appeal to women voters in the 1920s.’ Twentieth Century British History 5.2: 129–52. Pugh, Martin. 1992. Women and the Women’s Movement in Britain, 1914–1959. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Schwartz Cowen, Ruth. 1983. More Work for Mother. New York: Basic Books. Tanner, Duncan. 2005. ‘Gender, civic culture and politics in South Wales: explaining Labour municipal policy, 1918–39.’ Labour’s Grass Roots: Essays on the Activities and Experiences of Local Labour Parties and Members, 1918–45. Ed. Matthew Worley. Aldershot: Ashgate. 170–93. Thackeray, David. 2013. ‘From Prudent Housewife to Empire Shopper: Party Appeals to the Female Voter, 1918–1928.’ The Aftermath of Suffrage. Women, Gender and Politics in Britain, 1918–1945. Ed. Julie V. Gottlieb and Richard Toye. London: Palgrave. 37–53. Winship, Janice. 1987. Inside Women’s Magazines. London: Pandora.

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16 Friendship and Support, Conflict and Rivalry: Multiple Uses of the Correspondence Column in Childcare Magazines, 1919–39 Katherine Holden

And here I would like to say how much during my six-and a half years’ work at the PCC, I have appreciated the kindly feeling shown to me by many of the ‘old’ Nurses, who write regularly, tell us of their work, come to see us, and are equally interested in our progress. Their friendship and loyalty have been of the greatest help not only to me and to all the staff but to the younger nurses, for it is this esprit de corps which helps them to uphold and carry on the traditions of the college. (Dawber Princess Christian College Magazine Dec 1925: 5)

J

essie Dawber, principal of one of the leading training colleges for nannies and nursery nurses, wrote the passage above in 1925 in her editorial of the opening issue of the Princess Christian College (PCC) Magazine, a periodical produced mainly for the benefit of staff, students, and graduates of the college, but also read by PCC nurse employers. The college had opened in 1904 under royal patronage but, although the quarterly newsletter of its more famous rival the Norland Institute had been in production since the late nineteenth century (Stokes 1992: 14), this was the PCC’s first in-house magazine. Dawber’s message, therefore, was not simply to give thanks, but also to foster positive feelings and loyalty to the college among the new magazine’s readers. They were being invited to become members of a wider association of women with shared interests in the care of young children; and it was through the magazine’s correspondence column that a spirit of friendship and community, and also loyalty to the college, would be most easily achieved. Dawber’s position in charge of a college magazine was rather different from editors of periodicals that were not attached to a specific organisation. Women’s magazine editors routinely sought letters for their correspondence columns which spoke to mutual interests and made connections between writers and readers unlikely ever to meet face to face. By this means all parties became members of what Benedict Anderson has termed an ‘imagined community’ with a shared identity (Anderson 1983; Beetham 2006: 232), in this case based on their interest in children and childcare. Shared identity did not, however, exclude conflicting viewpoints and not all correspondence columns’ purposes were identical, with editorial controls varying in nature and purpose.

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Periodicals with a general audience might offer friendship and support through their columns, but also looked for letters which showcased conflicts and difficulties. These were published partly for their entertainment value but also to show readers that their problems were not unique. This may explain why, as Cynthia L. White found in her classic study of women’s magazines, the letters page became one of the most popular features during the twentieth century with the average reader turning to it before reading anything else (White 1970: 128). This chapter analyses selected correspondence between the two world wars from nursery-nurse college newsletters, the PCC Magazine, and the Norland Quarterly (the latter received by subscription only) and compares letters in their columns with those sent to a mainstream women’s domestic magazine, Nursery World. These titles have been selected because they had different though overlapping target audiences. The college magazines would have been read by upper-class and middle-class mothers who could afford a trained nanny and by the predominantly middle-class student nannies, as well as working nannies and ex-nannies who had trained at the colleges; Nursery World had a wider remit.1 Although it too was targeted mainly at a middleclass audience, its correspondence columns carried letters from nannies of all classes, employers of untrained as well as trained nannies, mothers with general servants who helped with the children, and some who had no paid help with childcare. With these audiences in mind, the various ways the columns were used by readers will be explored, highlighting the central part these magazines played as one of the very few spaces in which conflicts between nannies and their employers could be aired and tensions between them mediated. The expansion of nursery training and a new focus on the importance of educating as well as caring for young children meant that Nursery World, which first appeared in 1925, filled a significant gap in the market. Claiming to be ‘the only magazine in the Kingdom devoted to the greatest profession in the world – the profession of the nursery’ (3 Dec 1925: 1), it seems to have been unique among mainstream women’s magazines in its assumption that the interests of both mother and nanny needed to be addressed. Like the college magazines, Nursery World contained articles written by experts on different aspects of childcare: physical, mental, educational and emotional life. At 2d a copy, however, it was much less expensive than the PCC Magazine (which only appeared annually and cost 1s 6d) and was similar in appearance and frequency to the ubiquitous tuppenny domestic weekly women’s magazines. The nanny or child’s perspective was not often considered in periodicals or fiction, which rather tended to focus on the ‘servant problem’. These were the relationships of domestic service between women of differing levels of social status, wealth, and power which increased in complexity as social barriers were breaking down. Fraught with opportunities for conflict and rivalry but also based around mutual needs and interdependencies, they have been increasingly recognised by scholars as integral to our understanding of domesticity and women’s labour in the twentieth century (Giles 2009; Light 2007; Delap 2011). Service relationships have been discussed in relation to women’s modernist novels, where authors’ empowerment as writers rested on the labours of the servants they felt obliged to employ (Wilson 2013), but as Judy Giles has suggested, such relationships also encompassed affection and mutual dependence and ‘masked a range of often deeply felt emotions’ (Giles 2009: 218). Yet, while scholars have been increasingly seeking the servant’s viewpoint, most stories are told, as in

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E. M. Delafield’s novels Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930), from the perspective of the employer. The ‘servant problem’ continued to be the most cited example of the social chasm between the classes’ (Delap 2011: 74), with periodicals such as Punch and Good Housekeeping featuring cartoons of servants who did not know their place and mistresses separating quarrelling servants.2 Few magazines considered the position of domestic workers as readers. For example, Modern Woman in the late 1920s had an audience mainly of middle-class and lower-middle-class women who were unlikely to have been able to afford a live-in nanny, but may have kept or aspired to keep a general servant whose duties included childcare. This magazine had mothercraft features and a children’s page, yet it was rare for any domestic workers to write to its agony aunt Leonora Eyles (Hackney 2016: 116). An increasing number of women’s magazines of this kind sought to blur the boundaries between the classes of servant-keeping and servant-less women by foregrounding the figure of the housewife as domestic manager (Giles 1995: 3–6) and largely ignoring her helpers. The falling birth rate and smaller families after the war, together with declining numbers of residential domestic servants led to greater involvement by middle-class mothers, not just with housework but also in their children’s upbringing (Holden 2013: 87; Gittins 1982: 34). This meant that Nursery World’s launch in 1925 was timely and also marked the point when the importance of educating nannies was becoming more widely recognised through the formation of the Association of Nursery Training Colleges. The appearance of these new initiatives reflects rising interest in childcare as a career and a vocation for middle-class young women during the interwar years (Nursery World 16 Dec 1925: 87). Although the great majority of childcare workers were still working class and mostly learned on the job, from the late nineteenth century children’s nursing had become a recognised occupation for respectable young women, particularly those without sufficient education to become teachers or governesses. Many families wanted their nannies to be trained in the latest childcare theories and practice and, in response to this demand, qualifications soon became more widely available. In her book on careers for women, Eyles stressed that ‘The days of the uneducated “Nanny” are over’ and that the growing demand for educated young women meant that salaries would rise to as high as £80 a year plus board and keep (1930: 103). The importance of nannies being educated to do childcare, rather than simply learning on the job was a frequent topic of discussion amongst upper-class and middle-class mothers. Yet as childcare grew in social significance and sharing care with nurses and nannies became more common, so too did the opportunities for conflict. The fact that a trained nanny might now come from a similar background to the family she worked for, and/or had greater expertise in childcare theory and practice meant that mothers often struggled with boundaries. All these concerns are reflected in correspondence columns during the 1920s.

Consensus and Conflict in the Letters Page As noted earlier, a principal purpose of correspondence columns was to maintain a sense of group bonding and, in the case of childcare magazines, to put often lonely mothers and nannies in touch with one another. Nursery World’s correspondence

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column ‘Over the Teacups’ borrowed its name from an earlier title, Woman at Home (Beetham and Boardman 2001: 166). Conveying a sense that readers were meeting in person for a cosy chat, the editor originally aimed it at nurses, offering them the chance to exchange views of their experiences and gather inspiration: ‘Because we all know how apt molehills are to look like mountains when we brood over them alone and how they sink into their proper proportion when we talk them over with others’ (16 Dec 1925: 88). Yet it was not simply nurses who contributed, and the column soon brought into public view clashes and conflicts between parents and nannies. These seem to have been a subject of great interest to readers; they were prominent from the magazine’s inception and complaints were positively encouraged. For example, one mother’s concern about her ‘untidy’ nurse was met with the response: ‘I am delighted to hear from a Mother with a grievance’ (13 Jan 1926: 184), while another maternal complaint about the excessive demands of trained nurses was met with the rejoinder ‘now college nurses. I leave you to reply to this’ (3 Feb 1926: 236). Yet, while in early editions of the magazine the editor usually responded to letters directly, as the volume of correspondence increased correspondents were largely left to speak to one another without any mediating editorial voice. Correspondence columns have always had an important function in periodicals and newspapers, offering a voice to readers albeit mediated through editorial, and often featuring controversies which might increase circulation. A much-publicised Daily Telegraph correspondence in 1888 on the subject ‘Is Marriage a Failure?’, for instance, received 27,000 letters to the editor and ran for six weeks (Robson 1995: 38–9). Doubts have been cast on some correspondents’ authenticity, with letters selected for entertainment value alone, and sometimes invented by editors. Yet, as Beetham asserts, ‘The letters page . . . offers readers a place and some power to participate in negotiating the meaning of their social identity in public print.’ The letter embodied ‘a set of narrative and social conventions’ that readers recognised. It offered versions of women’s life stories for readers to match or contest, whatever the level of their sophistication as readers’ (Beetham 1998: 225–6). This was especially necessary for nannies, when they gave their versions of life stories anonymously, and expressed feelings which if openly voiced to an employer might have cost them their job. The difference is striking between nannies’ often quite dull and formulaic letters in private collections which tell their employers how good and happy the children are, and the much more entertaining and assertive ones they wrote to Nursery World, which described their conditions of service, the pros and cons of their relationships with parents and children, and complained about difficulties in their jobs (Holden 2013: 17). Mothers were equally frank. Often afraid to express their feelings directly to a nanny who could easily leave them without notice, they spoke their mind in no uncertain terms to Nursery World. In early editions complaints were made about their nannies’ ‘untidiness’, ‘hopelessly bourgeois’ ideas and unreasonable demands to be waited on by junior nurses or maids.3 While others countered these criticisms by explaining the importance of appreciating nannies, ensuring that they were ‘happy and comfortable’, offering them ‘the run of my bookshelves’, ‘extra outings’ and bringing up ‘sweets and fruits from the dinner table’ (27 Jan 1926: 232; 10 Feb 1926: 280). Aware of the importance of the column in encouraging this kind of correspondence, the editor responded to one mother by suggesting that her ‘grievance will melt away if properly tackled’; and to a nurse who objected to the tone of the letters because they were ‘apt

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to make nurses very discontented’, she maintained that ‘occasional grumbles’ acted, like thunder, as ‘a safety-valve’ to clear the air, while a talk with ‘congenial friends over difficulties does us all good’. However, sometimes it was better to ‘hold our peace’ than for nurses and mothers to confront one another directly when they had something unpleasant to say (3 Feb 1926: 256). Controversies were less characteristic of the PCC Magazine and the Norland Quarterly and when difficulties did arise anonymity was usual. While nannies and employers occasionally wrote about mutual disagreements, the importance of maintaining the appearance of a harmonious community to support the colleges’ aims was a priority for editors. The necessity for colleges to maintain a positive profile with employers made it more difficult for their students and former nurses to speak directly about problems in their job and, as examples below show, they were more likely to allude to them obliquely or in a more generalised way. As we shall also see, college magazine editors sometimes used the magazine to enforce college policies and criticise nurses who stepped out of line. The main focus of letters in the college magazines was to keep former students in touch and describe conditions that novice nannies were likely to encounter. Letters were chosen from nannies who would give a good account of their position, show the variety of experience they might gain, and praise their training. In 1925, for example, a letter to the PCC Magazine from a nurse looking after older children stressed her educative role providing arts and crafts lessons, based on the handiwork she had learned at college. The objects made by the children, moreover, were sent as gifts to parents. This would have been important as some upper-class and middle-class mothers’ and fathers’ relationship with their children was quite distant and had to be promoted by nannies, particularly while they were living apart (the PCC Magazine 1925: 11; Holden 2016: 149). It has been argued that from the late nineteenth century and beyond fathers ‘disciplined children, played with them, spent time educating them and even nursed them’ and Laura King claims that ‘by the 1930s . . . the father’s role was being simultaneously scrutinised and celebrated as never before’ (King 2012: 26). However, the reality for some fathers appears to have been very different. A mid-1920s correspondence between a mother and father in Nursery World exposed his feelings of being ‘an interloper in his own nursery’ and the encouragement he needed to play and read to his three young children in his own room (24 Feb 1926: 327). The PCC nanny whose arts and crafts lessons helped to maintain her charges’ parental contact did not mention the tedium of day-to-day childcare but rather stressed that she was learning new skills enabling her to participate in the children’s leisure activities: ‘I am hoping this winter to get books out of the library on fishing, and see if I can get lessons in the making of flies, and the methods of fly fishing.’ Particularly gratifying for the PCC Magazine editor would have been the line: ‘I help a good deal in the house with dusting and cooking and it is here that I have found my Domestic Science Training so important’ (1925: 11). However, it appears that not all college-trained nurses were so accommodating and a less congratulatory version of this relationship written from the mother’s perspective was published in Nursery World. Here ‘A nervous mother’ who was desperate to employ a trained nurse, explained that the PCC Nurse she was offered ‘(although she had 4 children in her last post) wanted a house with “at least 3 or 4 maids”’ while she [the mother] could ‘only accommodate and afford a cook-general’ [a general servant who did the cooking and housework] (3 Feb 1925: 256).

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Finding a nanny willing to help with housework was a perennial problem which became more urgent with the declining numbers of live-in domestic servants after the First World War. In a 1919 edition of the Norland Quarterly the college founder and editor, Mrs Ward, stressed the importance of the Norland domestic training, pointing out that few households now had their full complement of servants (Mar 1919: 10.) Older nurses came in for particular criticism with Norland Institute secretary Ethel Peacey berating them for ‘requiring the services of two housemaids’ (Mar 1919: 13). By the 1940s, when many more mothers than nannies were writing to Nursery World, the problem became even more acute with correspondents despairing of ever finding a nanny who was willing to do housework (Holden 2013: 143). Despite the promotional tone of the college magazines, conflicts between the staff and former student nurses can also be found in their pages. Yet, while letters which expressed criticism of the college might be published, the editor had the last word. In 1919, for example, in response to the principal Mrs Ward’s request in the Norland Quarterly for suggestions about the future of the Norland Institute, two ‘round robin’ jointly signed letters from nurses appeared expressing concerns about staff changes and reorganisation, and requesting the return of old members of staff. Their views were met with a strong rebuff that at no period in its history had ‘the nurses themselves been given the right to dictate to the Committee and Matron about the management of their institute’ (Mar 1919: 8–9, 11). It appears from this and other editorial responses that rather than simply being a forum for debate, the editor used the correspondence column to send out directives as to what was and was not acceptable at the college, and to quell any signs of dissent.

One of the Family? One important question, which underlay many of the interwar debates between mothers and nannies, was the relative importance of the authority and love of a mother and a nanny in households where much of the day-to-day physical care of children was still being left to the nanny. The difficulties this could create are suggested in the Norland Quarterly, when Mrs Ward asked Ethel Peacey to write a letter to the magazine criticising older nurses for ‘resenting the visits of parents to their own nurseries. Surely this cannot be right, for the parents’ claim on the child must be a prior one, and a nurse’s duty one of co-operation and support’ (Mar 1919: 13). While most nannies recognised this to be true, it could be difficult for them to express their feelings directly about the conflicts and heartache inherent in their position located as they were between mother and child. It was sometimes easier for these feelings to be voiced in fictionalised form. Thus, in Nursery World’s first venture into serialised fiction, ‘The Unexpected Adventure’ by Mills & Boon author Philippa Preston (whose serials also appeared in the national press), ambivalent feelings are expressed by a nanny, Virginia, about her employer, Christine, whose daughter had rejected her at bedtime: Too young to know that she was hurting her mother, she turned and held out her arms to Virginia [who] tried to shut from her mind the empty droop of Christine’s arms and of her hands as they lay on her lap that was still warm from the contact with the little girl’s body. (6 Jan 1926: 133)

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Nannies’ emotional reactions to situations of this kind did, however, sometimes emerge in letters in odd lines about the love and care they gave their charges, which were clearly heartfelt but could seldom be expressed more strongly. One PCC Magazine correspondent, for example, describing a troubled child who suffered from night terrors, rather wistfully explained how her charge had learnt that ‘Nannies can love almost as much as Mummies and Daddies’ (Dec 1925: 14). Another (heavily edited) letter from a nurse employed by a wealthy family with houses in France and Italy expressed mild exasperation that in travelling around Europe she had ‘to pack 43 pairs of boots and shoes for three children’ but ended with the line ‘I am very happy here and always feel I must do all I can for the children, they are left so much in my care’ (Dec 1925: 15). While neither correspondent criticised her employers directly, discomfort can be read between the lines in both these letters, which bring out the uncertainty of a nanny’s place. In Nursery World, problems relating to the relative authority of a mother and nanny were expressed more directly. One nurse was counselled not to worry or feel bitter when her advice to the mother was not always followed (16 Dec 1925: 88), while Miss Richie with seventeen years’ experience, complained bitterly about the difficulties she often had with mothers who wanted to pick their babies up when they cried and maintained that: ‘if a mother has a really good competent Nurse, would it not be better if she left Baby entirely to Nurse’ (23 Dec 1925: 112). This last letter, which initiated a debate about ‘interfering mothers’, must be viewed in the context of the leading childcare theories in this the period. Until the Second World War childcare training manuals were dominated by the ideas of the New Zealand-born writer Truby King and the American behaviourist psychologist John Watson who advocated strict routines, fresh air, and keeping a physical and emotional distance between mother or nanny and child (Hardyment 2007: 168–79; Richardson 1993: 32–6). Children’s nurses were taught to let children cry, with one text going as far as to advocate complete separation of a new-born baby for twentyfour hours from its mother, leaving it alone in a quiet room, and in the worst cases sedating it, in order to solve feeding problems (Kennedy 1930: 49). These views suited many nannies who found it easier to impose this kind of regime if children did not have too much maternal contact. Nannies responding to Miss Ritchie, however, were divided in their reactions. One agreed about the difficulties she had with a mother ‘fussing and worrying needlessly about baby’. Another, who sought consensus and received positive feedback from the editor, maintained that she wanted the mother ‘to share in the nursery life, and uphold my authority as I uphold hers’. But it was also clear that this policy was partly for her own benefit enabling her to go on holiday ‘knowing that the nursery routine will go smoothly, and that the children will be happy’ (13 Jan 1926: 134). Not all mothers, however, subscribed to the Truby King approach, with child-centred theories influenced by psychoanalysis becoming more visible by the end of the interwar period. Ursula, the wife of the psychiatrist John Bowlby, took a lead in this respect, giving her views to ‘Over the Tea cups’ on several occasions in the early 1940s. In 1939 she also recorded in a private journal her fury towards nurses who would not allow mothers to pick up their babies when they cried (Holden 2013: 91). While the college magazine editors did not encourage their correspondents to be too critical of mothers, the 1925–6 Nursery World columns featured a lively,

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long-running ‘interfering mothers’ debate with contributions from both mothers and nannies. The first mother to respond began her letter with the provocative challenge, ‘I suppose your column is open to Mothers as well as nurses for I am sure we have quite as many grievances to air’, but ended by pinpointing a problem for all mothers who employed nannies: their essential interdependence, which made open discussion of differences so difficult. These difficulties were heightened both by the professionalisation of nannies and the fact that they both lived and worked in the home where they were simultaneously both part of, and not part of, the family. Frustrated by the untidiness of her ‘good and kind’ nurse, she explained: ‘I don’t like to speak to her and I don’t want to part with her’ (13 Jan 1926: 184). The importance of staying in a post, for mother, nanny, and child, was discussed both in the college magazines and in Nursery World. The Norland Institute awarded a series of long-service medals for nannies and published the names of nurses who received them in the Norland Quarterly (July 1923: 3; Dec 1923: 36). Nursery World’s columnist Ursula Wise during the 1930s was also concerned with the issue of nanny continuity; Ursula Wise was the psychoanalyst Susan Isaacs who wrote books on child development (Graham 2009: 208). She saw some of the difficulties between mothers and nurses as rooted in mothers’ inability to recognise the importance of the relationship between nanny and child. This is apparent in her response to a letter from a nurse accused by her former employer of a having spoiled her child. Wise suggested that the loss of her nurse and disturbance of her accustomed routine had aroused ‘a general resentment in the child’s mind’ and was causing her headstrong behaviour. Mothers were advised to see problems such as a child’s refusal to use a pot as rooted in losing a nanny and not to change nurses too often (Isaacs 1968: 3–4, 48–50; Nursery World 12 Feb: 406, 408). The question of whether to stay in or leave a post commonly related to a nanny’s position as almost but not quite one of the family, and often centred around the question of time off. One nurse, concerned that if she left she would probably not find ‘such nice people and children’ again, expressed deep feelings of frustration that she never had a moment alone, even at night (Nursery World 20 Jan 1926: 208). And mothers’ dependence on their nannies to be there night and day was suggested by another nanny who was denied a fire in the nursery to sit by at night. When the nanny threatened to leave the children to go out for ‘half an hour’s run to get the blood circulating’, her demand for a fire was quickly granted by her employers (20 Jan 1926: 208). Yet even when nannies were well treated and stayed for long periods of time, the distinction between family and ‘not family’ remained. This can be read in a letter from a correspondent to the PCC Magazine working in New York State who had been with the same family for fourteen years: Our home is in Jamestown . . . I have been here since Sandy [the eldest child] was four months old. I think I am entitled to say ‘our’ don’t you? My employers who are very good to me encourage me to call it ‘home’ and think of it as ‘our.’ (1928: 5) When deciding to train as a nanny, foreign travel was regarded as an important perk of the job and the editors encouraged correspondence from nannies working abroad. America was a common destination and the differences between the USA and Britain were often explained in detail. One anonymous correspondent extolled the high salaries

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that could be commanded and luxuries in her post, but was less happy about working under the direction of a doctor in making decisions about babies’ diets, which ignored her expertise as a PCC-trained nanny. Yet she still strongly advised a job in America as beneficial for a nanny’s career. While this positive conclusion may have ensured publication, its author also casts light on the Jamestown nanny’s hesitation about using the term ‘our’: As a general rule, the nurse must make her own position as the status of a Lady Nurse is not really understood here . . . A nurse is not really made to feel she is one of the family. Provided she does her work faithfully and efficiently she is well paid for it, but her life is her own: in many ways she has more freedom than in England. Though this is a democratic country there are many slights to be endured by those earning their livelihood in other people’s homes. (1925: 10) In fact, the status of the Lady Nurse in England as ‘one of the family’ was not so straightforward and this letter highlights the uncertainties of class in interwar Britain. Norland and PCC colleges expected their students to be ‘ladies’ or ‘gentlewomen’ and this point was made in every Norland testimonial book. Employers were instructed that nurses were not to do heavy housework such as carrying coals, cleaning grates, or scrubbing floors, although dusting and making beds were allowed. More than this, it was the pretensions of some lady nurses that irked some employers. One father writing to the PCC Magazine in 1928 identified three categories; the nurse, the natural nurse, and the Lady Nurse. The nurse, described as being from a lower social class and categorised as ‘nannie’, was dismissed as having ‘acquired a certain amount of efficiency . . . dozens of children grow up despite her . . . and beyond a little mental warping, no particular harm is done’. The Lady Nurse, however, was the singled out for the sharpest censure: ‘She is to be avoided, since three quarters of her time is spent being a Lady and the other quarter being a nurse, an unfair division even for the socialistically inclined.’ This rage against the Lady Nurse, who does not know her place and will ‘pursue her daily duty amidst the ignorant incomprehension and misguided prejudice of those unnecessary evils, the parents’, contrasted with his worship of the natural nurse who he termed, ‘the Archangel Gabriel come to earth in female form’ (Dec 1928: 13–14). While written to amuse readers, the letter tells us much about the kinds of tensions middle-class educated nurses, who replaced the old-fashioned nanny, could provoke. The fact that it was published in a college magazine suggests the relative power of parents’ over nurses’ voices in these publications. Though the editor did not respond directly, it may have been a warning to PCC nurses that they should not pull rank over their employers. For a mother writing to Nursery World, the problem was not so much the ‘really well-bred’ Lady Nurse who was unaffordable or the increasingly rare old-fashioned nanny, but ‘the betwixt and between’, who was neither quite an ordinary servant nor ‘one’s equal’ and who often lapsed into ‘downright rudeness and objected to the term “mistress”’ (24 Feb 1926: 327). Employing a trained or better-educated nanny alongside fewer or no other servants made it less clear-cut as to how far a nanny should be cut off from the rest of the household (Holden 2013: 32). Long-running debates among mothers and

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nannies in both Nursery World and the PCC Magazine explored the virtues and vices of the old-fashioned nanny and the ‘modern’ usually college-trained nurse. An untrained nurse from ‘a good family’ who ‘speaks well’ was not treated as a social equal compared with a college-trained nurse who was employed by a near relation of the family (16 Dec 1925: 88). And a nursery governess (a position that required the work of both governess and nanny) explained that ‘it is so difficult and depressing when one does not speak at table, especially when company is present and they don’t speak to you. Will they think you stupid if you don’t address them?’ (30 Dec 1925: 136). These comments echo debates about the uncertain social status of governesses in the nineteenth century, still relevant between the wars. In larger households being ‘betwixt and between’ also could incur hostile behaviour from other servants. (Holden 2013: 41; Hughes 1993: 94). The correspondence above reflects important changes in social relations during the interwar years. With two thirds of the women in England and Wales who married in 1925 having two or fewer children and declining infant mortality rates, mothers now expected their offspring to survive (Gittins 1982: 33, 52). The interwar generation of middle-class and upper-class mothers used Nursery World and the college magazines to find out about the latest child-rearing theories and wanted greater involvement with their children’s upbringing. This made the likelihood of conflicts over maternal authority greater, particularly with nannies trained under more old-fashioned regimes or believing in different theories. Tensions were exacerbated still further by changes in nannies’ class position and professional authority and their ambivalent status as almost but not quite either family member, worker, or friend.

Loneliness, Friendship, and the Support of the Expert The difficulties reflected, particularly in the last two letters, offer a clue as to why loneliness was such a common theme in these magazine’s correspondence columns. With no obvious social equals and often living far away from their families, nannies used the magazines to make contact and cultivate friendships, while mothers, often equally isolated, also used the columns to seek out like-minded friends. Jenna Bailey’s book Can any Mother Help Me? charts the development of a long-lasting correspondence club between isolated mothers, beginning in 1935 after they had responded to a cry for help by ‘a mother of three’ in a letter to ‘Over the Teacups’ (2007: 5). Nannies formed similar friendship circles, often corresponding with their fellow students for many years after they had finished training (Holden 2013: 187). Subscriber address lists in college magazines helped nannies keep in touch and the letters page offered news of their fellow nurses. One nurse working in China stressed the pleasures of keeping in contact with other nurses: ‘so we three Norlanders far, far from home do talk such a lot of “shop” but we also bathe together, shop together and tonight . . . have dined together’ (Norland Quarterly Dec 1926: 9). The correspondence columns were also important for nannies who did not have college connections. In an early edition of Nursery World a correspondent living in the country who ‘lacked companionship’ asked: ‘would it be possible for two lonely nurses to arrange, through this column, an occasional meeting?’ (27 Jan 1926: 232). This letter led the magazine to set up ‘The Nursery World Friendship

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League’, which acted like a lonely-hearts column for (mainly) nannies, with the magazine forwarding replies in stamped addressed envelopes free of charge. While a few mothers initially made use of this service, by the mid-1930s it seems to have been used exclusively by nannies, suggesting that it had become a service that was only meant for them. It is also evident that in contrast to the early editions where correspondence in the ‘Over the Tea-cups’ column was more equally divided between nannies and mothers, by the mid-1930s letters from mothers were more frequent (Nursery World 12 Feb, 4 Mar, 6 May, 27 May, 13 Dec 1936). This shift reflects middle-class women’s increasingly significant role in caring for their own children. A 1929 edition of Nursery World displaying a romanticised image of a mother alone with her two children on the cover (Figure 16.1) is suggestive of this change, and can be compared with an earlier cover where a nanny is shown within the family circle (23 June 1926). By the mid-1930s both mothers and nannies were also engaging directly with the advice of Ursula Wise on ‘childhood problems’, which was regarded as an important source of advice and support by readers. The greater influence of mothers’ authority is suggested in a debate on ‘love and punishment’. Here nannies advocating smacking were criticised by Wise and by several correspondents, though one mother did support the position of nannies who smacked.4 Wise also showcased the importance of mothers and nannies working in harmony and following expert guidance. This was advocated by a mother who explained how a former maid who ‘did not believe in NURSERY WORLD advice’ had succeeded in ‘practically ruining’ her second child’s character. Fortunately, however, she now had an ‘“Ursula Wise” maid . . . baby no. 3 is easily the dearest little bundle invented’ (1 Apr 1936: 687). Evolving ideas about the role of the mother, the nurse, and the childcare expert are equally suggested by a nanny who applauded Wise’s criticism of a mother who believed that ‘present-day mothers are hopeless’ but also reflected on changes in her working life: I began my nursery life as under-nurse in a society family, where the mother rarely saw her children, except for half an hour after tea . . . When I began to work singlehanded I had charge of a baby whose mother’s only thought was pleasure, but in my last and present posts I have found that the mothers have put themselves to the trouble of studying some of the excellent books now on the market . . . After all a nurse can at best be only deputy for the mother and the best of nurses can never fill the mother’s place in the child’s life. (6 May 1936: 886) For mothers and nannies leading often very isolated lives, friendship and support, whether from experts like Wise or from their peers, was important. This was a concern that also arose in the magazines’ fiction. In the 1925/6 Nursery World serial ‘The Unexpected Adventure’, the nanny Virginia initially ‘felt the barrier of her position in the household’ to becoming her employer Christine’s friend (6 Jan 1926: 154). But it later becomes clear that both the children and their mother needed their nanny’s help to rescue them from a corrupt abusive husband and father. Virginia’s belief that ‘everything and anything was worthwhile for the sake of the children’ reinforces her position of power in relation to Christine ‘who needed her more than ever with the

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Figure 16.1 Cover, the Nursery World. © The British Library Board and by permission of the Nursery World. (Source: the Nursery World 2 Jan 1929)

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fierce longing of a weak woman for the support of youth and strength’ (13 Jan 1926: 180). This story (written when most readers were probably nannies) underlines the importance of co-operation between mother and nanny, yet it is the nanny not the mother who is in control. By the 1930s, however, the balance of power had shifted significantly, well illustrated in a story in Good Housekeeping featuring a mother calmly in control adjudicating between a warring cook and nanny (Apr 1935: 10). While conflicts and tensions over the best way to bring up children continued to be played out in the letters pages of Nursery World, the increasing assertion of authority by mothers made it more important that a nanny should be seen not as a rival but as a mother’s helper and friend. The main aims of the in-house college magazines and the more commercial Nursery World were to offer a service to readers, sell, and/or distribute as many copies as possible. Correspondence columns offered a unique opportunity for editors to communicate with readers. Publishing letters in which readers could share views and answer one another’s problems kept perennial debates alive and relevant to readers over the years. Letters which showcased tensions over maternal authority, parental knowledge, nannies’ class, education, and professional status, and mothers’ and nannies’ social isolation are recurring themes. The part played by the editors and childcare experts in responding to complaints and praise, mediating disputes, and encouraging their ‘imagined community’ of readers to feel less isolated are seen both in the selection of letters published, and responses to them. Despite the many letters describing conflicts and tension between mothers and nannies, editors knew they also needed to reach out to unhappy readers, draw them in, and make them feel more comfortable. This is well illustrated in the publication of ‘A Surrey Nurse’s advice to Lonely Nurses’, which the editor described as ‘full of wisdom and understanding’. The letter engaged with the lonely nurse debate, encouraged nannies to see things from the parents’ point of view, and most importantly expressed appreciation of Nursery World for ‘filling a big gap in a nursery nurse’s life’ (3 Mar 1926: 351). Letters to the college magazines were usually less controversial, commonly featuring correspondence from abroad often commissioned by the editor. Where complaints were made the college principal editors were more dictatorial in their responses, reinforcing college policies. Nursery World’s need to reach out to a wider constituency of readers can be recognised in the range of different viewpoints featured and the warmer tone of the editor’s responses. With the words ‘I am very glad that you write about this, as I should hate you or any other nanny to think that our paper is not as much their paper as anybody else’s in the nursery world’ (17 Feb 1925: 303), the magazine spoke to a community of readers where both consensus and controversy were welcomed.

Notes 1. The terms nanny and nurse refer to the same job. Nurse was most frequently used in the interwar years but nanny or nannie was also common particularly if she was untrained. 2. See for example, Punch 6 Aug 1919: 137; 22 Oct 1919: 350; 19 Nov 1919: 437; Good Housekeeping Apr 1935: 10.

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3. Examples of letters from mothers criticising nannies can be found in the following editions of the Nursery World: 13 Jan 1926: 184; 20 Jan 1926: 208; 3 Feb 1926: 256; 24 Feb 1926: 327. 4. See Nursery World 22 Jan 1936: 291–2, 4; Mar 1936: 517; 1 Apr 1936: 687–8, 708.

Works Cited Anderson Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Bailey, Jenna. 2007. Can Any Mother Help Me? Fifty Years of Friendship through a Secret Magazine. London: Faber & Faber. Beetham, Margaret. 1998. ‘The Reinvention of the English Domestic Woman: Class and ‘‘Race’’ in The 1890s’ Woman’s Magazine.’ Women’s Studies International Forum 21.3: 223–33. —. 2006. ‘Periodicals and the New Media: Women and Imagined Communities.’ Women’s Studies International Forum 29.3: 231–40. Beetham, Margaret and Kay Boardman, eds. 2001. Victorian Women’s Magazines: An Anthology. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Delap, Lucy. 2011. Knowing Their Place, Domestic Service in 20th Century Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Delafield, E. M. [1930] 1984. The Diary of a Provincial Lady. London: Virago. Eyles, Leonora. 1930. Careers for Women. London: E. Mathews and Marrot. Giles, Judy. 1995. Women, Identity and Private Life in Britain 1900–1950. London: Macmillan. —. 2009. ‘Authority, Dependence and Power in Accounts of Twentieth Century Domestic Service.’ The Politics of Domestic Authority in Britain since 1800. Ed. Lucy Delap, Ben Griffin, and Abigail Willis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 204–20. Gittins, Diana. 1982. Fair Sex: Family Size and structure 1900–1939. London: Hutchinson. Graham, Philip, 2009. Susan Isaacs: A Life Freeing the Minds of Children. London: Karnac Books. Hackney, Fiona. 2016. ‘Getting a Living, Getting a Life. Leonora Eyles, Employment and Agony, 1925–1930.’ Women in Magazines, Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. Ed. Rachel Ritchie, Sue Hawkins, Nicola Phillips, and S. Jay Kleinberg. London: Routledge. 107–24. Hardyment, Christina. 2007. Dream Babies: Childcare from John Locke to Gina Ford. London: Francis Lincoln Ltd. Holden, Katherine. 2007. The Shadow of Marriage: Singleness in England, 1914–1960. Manchester: Manchester University Press. —. 2013. Nanny Knows Best: The History of the British Nanny. Stroud: The History Press. —. 2016. ‘Nanny Knows Best: Tensions in Nanny Employment in Early and Mid-Twentieth Century Childcare Magazines.’ Women in Magazines, Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. Ed. Rachel Ritchie, Sue Hawkins, Nicola Phillips, and S. Jay Kleinberg. London: Routledge. 148–61. Hughes, Kathryn. 1993. The Victorian Governess. London: The Hambeldon Press. Isaacs, Susan. [1948] 1968. Children and Parents: Their Problems and Difficulties. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 3–4, 48–50. Kennedy, D. A. 1930. The Care and Nursing of the Infant, for Infant Welfare Workers and Nursery Nurses. London: William Heinemann. King, Laura. 2012. ‘Hidden Fathers? The Significance of Fatherhood in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain.’ Contemporary British History 26.1: 25–46. Light, Alison. 2007. Mrs Woolf & the Servants. London: Penguin Books.

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Richardson, Diane. 1993. Women, Motherhood and Childrearing. London: Macmillan. Robson, John. M. 1995. Marriage or Celibacy: The Daily Telegraph on a Victorian Dilemma. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Stokes, Penelope. 1991. Norland, 1892–1992. Hungerford, Berks: The Norland College. White, Cynthia. 1970. Women’s Magazines 1693–1968. London: Michael Jones. Wilson, Mary. 2013. The Labors of Modernism: Domesticity, Servants, and Authorship in Modernist Fiction. Farnham and Burlingham, VT: Ashgate Publishing.

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17 Documentary Feminism: Evelyn Sharp, the Women’s Pages, and the MANCHESTER GUARDIAN Barbara Green

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n October 1925, Evelyn Sharp published an article for the Manchester Guardian’s women’s page entitled ‘On Character in Rooms: Atmosphere and Draughts’ that compared the large Victorian middle-class home characterised by the ‘interesting shabbiness that denotes the making of history’ with the modern, smaller, middle-class home distinguished by a ‘healthier and cleaner and fresher’ atmosphere (21 Oct 1925: 6). In this piece, Sharp explored the meaning of home in relation to its changing architecture (a former vogue for the large home versus a contemporary fascination with efficiency), interior decoration (the accrual of history as furnishings are lived with over time read against ‘rooms that never seem to grow old’), and rituals of use (the Victorian separation of people and activities into sex- and age-segregated schoolrooms, boudoirs, and smoking rooms ‘where men demonstrated that they were men’, distinguished from the modern blending of people and activities when families ‘live all over the house’). The ‘atmosphere’ of the Victorian house is understood in relation to its luxurious scent, texture, and sound: an indescribable atmosphere of sandal-wood and Indian tea and Indian shawls and sheepskin rug and eau de Cologne and wax flowers and lavender and Berlin woolwork, with music in the air that tinkled rather than resounded and ended as inevitably with a trill as the drawing-room furniture ended with a scroll.

Within this framework, the efficiency and cleanliness of the idealised middle-class modern home of 1920s women’s magazines begins to look like a loss of rich experience and history. ‘On Character in Rooms’ threaded together a number of issues that mark Sharp’s contributions to the Manchester Guardian’s women’s page as worthy of close study: it placed the domestic sphere within a political and historical framework, it offered the middle-class housewife a new perspective from which to view her daily life, and it spoke to the complexity of interwar women’s experience by placing Sharp as a representative of an older world looking at a ‘modern’ one with detachment. Sharp was one of the first regular contributors to the left-leaning liberal Manchester Guardian’s women’s page launched in 1922. This women’s page has been called ‘iconic’ (John 2009: 2) for its incorporation of feminist journalism. In what follows, I explore the Manchester Guardian’s women’s page as hybrid print cultural form, a feminist

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women’s page devoted to representing advanced perspectives on women’s daily lives within the traditional container of domestically oriented sections of the paper – entire pages or parts of pages directed toward the housewife as consumer, mother, and wife. Rather than figuring the interwar period as a retreat into domestic life, ‘back to home and duty’, Sharp’s writings invite us to consider interwar periodical writing on the home as thoroughly political, informed by both pre-war and interwar feminist debates.1 In this regard, she is easily accommodated to Judy Giles’s reading of the interwar period as one characterised by the development of a modern and politicised domestic arena. In her foundational From the Parlour to the Suburb, Giles shows that print materials devoted to the private domestic worlds of women during the interwar period ‘gave them opportunities to see themselves differently’ (Giles 2004: 4), though she does not fully explore the formal characteristics of women’s pages that might have enabled that ‘seeing’. The eclectic and mixed-media format of the women’s pages might offer one view into the complexity of women’s experience of domestic life in interwar Britain. Women’s pages and domestic magazines, in offering up materials devoted to a wider public world as well as treatments of the daily operations of housework, engaged the registers of fantasy and desire, enabling readers to imaginatively inhabit more glamorous, rewarding, or consequential roles even as they compared new recipes. Laurel Forster is not the first to call the women’s magazine a ‘storehouse form’ in this regard, reminding us that the etymology of the term ‘magazine’ leads us back to the notion of a container for a heterogeneous collection of goods (2015: 4).2 According to Forster, this ‘flexibility of magazine format has permitted a layered, malleable and variable interpretation of [the] formulaic address [directed at the housewife]’ (2015: 18). This mixing of materials, media forms, and approaches allowed for a complex set of subject positions, certainly, but it also articulated tensions between traditional and advanced identity positions in such a way that the women’s pages sometimes seem torn between the temporalities of past and future, the values of conservatism and radicalism, and the spaces of the private and public spheres.3 Scholars of women’s print media thus sometimes find themselves faced with the bare fact of contradiction when reading women’s pages or service magazines: the varied menu of subject positions offered to the woman reader as both the stuff of dreams and the raw material of reality often refuses to cohere, thus speaking to the contradictions, disappointments, and schizophrenia of modern life. It is in response to this eclectic plenty that the editors of the recent Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption note the ‘internal heterogeneity’ that produces the ‘tensions and paradoxes that both characterise the relationship between women and magazines and are inherent within the publications themselves’ (Richie et al. 2016: 2). Thus, where the heterogeneity and polymediality of modern(ist) periodicals have come to be thought of as defining strengths in modernist periodical studies, and are generally read as evidence of modernist debate and dialogism, this mixing is sometimes more difficult for historians of women’s print culture to parse.4 In addition, given the dominance of certain shared formats, the distinctions between different iterations of women’s pages and magazines may begin to flatten as we stand far enough back to notice the variety of materials and their significance, and it becomes more challenging to take note of specific formal strategies. While a focus on the difference between features on the women’s page gives us a sense of the collisions and complications of interwar female subjectivity, honing in on

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the differences enfolded within a single feature offers an alternative view. In a recent assessment of the work of theory in contemporary periodical studies, Laurel Brake writes that ‘author-related research’ continues to be a ‘resonant symbol’ of the ‘continuing archival aspect of much critical work on serials today’, and it is in this spirit that I take up the columns penned by Evelyn Sharp in the women’s pages in order to explore one feminist journalist’s engagement with and revision of documentary forms (2015: 315). What is at stake is whether a focus on a single figure with a long and varied career can help us pinpoint some of the feminist possibilities imagined within interwar women’s pages. Sharp’s contributions to the women’s page blended documentary impulses with fictional forms and foregrounded her own position as spectator. I’m using the phrase ‘documentary feminism’ to identify the narrative strategies Sharp employed to navigate the conflicted space of the women’s pages, though by this I do not mean to indicate that Sharp’s writing was simply reportage. While we might think of the inward turn of domestic modernity as aligned with the considerations of interiority and subjectivity that arose in the modern experimental novel rather than with the later documentary forms of the 1930s that characterised modernism’s ‘outward turn’, Sharp’s documentary feminism fused these strands, blending fictionality with documentary, private with public life.5 Feminist documentary has a long history that runs through women’s journalism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and much of it focuses on considerations of women’s experience of domestic life. Sharp’s contributions to the women’s page drew on that history; in her writings, she shuttled back and forth between depictions of the domestic arena and that of the street, and crossed class boundaries by alternately documenting the experience of children growing up in poorer households and the experience of middle-class mothers. In her column (weekly through 1927 and then biweekly through 1934 (John 2009: 145)), Sharp catalogued the hidden corners of urban modernity, as in the documentary slum journalism of the turn of the century, but also turned toward the middle-class housewife’s own habitat with an attitude of curiosity and estrangement. When framed as part of an evolving history of feminist journalism, Sharp’s contributions to the interwar women’s pages offer scholars of modern print media a set of provocative questions: what would it mean to explore the emergence of the novel through the radical power of the not-so-new? How can exploring the continuities as well as the changes within modern periodicals shed light on the ‘slow’ emergence of new meanings and possibilities? Is there a way in which feminism’s established documentary engagements might have refined the inward turn of domestic modernity that expressed itself in interwar women’s service magazines and women’s pages? By providing distance from the home sphere, a detachment supplied by an odd mix of whimsical speculation, storytelling, and detailed observation, Sharp allowed women readers to scrutinise domestic life in all of its strangeness.

The Women’s Page and Generational Feminisms/Femininities As an experiment in blending feminist and domestic content, the woman’s page of the Manchester Guardian ran from 1922 to 1935 and then from 1957 to 1971 and has been considered one of the more revolutionary attempts to revise domestically oriented journalism for a modern audience, though it is more commonly noted for the radical work that appeared during its later iteration. Looking back on her tenure as

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the first editor of the women’s page, Madeline Linford remembered that the women’s page emerged on the scene ‘untitled but unmistakable’ (1963: 6). She might have written ‘untitled and unmentioned’ since its announcement was limited to a small, nearly invisible description in the issue’s summary of contents (Manchester Guardian 22 May 1922: 4) and the existence of the women’s page was ignored altogether in the collection honouring the Manchester Guardian’s editor C. P. Scott, even in Linford’s own section devoted to ‘Pictures and Features’ (1946: 148–51). Linford’s remit was to develop a page that was ‘readable, varied and aimed always at the intelligent woman’ (1963: 6).6 Like all women’s pages and women’s service magazines – like most periodicals, for that matter – the women’s page of the Manchester Guardian was a heterogeneous form: eclectic, polysemic, and ripe with internal contradictions.7 It regularly provided a single fashion image (a striking restyling of the rather sober pages of the paper), domestic advice (for example, ‘Concerning Peaches: Their Popularity and Price’), recipes (‘The Finishing Touch: Sauces that Add Flavour’), and, as consumption was the driver for both women’s print media forms: service magazines and women’s pages, as well as an identifying feature of the housewife’s modern identity, the women’s page provided guides to organising household leisure activities around new purchases (such as ‘The Motorist’s Picnic Basket’).8 From the outset, the women’s page also offered readers’ assessments of women’s daily lives and politics from a feminist perspective. The allocation of page space clearly tilted in favour of topical articles such as Vera Brittain’s discussion of the material conditions required to make woman’s abstract thought possible (this published over a year before selections from Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own appeared in Time and Tide), or Winifred Holtby’s assessment of the significance of women’s support for a marriage ban for civil servants or her critique of a proposed boxing ban recommended to protect ladies from the unedifying spectacle of violence.9 In many ways, the innovations of the Manchester Guardian were neither radical nor new. As Adrian Bingham argues in this volume, a number of daily papers began experimenting with their women’s pages during the interwar period in order to capture the energy of a modern post-franchise world, and they did so, in part, by incorporating materials having to do with women’s lives conducted in the public sphere (Bingham 2004; also see Hackney 2008). The heterogeneity of the Manchester Guardian’s interwar women’s page derived in part from the rich diversity of interwar feminism itself. While the suffrage period is sometimes cast as a period of unity, where, as Sharp herself put it, ‘it was quite simple to divide them [women] into suffragists and anti-suffragists’, the interwar period is best understood through its variety of organisations and projects (30 July 1924: 6). Disrupting the two dominant notions that envision the interwar period as a period of retreat from the energy of the suffrage movement, or as organised by simple oppositions between old and new, equalitarian, or welfare feminists, Maria DiCenzo draws our attention to the many agendas and priorities of interwar feminists, noting the ‘proliferation of issues and changing opportunities confronting feminists after the war and the determination with which they worked to advance the cause of women’s rights on social, economic, and political levels’ (2014: 422). Evelyn Sharp’s multifaceted feminism was very much of this moment: though she resisted labels in general (John 2009: 1), her long-standing affiliation with the independent socialist Daily Herald and her ‘postwar commitment to the Labour movement’ (John 2009: 152) aligned her with pre-war and interwar socialist feminism; she was

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active in pacifist organisations such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; and she worked with Quaker organisations to document relief efforts in postwar Germany and reported on efforts to support famine victims in Russia (John 2009: 98, 127). Sharp had a long and varied career as a writer, publishing fairy tales and children’s literature, New Woman short fiction in the Yellow Book as well as New Woman novels for John Lane, and publishing in the Daily Herald, the New Leader, and other venues. Sharp began writing for the Manchester Guardian in 1904 and contributed frequently to the back page of the paper from 1908 (John 2009: 49).10 Her friendship and professional network of activists, journalists, writers, and editors included H. N. Brailsford, C. P. Scott, Netta Syrett, Laurence Housman, Elizabeth Robins, and H. W. Nevinson (whom she later married after a lengthy relationship). In addition, Sharp had been an active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union and became editor of the suffrage paper Votes for Women during the First World War. Many of her columns made note of her own position as a former suffragette or noted the dramatic changes between pre-war and postwar feminism – ‘The Woman Doctor’s Jubilee: Lest We Forget’; ‘The Suffragette in Retirement: A New “Woman’s Movement”’; ‘The Woman Engineer: Growth of a Technical Outlook’.11 For example, in ‘The Persistence of Feminism’, Sharp aligned herself with an older generation of suffragists, remembering ‘the days when women were voteless [and] it was quite simple to divide them into suffragists and anti-suffragists, and to call the former feminists and the latter anything you pleased’ (30 July 1924: 6). Sharp explored her dissatisfaction with the new feminists who ‘take feminism to mean an emphasis upon psychological differences’, questioned the efficacy of separate women’s organisations, and wondered ‘whether there are any women’s questions at all’. John notices that Sharp was a bit disingenuous in her critique, since ‘her statements and her practice at the time had shown her to be woman-centered in her approach to politics’ (2009: 146). However, Sharp’s generational claim regarding what she described as a former moment of relative simplicity (suffragists were feminists) was tempered by her admission that this view was probably wrong, a ‘fallacy in that loose identification’. In addition, Sharp insisted on the complexity of the interwar moment and the cross-organisational alliances that composed the feminist network. Since feminism was ‘passing through a period of transition’, she argued that the opposition she herself had attempted to establish between ‘humanists’ working in mixed-sex groups for equality and ‘feminists’ working in women’s groups motivated by a philosophy of women’s ‘difference’ would fail to hold: ‘many keen feminists are to be found working in organisations together with men, while women of the humanists type often work in women’s organisations. To be completely consistent in a changing world is to be rather stupid’ (30 July 1924: 6). Sharp’s writing was self-reflexive, often exploiting dramatic or implicit self-positioning in order to connect the various strands of interwar feminism; her meditations on consumption practices, on middle-class domestic life, and on the experience of children could bridge the generational differences that informed interwar feminism, and establish connections between the interlocking yet distinct registers of feminist and domestically oriented content. Aged fifty-three in 1922 when the women’s page launched (Holtby and Brittain were, respectively, twenty-six and twenty-nine in 1922), Sharp often made a point of her position between eras, feminist groups, and female ‘types’, thus identifying herself as slightly out of step with the period. In ‘The Holiday Tramp:

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The Middle-Aged Complaint’, for example, she noted that her fondness for the ‘dying tradition’ of the ‘holiday tramp’ distanced her from a younger generation who generally preferred to travel by car (30 Sep 1925: 6). Elsewhere, she positioned herself alongside ‘survivors of the older tradition’ who, familiar with more limited forms of child entertainment, might be bewildered by a modern dissolution of the boundaries between children’s and adult entertainment that had governed the pre-war environment (19 Jan 1927: 6) or acknowledged the danger that she might present herself as an ‘old fogey’ by registering alarm when a ‘young thing of the day’ comfortably arranged her bobbed hair at the theatre while waiting for the play to begin (7 Oct 1925: 6). Similarly, in ‘The Seven Ages of Woman’, Sharp argued that the postwar period was defined by a blurring of the distinct ‘ages’ of femininity with the result that the middle-aged woman no longer had distinct fashion choices catering to her position: ‘The wardrobes of an aunt and a niece have become interchangeable. With a pull-on hat to conceal grey hair, a jumper to conceal a maturing figure, with a short skirt and transparent stockings and buckled high heel shoes, the silhouette of a woman of fifty is that of a girl of twenty’ (11 July 1923: 4). This elision of the various ‘ages’ of femininity, previously established by woman’s supposed availability in the marriage market, was a direct result of the franchise, argued Sharp, which had granted ‘freedom’ to all: ‘The woman of fifty looks young to-day because she is young, because freedom and a full life have saved her from the warped and repressed ambitions that formerly aged a woman before she was thirty.’ Rather than complaining of neglect by the fashion industry, Sharp placed fashion within a feminist frame and suggested that her ‘freedom’ included the ability to view the realm of feminine culture from a critical, yet diverting, stance.

Slow Forms I: (Anti-)Consumption and the Women’s Page Even before the launch of the women’s page at the Manchester Guardian, Sharp infused her journalism with a sceptical approach to consumption, an approach that aligned her work with pre-war and interwar socialist feminism and helped to bridge gaps that potentially divided socialist feminists from both middle-class feminists and the middle-class housewives addressed by select interwar women’s service magazines or women’s pages (overlapping but not necessarily identical reading communities). Pamela Graves points out that the interwar years were particularly vexing in this regard as ‘[M]iddle-class “non-party” feminists became highly skeptical of the sincerity of the Labour Party’s claim to support sexual equality, while labour women came to associate feminism with “leisured” women who had no understanding of the problems of the poor and no sympathy with the labour movement’ (1994: 119). As Giles points out, the long-standing association of femininity and consumption focused during the interwar period on ‘the [middle-class] housewife’s role as purchaser of commodities that would create the “modern” home, a place that “is warm, comfortable and able to provide its own fireside entertainment”’ (2004: 103). A resulting emphasis in the women’s pages on consumption, taste, and ‘professional’ housewifery only exacerbated the divide between labour women and middle-class women in a segmented print environment. Graves notes, for example, that interwar women’s service magazines such as Woman, Woman’s Own, or Woman and Home with their

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emphasis on discourses of consumption would have excluded ‘unemployed women industrial workers in the North of England and the wives of the unemployed in the “economically distressed” area’ (1994: 192). As Karen Hunt puts it, ‘“shopping for pleasure” was [so] unlike most working-class women’s experience of “shopping for survival”’ (Hunt 2000: 396).12 Within this environment, Sharp borrowed from the strategies of pre-war socialist feminists who reimagined the association of femininity with consumption such as Julia Dawson, who wrote the Clarion’s women’s page from the late nineteenth century, Teresa Billington-Greig who described the potential for radical and organised consumption practices in The Consumer in Revolt (1912), or Rebecca West, who briefly edited the Daily Herald’s women’s page in the early 1910s and wrote on the leisured parasite in the Clarion (Marcus 1982: 119). Sharp’s articles often looked at the intersection of material culture and subjectivity, exhibiting a fascination with ordinary objects and the stories they might tell (for example, a treatment of the ‘The Frivolous Button’ (27 Aug 1909: 12) or ‘The Hatpin’ (12 June 1907)). Her writings on women’s and children’s material culture during the pre-war and through the interwar period were sometimes explicitly anti-consumption, thus pushing against the mutually supportive relationship between women’s pages and advertisers dominant during the modern period. Sharp argued, for example, that ‘children want things, not toys’, listing ordinary household objects with the same enthusiasm generally conjured by gleaming toys on display in stores and advertisements: ‘Bits of wood to chop about, screws and drawing-pins and elastic bands and, of course, string’ (7 June 1922: 4). Similarly, Sharp imagined a mode of accumulation without consumption, writing about the child’s habit of collecting the ‘registration numbers of motor vehicles’ or other ‘unreasoning’ habits of children who ‘collect the things nobody wants’ such as chocolate wrappers (16 July 1925: 6). While in this instance, things are only interesting insofar as they belong to a modern childhood ‘craze’, Sharp also imagined the ways in which ordinary objects or concepts could take on otherworldly qualities – ‘The Melodramatic Hat’ as a convention in drama or even the ‘Fairy Economics’ of the ‘imaginative man’ who seemed to be the only one capable of explaining why the cost of commonplace household goods were on the rise (13 Oct 1910: 14; 9 Feb 1911: 14). And the cultures of spectacle and display that dominated the Ideal Home Exhibitions (launched in 1908) were shown to be impoverished when compared with the magic of an imagined dream home ‘to which the public will only be admitted if it can show satisfactory proof of having cherished a dream home of its own ever since it made an Indian wigwam out of a toolshed’ (6 Nov 1908: 14).

Slow Forms II: Domestic Journalism and the Urban Child In addition to offering alternatives to the association of housewifery with consumption, Sharp’s contributions to the Manchester Guardian’s women’s page complicated the developing discourses of domestic modernity. Scholars of domestic modernity working in a variety of fields have successfully closed the supposed gap between interwar domestic life and the ‘modern’ (often associated with industry, public life, technology, or masculinity), by showing the private sphere as shot through with ‘modern’ discourses of efficiency, technologism, radical lifestyle experiments, and new ways

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of considering identity. For example, in the field of modernist studies, print cultural materials of various kinds – not only women’s service magazines, but also middlebrow and highbrow fictions – are seen as key ingredients in the construction of a politicised private arena: these studies include Christopher Reed’s discussions of Bloomsbury’s domestic experimentalism related to lifestyle, sexuality, interior design, and radical aesthetics; Victoria Rosner’s exploration of the entanglement of ideas of interiority and conceptions of domestic interiors in the modern novel; Nicola Humble’s discovery of the middlebrow novel as a central mechanism for ‘redefin[ing] domesticity as stylish’ (2001: 5); and Judy Giles’s emphasis on interwar incorporation of ideas of modern rationalism and technologism within the home.13 Domestically oriented service writing provided new ways of imagining the meaning of ‘housewife’ as an identity category associated with privacy and leisure, so that middle-class women ‘increasingly believed in their right to interiority and “a room of their own”’ (Giles 2004: 63). Within this context, relationships between privacy and private life, interiors and interiority, could come to the foreground. Working-class women could not count on the luxury of privacy or leisure in domestic life, though Giles emphasises the modernity of ‘[working-class] women who dreamt of a better life running their own homes, with a companionable and caring husband, in a pleasant environment away from the pollution, drunkenness, crime and overcrowding of the city’ (2004: 63). Though Sharp was attentive to class in her women’s page contributions concerning the lives of children, the working-class home received less attention in her columns for the Manchester Guardian than did the middle-class domestic sphere. Discussions of working-class homes circulated widely in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in ‘reports of visitors and philanthropists, journalists and social commentators, novelists, diarists, and poets’ (Wilson 2015: 17), but generally did not reflect the viewpoints of inhabitants themselves. Tracking working-class women’s own writings about home during the first decades of the twentieth century, Nicola Wilson writes that women novelists ‘challenged sentimental visions of home (or separate spheres)’; Carnie Holdsworth, for example, showed that ‘“home life lasts from Saturday dinner time to Sunday evening, and then we go back to the House of Bondage”’ (2015: 67). Sharp’s particular brand of ‘light’ observational journalism on heavy topics shares a great deal with the strategies Wilson discovers in working-class women’s domestic writing – particularly the recognition of the endless labour associated with domestic life. But Sharp also dramatised her own privileged position, thus developing a critique of the modes of observation typical of middle-class women’s journalism concerning the poor. In this she joined pre-war, female slum journalists who were perfectly positioned to ‘access the feminine domain of private homes’ (Cameron 2016: 245). While late nineteenth-century slum journalism had tended to secure the differences between disenfranchised objects of study and privileged observers (Koven 2004: 8), by the late Edwardian period a number of female investigative journalists had adopted more collaborative forms of engagement. These experiments, according to Brooke Cameron, ‘offer[ed] new and moving accounts of the slum’s private spaces and conversations, including the working-class home and family’ (2016: 246). Fictional strategies supported the efforts of female slum journalists, such as the ‘self-reflexive realism’ Cameron notes in the work of journalist Margaret Harkness who ‘focused on the slum reporter’s observation of and feeling for . . . the scene of suffering’ (2016: 253). Like her pre-war colleagues, Sharp sought to close the

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gap between observer and observed and blended documentary and fictional strategies to do so. In order to trouble her own authority as journalist and also disrupt the assumptions of her readers, Sharp sometimes positioned herself as an observer of the modes of social investigation associated with reform movements, as in a pre-war sketch, ‘The Country Cottage: A Woman and Her Work’, which functioned as ‘“neither fiction nor exactly essay[s]’”, to borrow phrasing Sharp later used to describe some of her writing on children (John 2009: 167).14 This piece depicts an encounter between a visiting social investigator eager to prevent idleness within the home and the busy housewife, Mrs Jim Bunce. Like many of her sketches, ‘The Country Cottage’ blends fictional strategies with documentary ones: the scene is a jumble of children’s arms and legs on the doorstep, a baby covered in jam, and general domestic chaos that seems to both gratify and horrify the visiting inspector (giving her the opportunity to confide that it is important ‘to speak out or else these young mothers grow so idle and slovenly’), but such bedlam leaves Sharp undisturbed (20 Apr 1908: 10). Sharp spurned the condemning expertise of the investigator, commenting mildly that ‘the idea of idleness in connection with this young mother, who did the work of all the servants in the manor house put together, in addition to being a wife and a mother and a nurse and a dressmaker, left me incapable of speech’. But she also avoided sympathy: rather than offering comfort to the working mother (and thus to readers), Sharp received it when Mrs Bunce described her ambivalence regarding bringing young girls into the world and, as Sharp puts it, ‘the mist’ that always hovers between those who are paid for their work and those who are not began to ‘roll away from between us’. This selfpositioning upsets the detachment of the more privileged social observer, a detachment that preserves social and economic privilege and secures the gap between observer and observed. Instead Sharp aligned physical proximity with collaboration, noting that the ‘detached and superior attitude’ associated with the ‘polite fiction’ that she could seclude herself in one of the Bunce family’s few rooms in order to work collapsed under the ‘pressure’ of the everyday: There was only a sketchy, ill-fitting door between me and the kitchen, so I shared perforce in the family’s joys and sorrows even when this was kept shut. More often, though, it yielded to pressure, and burst open to admit a crawling baby and an assortment of small boys, pigs, chickens, puppies, and anything else that was young and irresponsible. (20 Apr 1908: 10) Amusement collapses the border between ‘detached and superior’ observer and observed and allows for a playful interaction that renders the everyday visible. One effect of Sharp’s stance is that it anticipates the disruption Jeff Allred associates with the modernist documentary forms of the 1930s that ‘represent[s] social others in ways that arrest or interrupt, rather than confirm, dominant ideologies’ and ‘disrupt the identities of reading selves and represented others’ (2010: 7). Sharp brought these disruptive fictional strategies to her journalism on the middle-class home as well, allowing for a particularly deft engagement with the everyday that offered the domestic reader an altered standpoint from which to observe the rituals, materials, and habits of domestic life.

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It is the children that break down the barriers between the classes in ‘A Country Cottage’, and, similarly, it is often children whose mobility, unpredictability, and independence disrupt the efficiency and order of the middle-class home generally idealised in women’s pages. Children in Sharp’s writings are what Marah Gubar calls ‘socially saturated beings’ who are ‘shaped by the culture, manners, and morals of their time’ (2009: 5). Children’s worlds are complex, in Sharp’s eyes, but not fully identical to the adult worlds that surround them. Thus, they often offer a counterpoint or space of critique. For example, in ‘Children’s Parties: Real and Unreal’, parents organising a children’s party are shown to be out of their depth, since the ‘downstairs world’ of adults is inadequate to the ‘constructive imagination’ that ‘only really flourishes when children are left to lose themselves in a magic country where all the playthings come alive’ (8 Jan 1908: 12). Despite the significant physical changes to the middle-class household that Sharp noticed in the interwar period where ‘house shortage has eliminated the drawing room’, the ‘strict dividing line between life on the top floor and life on the floor below’ has dissolved, and ‘children today are free of the whole house’, Sharp still saw the child as (importantly and productively) ‘unruly’ and resistant to the rituals of social interaction imposed by modern parents (5 Nov 1924: 6). The home, then, could be imagined as disruptive, chaotic, and potentially creative. In 1925, surrounded by articles on ‘The Modern Nursery’, ‘The Art of the Needle’, and ‘The Cherished Aspidistra’, Sharp wrote of the ‘break up of the English home’, questioning whether ‘the British home is quite so unassailable as we go on pretending it is’ (11 Feb 1925: 6). Smaller families, independent children, the ‘gas fire’, and ‘electric radiator’ freed women to ‘dine out’, ‘to go on afterward to address a meeting, or to jazz, or to play bridge’ without censure. In Sharp’s eyes, the middleclass domestic sphere was not, then, an arena wholly understood in terms of careful consumption, taste, or scientific rationalism, but was instead an arena that women might leave, return to, explore, or ignore. The home did not require, and most likely would resist, careful tending. Sharp’s writings on children and childhood often infused a language of fairy tale into her journalism, thus enhancing the wry, defamiliarising mode of her short sketches and articles. Sharp travelled widely in the 1920s, reporting on postwar poverty in Germany and its impact on families and children (26 Mar 1925, 6; 4 July1919: 9), taking stock of the impact of famine on Russian children (20 Dec 1922: 4), as well as writing local treatments of the urban child: children in the street, in day nurseries, model experimental schools, and institutions for troubled boys. In addition, Sharp discussed books for children and children’s own writing (23 Aug 1922: 4; 22 Nov 1922: 4). Much of Sharp’s writing on urban childhood that circulated in the women’s page of the Manchester Guardian or in the Daily Herald was collected into the volume The London Child which described children as ‘growing, experimenting little pieces of human protoplasm’ (1927: 50). While her reporting on children’s lives seemed intended to draw readers’ attention to the limitations of public policies aimed at supporting poor children (a trimming of the grants that once enabled ‘town’ school children to go to the country to study nature, for example (11 Oct 1922: 4)), or could work to build bridges between feminist communities through shared sympathy for disadvantaged children, other pieces used children’s experiences to open the women’s page to defamiliarising, sometimes unsettling, aspects of modern life. For example, Sharp’s piece on an institution organised to board children whose parents were not

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able to care for them imagined the space as a ‘hotel for babies’: ‘One has met babies in all sorts of queer places, from the prison infirmary at home to the crowded institutions for famine orphans in the Volga valley. But only recently did I find them living gaily in a hotel of their very own’ (18 Oct 1922: 4). These defamiliarising strategies were enhanced by Sharp’s regular use of fairytale motifs to render both the home and street somewhat unknowable. In employing fairy tale to take up urgent social matters, Sharp was not alone. Caroline Sumpter places fairy tale at the centre of the media ecology of the nineteenth century, writing that ‘authors and readers used the fairy tale to grapple with a surprising range of controversies, from the impact of industrialism, socialism and evolution, to debates over race and nationalism, masculinity and women’s rights’ (2008: 2). In this vein, Sharp used fairy tale to make hidden experiences visible as well as hint at the power that adults had in shaping children’s environments. In entering a new school for young children, Sharp wrote: ‘One goes through the little door in the fence, feeling as if one were going right into the heart of a fairy tale – and suddenly, with the added sensation of being a giant (a kind giant, of course, not an ogre or anything unpleasant of that sort), one finds one’s self in the fairy tale’ (1927: 40). As ‘kind giant’, Sharp is possibly an intruder; as ‘ogre’, she is a danger – both possibilities point toward the vulnerability of environments built for children. In reporting on a nursery school in East London still in its ‘experimental stage’ and ‘too unimportant to even qualify for a Government grant’, Sharp imbued plans for future development into a proper Children’s House offering school rooms, a nursery school, and space for play with a fairy tale quality: ‘I admit that this sounds like a castle in the air, if it doesn’t sound (as it did to me) like a gingerbread house with barley sugar windows’ (22 May 1924: 4). Rather than suggesting that the plan was unrealistic, Sharp’s fairy-tale reference hints at the necessary role played by unreality, since ‘you have first to build your castle in the air, and then you can put the foundations to it’. Children and a fairy-tale perspective associated with childhood provide the connective tissue between Sharp’s domestic writings and the public sphere, since the children in her articles are either located in liminal spaces between the private domestic sphere and the street (the ‘hotel for babies’, nursery schools, institutions of various sorts for housing poor children) or are moving through the public sphere as active agents in their own right: So it is to be hoped that there are compensations, unseen by us, lurking in the gutter for the toddler who is driven there to seek the fruits of the spirit that should be the portion, unsought, of every child. Perhaps, shut out from home and day nursery alike, these seekers in the garbage heap find a shining treasure that is hidden from the rest of us. (1927: 36) The accumulated effect was to imagine an environment populated with children as active agents in their own right, moving through the institutions of modernity – some organised around their needs, some only pretending to be so. This admittedly romanticised view of childhood mobilised Sharp’s journalism itself, giving her access to the street, urban institutions, and the home, thus rendering the border between public and private spheres porous and dissolving the margins that separated feminist and domestic content in the Manchester Guardian’s women’s page.

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Conclusion Sharp’s blending of fictional strategies with documentary reportage, including dramatised self-referentiality and the employment of defamiliarising fairy-tale references, gave her strategies for interrupting the discourses of consumption and tasteful domesticity often associated with middle-class women’s print culture of the interwar period. We’ve come to appreciate the aesthetic complexity and creativity within the documentary forms emerging in the 1930s – Mass Observation’s embrace of the surrealist techniques that offered sufficient distance from the ordinary to make it visible, for example (Hubble 2006). Sharp’s work suggests that slightly more whimsical, certainly less dramatic, alterations of the real can also been seen as a part of documentary’s history. To consider her contributions to the women’s page as a form of feminist documentary, and to recognise the slow evolution of feminist journalism feeding that project recalibrates our understanding of the rise of documentary in the 1930s, giving it a longer, and distinctly domestically oriented, prehistory. Documentary feminism’s treatment of domestic matters in the hands of feminist journalists such as Sharp links feminist journalism with the radical innovations in the form to come.

Notes 1. The phrase ‘back to home and duty’, belongs to Beddoe 1989. 2. In this, she follows Gruber Garvey who traces the intimate connections between advertisement and editorial copy in the ‘magazine’ of the woman’s paper. 3. Alice Wood, for example, documents the competing strains of conservatism and feminism exhibited in Good Housekeeping in her contribution to this volume. 4. For modernist dialogism, see, for example, Ardis 2008. 5. I borrow ‘outward turn’ from Thomas Davis’s work on late modernism (Davis 2016: 1–25). 6. Madeline Linford wrote in 1963 that the interwar women’s page was written for the ‘intelligent woman’ and described her as ‘a rarer animal then than she is now’, a ‘more specialized type in an age when culture and higher education were less evenly bestowed upon the sexes’ (1963: 6). David Ayerst notes frequently in his study of the Manchester Guardian that the paper from its earliest days spoke to ‘“men of substance”’ and ‘would not suit’ the new readers that emerged after the Education Act of 1870: ‘It devoted a third of its space to detailed financial and commercial news. It reviewed all the books of importance in almost every branch of university study – the names of a third of its strictly anonymous reviewers of the early nineties appear in the “Dictionary of National Bibliography.” It devoted two columns a week to erudite articles on farm management, and had regular features on hunting, shooting and fishing by a son of the Earl of Pearth’ (1971: 128, 293). 7. Penny Tinkler builds on the work of other periodical scholars to identify women’s magazines as ‘“composite,” “hybrid” or “heterogeneous” in form’ (2016: 31). 8. Manchester Guardian 9 Aug 1922: 4; 17 Apr 1924: 6; 9 Aug 1922: 4. 9. Manchester Guardian 6 June 1928: 8; 31 Jan 1930: 8; 28 Feb 1930: 8. 10. For Sharp’s connection to the New Leader see Hannam’s chapter in this volume. 11. Manchester Guardian 1 May 1924: 6; 11 June 1924: 4; 15 Apr 1925: 4. 12. See Natalie Bradbury’s chapter in Part V of this volume. 13. Reed 2004, Rosner 2008, Humble 2001, Giles 2004. 14. For another view of the ‘sketch’ as a key literary form, see Krueger 2014: 21.

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Works Cited Allred, Jeff. 2010. American Modernism and Depression Documentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ardis, Ann. 2008. ‘Staging the Public Sphere: Magazine Dialogism and the Prosthetics of Authorship at the Turn of the Century.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 30–47. Ayerst, David. 1971. The Manchester Guardian: Biography of a Newspaper. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Beddoe, Deirdre. 1989. Back to Home and Duty: Women Between the Wars, 1918–1939. London: Pandora Press. Billington-Greig, Teresa. 1912. The Consumer in Revolt. London: Stephen Swift. Bingham, Adrian. 2004. Gender, Modernity, and the Popular Press in Inter-war Britain. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Brake, Laurel. 2015. ‘Looking Back.’ Victorian Periodicals Review 48.3: 312–22. Cameron, S. Brooke. 2016. ‘Women’s Slum Journalism, 1885–1910.’ The History of British Women’s Writing, 1880–1920. Ed. Holly Laird. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 245–57. Davis, Thomas. 2016. The Extinct Scene: Late Modernism and Everyday Life. New York: Columbia University Press. DiCenzo, Maria. 2014. ‘“Our Freedom and Its Results:” Measuring Progress in the Aftermath of Suffrage.’ Women’s History Review 23.3: 421–40. Forster, Laurel. 2015. Magazine Movements: Women’s Culture, Feminisms and Media Form. New York and London: Bloomsbury. Garvey, Ellen Gruber. 1996. The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s–1910s. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Giles, Judy. 2004. The Parlour and the Suburb: Domestic Identities, Class, Femininity and Modernity. Oxford and New York: Berg. Graves, Pamela M. 1994. Labour Women: Women in British Working-Class Politics 1918–1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gubar, Marah. 2009. Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children’s Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hackney, Fiona. 2008. ‘“Women are News”: British Women’s Magazines, 1919–1939.’ Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms. Ed. Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 114–33. Hilton, Matthew. 2002. ‘The Female Consumer and the Politics of Consumption in TwentiethCentury Britain.’ Historical Journal 45.1: 103–28. Hubble, Nick. 2006. Mass Observation and Everyday Life: Culture, History, Theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Humble, Nicola. 2001. The Feminine Middlebrow Novel 1920s to 1950s: Class, Domesticity, and Bohemianism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hunt, Karen. 2000. ‘Negotiating the Boundaries of the Domestic: British Socialist Women and the Politics of Consumption.’ Women’s History Review 9.2: 389–410. John, Angela V. 2009. Evelyn Sharp: Rebel Woman, 1869–1955. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press. Koven, Seth. 2004. Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Krueger, Kate. 2014. British Women Writers and the Short Story, 1850–1930. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Linford, Madeline. 1963. ‘The First Page.’ Manchester Guardian 11 Sep 1963: 6.

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Linford, Madeline and M. Crozier. 1946. ‘Pictures and Features.’ C. P. Scott 1846–1932: The Making of the Manchester Guardian. London: Frederick Muller Ltd. 148–51. Marcus, Jane, ed. 1982. The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911–17. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Reed, Christopher. 2004. Bloomsbury Rooms: Modernism, Subculture, and Domesticity. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Richie, Rachel, Sue Hawkins, Nicola Phillips, and S. Jay Kleinberg, eds. 2016. Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. New York: Routledge. Rosner, Victoria. 2008. Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life. New York: Columbia University Press. Sharp, Evelyn. 1927. The London Child. London: John Lane the Bodley Head Limited. Sumpter, Caroline. 2008. The Victorian Press and the Fairy Tale. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Tinkler, Penny. 2016. ‘Fragmentation and Inclusivity: Methods for Working with Girls’ and Women’s Magazines.’ Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. Ed. Rachel Richie, Sue Hawkins, Nicola Phillips, and S. Jay Kleinberg. New York and London: Routledge. 25–39. Wilson, Nicola. 2015. Home in British Working-Class Fiction. Farnham: Ashgate.

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18 Y GYMRAES (The Welshwoman): Ambivalent Domesticity in Women’s Welsh-language Interwar Print Media Lisa Sheppard

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his chapter will offer a case study of the Welsh-language women’s monthly domestic magazine, Y Gymraes (The Welshwoman), and its evolution during the interwar period. Journalist and Nonconformist minister Evan Jones (known by his bardic name Ieuan Gwynedd) founded the first magazine called Y Gymraes in 1850. Jones established the magazine to promote an ideal of female domesticity in part to defend (but also to reform) Welsh women after accusations of immorality were made against them in the 1847 Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (RCISEW). The publication was short-lived, however, owing to Jones’s ill health, and merged with another magazine, Y Tywysydd (The Guide) in 1952. From 1896 to 1934 a new magazine called Y Gymraes appeared, edited first by Alice Gray Jones (known as Ceridwen Peris) and then Mary Jane Griffith (known as Mair Ogwen). Although, this later magazine shared a name and many concerns regarding the role of the woman at home with its predecessor, it also acknowledged women’s increasing contributions to public life: it discussed women’s formal education, their contributions to religious societies, and from 1901 was the official magazine of Undeb Dirwestol Merched Gogledd Cymru (UDMGC The North Wales Women’s Temperance Union). While critics have paid some attention to Welsh women’s publications in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there has been little discussion of this second incarnation of Y Gymraes in the period after the First World War. In one of the few discussions of Y Gymraes in these years, historian and literary critic Ceridwen LloydMorgan argues that the publication took a ‘more conservative’ turn under Griffith’s editorship, which conveniently given the scope of this volume began in 1919 (1982: 11). This chapter will attempt to complicate this view of Y Gymraes’s conservatism during Griffith’s tenure by demonstrating that the version of domesticity it presented is ambivalent. It will argue that by reading Y Gymraes’s conventional representation of the role of women in the context of attempts to promote Welsh culture during the 1920s, its domestic rhetoric emerges as a challenge to the dominant English culture whose ideals originally informed it. As such, the publication arguably could be seen to repurpose women’s domesticity alongside the seemingly conservative nature of Wales’s religious culture in the period, for potentially radical ends.

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The image of domesticity foregrounded by Y Gymraes and its predecessors since 1850 is inherently contradictory. It employed an English ideal of female domesticity characterised by Coventry Patmore’s 1854 poem, ‘The Angel in the House’, to defend Welsh women against accusations of immorality levied at them in the 1847 Reports, thereby endorsing the very standards that had deemed Welsh women immoral in the first place. The infamous Reports focused their criticism on two particular targets: the Welsh language and Welsh women. The Welsh language was described as ‘a vast drawback to Wales, and a manifold barrier to the moral progress and commercial prosperity of its people’, while Welsh women’s ‘want of chastity’ was deemed damaging for younger generations (Committee of Council on Education 1847: II. 66, 57). Welsh women were located as the antithesis of the dutiful, middle-class Victorian wife and mother, nurturing children who would grow to serve both country and empire. Despite initial indignation by prominent public figures (Evan Jones among them), somewhat of a moral panic ensued when the Reports were presented to Parliament at a time when, ‘the climax of campaigns against wantonness, drunkenness and lawlessness . . . fully conformed to the moral atmosphere of the Victorian age’ (Davies 2007: 380). The degree to which this atmosphere shaped the first Y Gymraes can be seen in Jones’s stated aim that it would ‘produce faithful maids, virtuous daughters, thrifty wives and discerning mothers’ (1850: 1). The seeds of the publication’s ambivalence were sown from its first incarnation: it both defended Welsh women and promoted the culture that condemned them. The memory of the 1847 Reports also influenced another women’s magazine, Y Frythones (literally The Female Briton) that was published between 1879 and 1891. Unlike the first Y Gymraes, which was written mostly by men, this magazine promoted women’s writing. Its editor until 1889 was Sarah Jane Rees (known by the bardic name Cranogwen) who, as the only female editor of a Welsh magazine at the time, helped further the careers of many of the women who would subsequently edit and contribute to the second version of Y Gymraes, including Alice Gray Jones (Evans 1989: 108). And while Y Frythones still promoted the domestic ideal, it paid more attention to women’s work outside the home, which meant that it better reflected the comparatively high proportion of Welsh women in employment at this time (Williams 2011: 79–80). In Y Gymraes’s second incarnation the image of the moral and domesticated woman was rendered even more ambivalent by an increasing concern with themes of female education and emancipation. During the editorship of the poet and former headmistress Alice Gray Jones (1896–1919) the magazine was unafraid to ‘challenge some of the prejudices of its day’ by discussing topics such as the Suffrage Movement (Lloyd-Morgan 1982: 11). However, under Mary Jane Griffith’s interwar editorship (1919 until the magazine’s demise in 1934) the same feminine virtues that had shaped Welsh women’s magazines in the 1850s were used to evoke a specifically Welsh sense of womanhood. As such, the publication formed part of a wider trend after the First World War to shore up Welsh culture and traditions in the face of increasing anglicisation. It is true that this was achieved by reinforcing conservative values, for example by profiling ‘good’ (that is, Christian women) and focusing on Welsh women’s contributions across the world as members of the Temperance movement; Griffith also did this in Chwiorydd Enwog y Cyfundeb (The Famous Sisters of the [Calvinistic Methodist] Connexion 1925), a collection of biographies

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of numerous Welsh women who had advanced the cause of Calvinistic Methodism in Wales. Yet, Griffith’s editorship also highlights the difficulties in defining conservatism in a minority culture, such as that of Welsh-speaking Wales. The achievements and accomplishments of the women portrayed in interwar Y Gymraes may occur within an apparently conservative framework of strict Nonconformism and Temperance, nevertheless, the attempt to create a specifically Welsh female heritage, and emphasise Welsh women’s international contributions in the face of English cultural dominance, is significant in the context of a minority language culture that was, and in many ways still is, under threat. Y Gymraes (1896–1934) was printed and published by E. W. Evans Ltd at the offices of the newspaper Y Cymro in Dolgellau in Merionethshire (now a part of Gwynedd Council). It was published monthly and retailed at 2d. The subtitle ‘Cyhoeddiad Misol i Ferched Cymru’ – a monthly publication for the girls/daughters of Wales – might lead one to think it was aimed at adolescent or young women. The words ‘Merch’ (girl) or ‘Merched’ (girls), however, were commonly used to denote women of all ages (regardless of the implicit infantilisation), unlike the geographically specific terms for ‘woman’: ‘menyw’ in the south and ‘dynes’ in the north (Rees 2014: xxi–xxii). A sense of national appeal was further reinforced by the cover drawing of a woman wearing Welsh national dress, which conventionally consists of a flannel underskirt worn underneath a red and black striped flannel or cotton bed gown, a long dark hooded woollen cape, a shawl, a chequered apron, and a tall black hat with a wide brim. This dress is still worn today (most commonly by young schoolgirls) to celebrate events such as St David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales. Although published in the north, advertisements in Y Gymraes for shops in South Wales, towns such as Ammanford and Pontypridd, appear to support its national reach in the 1920s. An advert for a hosiery shop in London additionally suggests that it was read by Welsh speakers living in England, underscoring an increasing sense of nationhood amongst readers despite geographical distance. A typical issue would contain around twelve to fifteen items most of which were opinion pieces or articles offering advice, such as the monthly ‘Gwersi Gwerthfawr’ (Valuable Lessons) which gave practical household tips. The monthly page of international Temperance-related news suggests how the magazine connected readers to a wider world outside the home, albeit within a limited sphere. The Nonconformist religious undercurrent of the magazine assumed that readers already understood and shared the values that it sought to instil in them. Most adverts, which appeared mainly on the inside front and back covers, for instance, were for bibles, books about the lives of Jesus and the Prophets, Sunday school texts, and the biographies and sermons of Nonconformist ministers. One mainstay was the monthly profile of an exemplary woman (on account of her commitment to religious work), which appeared at the very beginning of each issue accompanied by a photograph; often these were the only illustrated articles in the magazine. Sometimes the profile was written by the editor, but more often it was signed by other contributors. Most issues additionally contained: the obituaries of other praiseworthy women, a sermon-like article by a (male) Nonconformist minister on the perils of drinking or gambling, poetry, and fiction or dialogue of a didactic nature. The religious undercurrent added to Y Gymraes’s ambivalence as it simultaneously encouraged women to engage publicly

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with Christian causes while relegating them to traditional domestic roles such as raising children and housework. In terms of production and content Y Gymraes was closely linked to the Temperance Movement in Wales. It became the official magazine of Undeb Dirwestol Merched Gogledd Cymru (UDMGC), the North Wales Women’s Temperance Union from 1901, and both of its editors were prominent members of the Union. This formal partnership meant that branches of UDMGC helped circulate copies of the magazine – in 1902, for instance, the branches circulated 2,400 copies (Rhys 1996: 10). The magazine also included a record of the Union branches’ monthly activity at the end of each issue (Lloyd-Morgan 2011: 142). The profiled women had contributed in some way to the Temperance movement and many features discussed the movement’s concerns, such as abstinence. Although the Temperance movement could be deemed conservative, some historians have commented on how Welsh women’s involvement made them, and the public generally, more aware of the issues affecting women’s lives (Williams 2011; Lloyd-Morgan 2011). Lloyd-Morgan goes further, arguing that it gave Welsh women a platform and a sense of solidarity, shaping an early form of Welsh feminism that ‘embod[ied] a rhetoric of sisterhood nowadays usually associated with the women’s movement of the 1970s’ (2011: 139). Following Lloyd-Morgan’s lead in relation to feminism, one might consider how the apparent conservatism of Y Gymraes supported an increased sense of Welsh nationhood in postwar Wales that ultimately challenged English political and cultural dominance. Rather than representing the second incarnation of Y Gymraes as simply the third in a series of (related) women’s periodicals that responded to concerns about Welsh women’s morality, this study will consider the magazine in light of specific concerns within Wales in the interwar years. By the end of the nineteenth century, the proportion of Welsh speakers had sunk to just below half the population, and by the 1921 census this had decreased again to below 40 per cent (Office for National Statistics 2001: 4). Attempts were made to defend the language and its culture in the form of significant developments in the fields of politics, publishing, academia, and literature. Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru (The National Party of Wales now known as Plaid Cymru) was established in 1925 by six men, including renowned writers Saunders Lewis and Lewis Valentine, and protecting the Welsh language was amongst its aims. Amongst many other important literary developments, the contribution of academic, poet, and Eisteddfod adjudicator, Sir John Morris-Jones, was crucial. He published two influential texts, Cerdd Dafod (a definitive study of traditional Welsh cynghanedd poetic metres) in 1925 and Orgraff yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Orthography of the Welsh Language) in 1929. Both texts recorded and standardised important information about the language and its literature, which would prove indispensable for future generations of writers and academics, in addition to their impact on the Welsh used by ordinary speakers. By charting Welsh women’s contributions to interwar society, literature, and the operation of Christian organisations, Y Gymraes contributed to the wider effort to bolster Welsh-language culture and, as such, challenged English hegemony. Alongside its ambivalent representation of women’s domestic lives, the fact that the publication endeavoured to inscribe women’s voices in a male-dominated narrative of Welsh nation building further complicates perceptions of its conservatism.

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Y Gymraes in the Interwar Period Despite the lasting impact of the First World War on Wales, there is little mention in the magazine of its effects after the immediate end of hostilities. Ellen Hughes, a poet and lecturer from a Methodist background, whose important contributions to Y Gymraes will be discussed in more detail later in this section, was one of the few who encouraged readers to appreciate the women’s effort at home in wartime, pointing out: ‘[n]is gwyddom a gofiai y brodyr bob amser fod y rhai a arosent adref gyda’r dodrefn yn llawn cymaint o wroniaid a’r [sic] rhai a elent i ryfela!’ [‘We do not know whether the brothers would always remember that those who stayed at home with the furniture were as heroic as those who went to war!’] (Y Gymraes Sep 1922: 135). Her description of a quiet, domestic heroism suggests the value of women’s qualities of strength and resilience to their families, communities, and the nation. It is telling, nevertheless, that this comment appeared in an article where Hughes simultaneously welcomed women’s promotion to positions of authority, and warned of the dangers posed by those who revelled in increased publicity and renown. Indeed, the articles Hughes wrote under Griffith’s editorship seem to reinforce women’s domestic role by praising the home management skills they developed during the difficult war years. Writing about the cost of living in 1922 she drew attention to the fact that rising prices during the war and its aftermath had led women to ‘think, organise and tend, as they had never done before’ (Mar 1922: 36). This reinforced the idea of women’s domestic responsibilities, despite the fact that a high number of Welsh women had found work in munitions factories and other forms of industry during wartime (Beddoe 2000: 75–85). Hughes’s ambivalence about women’s roles in the home and in public life was characteristic of Y Gymraes under Griffith’s (Mair Ogwen) editorship, as a brief look at the magazine’s content will confirm. As previously noted, each issue began with a female profile, normally a Welsh woman who had contributed to the causes of Christianity (often as the wife of a missionary) or Temperance. This was followed by a regular feature, Atgofion am y Maes Cenhadol (Memories off the Mission Field) by Mrs Dr Roberts of Bangor, North Wales, recalling her and her husband’s contribution to the missionary cause in the Khasi Hills in India. A monthly feature: Nodiadau Dirwestol (Temperance Notes) reported on news of the various successes of Temperance societies around the world, while each issue closed with a report on the activities of the UDMGC. The stories of these women’s public and international contributions, however, were tempered by the ever-present practical advice on household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and mending, which underscore readers’ domestic responsibilities. Furthermore, while Temperance had given women responsibilities and a level of independence as officers in branches of Temperance Unions, Y Gymraes also reinforced patriarchal control through the lens of abstinence, and frequent articles by male Nonconformist ministers warning against the dangers of drinking or gambling. It was an approach that Mair Ogwen herself took in her largely didactic poetry, fiction, and dialogue, which warned of the temptations women might face either from the vice of alcohol, or the increased levels of independence afforded them through employment or participation in Christian societies. One such example is a short story called ‘Gwydraid o Win’ (A Glass of Wine), where the author draws upon the image of Eve tempting Adam in the Garden of Eden to depict a woman trying to tempt another to drink (Apr 1922: 57). Another is

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a dialogue between two women who debate whether or not women should be allowed to be preachers (‘Y Ddadl – A ddylai merched bregethu’) (Apr 1922: 59–61). The duality continues into the 1920s, even as the magazine reflected such progressive developments as increased access to education. Y Gymraes’s cover proudly announced its new editor’s status as a university graduate, with her name: ‘Mair Ogwen BA’ located towards the centre of the front cover in a large, bold print. While it was still interested in training women to be good wives and mothers, under Griffith’s editorship the type of knowledge imparted was remarkable in its scientific detail, perhaps reflecting improved literacy, and better access to formal and in some cases, such as the editor herself, higher education among its readers. The University of Wales Charter established in 1893 gave equality to women and the admissions statistics available for the pre-war years demonstrate that a high proportion of registered students were women. In 1910–11, for example, just over 42 per cent (192 out of 454) full-time students enrolled at Aberystwyth were women, in stark contrast to Oxford and Cambridge where the number of women students was around 10 per cent (Beddoe 2000: 29). Kay Cook and Neil Evans, in their study of the Women’s Suffrage movement in Wales between 1890 and 1918, noted how some saw equality in university admissions in Wales as a sign of the nation’s ‘Christian and democratic ideals’ (2011: 160). While it might be tempting to see a straightforward correlation between increased education amongst women, improved literacy rates, and Y Gymraes’s (and its readers’) engagement with more modern and progressive ideas, Jennifer Scanlon’s study of women’s interwar mass media in America complicates the relationship between women’s participation in education and their access to certain forms of knowledge (1995: 4–5). Scanlon argues that women’s increased media participation was not necessarily a ‘sign of increased literacy and a certain impetus to individuals’ greater participation in all elements of the social system’ as has previously been suggested (1995: 4). She shows instead that women’s changing expectations of their role in society ‘[brewed] beneath the surface’ of publications which communicated a more traditional ideal of womanhood (Scanlon 1995: 10). Although Y Gymraes does not fall into the category of mainstream magazine that Scanlon’s work dealt with, the world view of the society it represented was similarly ‘a given and, hence, rarely questioned’ (1995: 5). Welsh women’s changing attitudes due to education and enfranchisement, as such, might be seen to lie just below the surface, veiled by the exploration of their more conventional domestic responsibilities. This is arguably exemplified by a series of articles entitled ‘Byr-Wersi i’r Ieuainc’ (Short Lessons for the Young) by Mr H. H. Williams, Schoolmaster at Bryndu on Anglesey, which appeared in the magazine from the early 1920s and were aimed at young women and girls. Each focused on a different organ in the body and the level of detail included in this feature on the kidneys from January 1922 is characteristic: Dwy chwaren yw yr elwlod, ar ffurf tebyg i ffa, yn gorwedd yn y lwynau, un ar bob ochr i’r asgwrn cefn . . . Fe’u gwneir i fyny o gyfundrefn gywrain, dirifedi, o bibellau mân, ar furiau pa rhai y ceir rhwydwaith o wythienau a llestri gwaed, a’r cyfan wedi eu cymhlethu yn un sylwedd cigog. . . . Gwasanaethant i wahanu sylweddau diwerth a gesglir yn y gwaed oddiwrth sylweddau gwerthfawr rhaid i’r corff wrthynt. Y pwysicaf o’r sylweddau gwerthfawr hyn yw Albumen, yr hwn sylwedd sydd yn hanfodol i’r corff, yn enwedig i ran ddyfrllyd y gwaed–y plasma.

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[The kidneys are two glands, similar in form to beans, located in the loins, one either side of the spine . . . They are made of an elaborate, innumerable system of fine tubes, on the walls of which can be found a network of veins and blood vessels, all of which are compiled into one fleshy substance. . . . They serve to separate worthless substances that accumulate in the blood from valuable substances which the body must have. The most important of these valuable substances is Albumen, a substance which in essential to the body, particularly to the aqueous part of the blood – the plasma.] (Jan 1922: 10) The article’s conclusion reveals how an alternative message lay behind such detailed anatomical information: ‘[d]ysgir ni gan y meddygon y dinystrir yr elwlod gan alcohol . . . Cadwer yn glir ag alcohol ymhob ffurf-arno os am gorff iach’ [we are taught by the doctors that the kidneys are destroyed by alcohol . . . Keep clear of alcohol in all its forms for a healthy body] (10). Although the Temperance message might seem to intrude on this educational piece, it could also be considered liberating as the twin discourses of Nonconformism and female domesticity were sweetened by access to scientific information, and addressed to a reader who was assumed to be educated. Hughes’s monthly columns, meanwhile, were a mainstay of the magazine during Mair Ogwen’s editorship, until her death in 1927. Although she appears as one of Katie Gramich’s ‘nest of female poets’ alongside Cranogwen and Ceridwen Peris, Hughes’s work has received relatively little attention (Gramich 2007: 12). Given this chapter’s focus on how Y Gymraes challenged hierarchies of power within traditional frameworks, it is significant that Gramich noted these poets’ ability to engage with social concerns while using conventional poetic formats, observing that they had no qualms about introducing political topics, although ‘technically and formally, they are conservative writers, whose poetic diction is virtually indistinguishable from verse written at least half a century previously’ (2007: 12). Jane Aaron mentioned Hughes’s poetry in her analysis of Cranogwen’s work, her columns in Y Gymraes from 1896 onwards, and Cranogwen’s influence on her (1999: 131–3), while Gramich lists the titles of her published volumes, Sibrwd yr Awel (1887) and Murmur y Gragen (1907) in her discussion of turn of the century Welsh women poets (2007: 12). In Hughes’s own lifetime, her talent was noticed early on in a column entitled ‘Mae Son [sic] Am Danynt’ (There’s Talk About Them) in Papur Pawb (Everyone’s Paper) in 1894, which described her as ‘more of a philosopher than a poet’ (20 Jan 1894: 4). Her philosophical tendencies additionally are evident in her later writing for Y Gymraes which, although mellower in tone and more conservative in outlook than her earlier work, challenged the received wisdoms of women’s role in Welsh life, as the following analysis demonstrates. In ‘Dinasyddiaeth Merched’ (The Citizenship of Women 1922), one of Hughes more resolute contributions to Y Gymraes during the interwar years, she challenged the patriarchal and orientalist discourses of empire-shaping notions of British and Welsh womanhood by comparing the plight of Welsh and British women with the women of the ‘Turk’: Llawer a sonir am ormes y Twrc ar ei wragedd, ac am sefyllfa israddol merched mewn gwledydd Dwyreiniol, ond yn sicr mae’r un duedd mewn dynion ymhob wlad, hyd yn oed y gwledydd mwyaf breintiedig. Nid yw hyn yn golygu fod y dynion yn

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hanfodol greulawn neu hunanol, ond mae rhyw ddiofalwch ynom oll sydd yn peri i ni ddal gafael ym manteision ein sefyllfa . . . [Many talk of the Turk’s oppression of his wives, and of the subordinate position of women in Eastern countries, but surely men in all countries have the same tendency, even in the most privileged countries. This does not mean that men are essentially cruel or selfish, rather that there is some carelessness in us all which causes us to keep hold of the advantages of our situation . . .] (Jan 1922: 6) In pointing out the constraints faced by women at home and abroad, Hughes drew attention to the Orientalism inherent in the false binary opposition drawn between the oppressive East and the liberal West (Said 1995: 21). She also refused to label men as ‘essentially cruel or selfish’, pointing rather toward the impact of cultural difference on women’s oppression, an approach that to some extent anticipates the concerns of intersectional feminists today. Hughes’s challenge to binary constructions of gender built on her earlier political essay, ‘Merch–ei Hawliau a’i Hiawnderau’ (1892) in which she reversed Tennyson’s ‘Woman’s cause is man’s / They rise or sink together’, insisting instead that ‘Man’s cause is woman’s’, and thereby reorientating binary discourse, something she would later do in her own career (2007b: 144). There are other instances, nevertheless, where Hughes’s work reverts to essentialist thinking. In ‘Costau Byw’ (The Costs of Living 1922) she lectured readers on the plight of the animals who lost their lives in the manufacture of clothing destined merely to contribute to the ‘felicity of the little girl or the young lass’ (Mar 1922: 37). Reinforcing the stereotypical image of the superficial, vain young woman, she also drew attention to the relatively modern concept of animal cruelty. In ‘Ynys Enlli ar y blaen’ (Bardsey Island leading the way 1922) she simultaneously celebrated the appointment of a woman to the position of church or chapel elder and warned that ‘it is not desirable to see women becoming too fond of jobs and publicity’ (Sep 1922: 135). Yet, twenty-three years earlier she had passionately denounced the ideal of the ‘Angel in the House’ in her volume of writing Murmur y Gragen (1899), arguing that women could succeed in ‘many circles and on many occasions from which the world has been accustomed to debar her’ (2007a: 153–4). The cause of such contradictions is unclear, although perhaps it is significant that the earlier work was published in Hughes’s own volume, whilst the interwar contributions to Y Gymraes would have been subject to editorial intervention, and was targeted at a readership drawn significantly from the Temperance movement. Beyond reflecting on the tensions between women’s position as public workers and private citizens, Hughes’s most significant contribution to the interwar Y Gymraes was a serialised biography of Cranogwen titled ‘Yng Nghymdeithas Cranogwen’ (In the Society of Cranogwen, but with the sense of being literally in her company), which appeared almost every month from February 1923 to December 1925. As women writers, Hughes and Ceridwen Peris have been overshadowed by Cranogwen, who was an extraordinary figure. All three, however, have suffered critical neglect, probably due to the contemporary male-dominated Welsh literary culture that, to some extent, remains to this day (Rees 2014). Hughes recounted the course of Cranogwen’s life and her friendship with the late editor of the domestic magazine Y Frythones (1879–91), an advocate for women’s writing. Although the biographical narrative style was somewhat staid, the decision to record the life of this prominent woman and her efforts as a poet,

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preacher, orator, and editor is significant. Biography was probably the foremost prose genre in nineteenth-century Wales. As the writer, literary critic, and politician, Saunders Lewis claimed in 1935: . . . the Age of the Welsh Biography is the nineteenth century. It was the most important form of creative prose in that century, and until the last quarter of the century it was the only form of creative prose of importance. (1982: 341) While biographies of women from this period do exist, the most common subjects were men, particularly Nonconformist ministers and preachers (Lewis 1982: 342). The biography was still a very popular form in Welsh during the interwar years and throughout the twentieth century – indeed, its popularity has decreased little to this day – although the focus on religious figures lessened as the century progressed due to the decline of Nonconformist influence (Roberts 2011: 324). Written by a woman, about a woman, and focusing on women’s relationships with each other in their various forms, Hughes’s ‘Yng Nghymdeithas Cranogwen’ was innovative and broke new ground. The first article set out her aims: . . . awyddwn yn gryf am i’w choffadwriaeth barhau cyhyd ag y fyddo yn bosibl, ac ni foddlonwn i’r rhai sydd yn awr yn tyfu i fyny i fod yn anwybodus am Cranogwen na di-ddiddordeb ynddi. Gwyddom fod yr oes hon mor brysur a chwyldroadol, fel fod perigl i gymwynaswyr goreu ein cenedl gael eu hanghofio. [. . . we are very eager for her memory to continue for as long as it is possible, and we are not satisfied for those who are now growing up to be ignorant of Cranogwen or disinterested in her. We know that this age is so busy and revolutionary that there is a danger that our nation’s greatest benefactors will be forgotten.] (Feb 1923: 22) Hughes’s desire to make future generations aware of Cranogwen’s life and work was not necessarily a call for women to return to the domestic sphere after the war, for this was a life that consisted of extraordinary activities: seafaring with her father, laypreaching, touring the United States to give lectures, and spending months living with female acquaintances throughout Wales. Despite its continuing attention to housework and homemaking, which suggests that the main readership for Y Gymraes was among housewives and domestic women, the focus on Cranogwen foregrounds other equally valid ways of living and making a contribution to society. This is also apparent from Griffith’s book, Chwiorydd Enwog y Cyfundeb, which included an entire chapter on Cranogwen even though she did not fit the categories of wife, mother, and Temperance woman covered in other chapters. Hughes’s reference to ‘our nation’s greatest benefactors’ in Y Gymraes may explain her eagerness to teach young Welsh women about Cranogwen at this moment (Feb 1923: 22). Could it be that in a modernising world and in the wake of a war fought on a global scale, there was a risk that younger generations might forget their Welsh heritage in favour of international role models? If one applies Scanlon’s analysis of the presence of unarticulated female desires beneath the conservative veneer of the domestic magazine to a national rather than gendered context, one might argue that a desire for more recognition of Welsh culture is implicit in Hughes’s work here, and

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that the magazine was an ideal space in which to articulate this. The seemingly conservative form: a biography of an exemplary figure in the Nonconformist tradition, is not simply rendered ambivalent by the fact that it is about a woman, and specifically a woman who broke the mould. Its challenge to national and cultural hegemonies is embodied in the fact that it was written in defence of a minority culture. Whatever Hughes’s motivation was in emphasising Cranogwen’s national significance, the importance of her relationships with other women as friend and mentor can be in little doubt, if ‘Yng Nghymdeithas Cranogwen’ is to be believed. As well as praising Cranogwen’s own talents as a writer: ‘We know that we would not be far out of place if we were to say that Cranogwen was a poetess above all else’ (Y Gymraes June 1923: 85; author’s emphasis), Hughes acknowledged that even the slightest recognition by her was a significant boost to a female writer’s confidence and standing. In a candid recollection of her first contact with Cranogwen, she recalled when her work had been published in Y Frythones for the first time: Cofia yr ysgrifennydd am y tro cyntaf y digwyddodd y ffawd hon iddi, fod ei llawenydd mor gynhyrfus fel y gollyngodd ‘bowlan’ siwgr o’i llaw nes yn ddrylliau wrth glywed newydd mor ryfeddol [sic]! A mawr a fyddai yr hyfrydwch o weled enwau a chynhyrchion gohebwyr eraill, a’r diddordeb a deimlem ym mhob un ohonynt. [The writer remembers the first time this fate [having a piece published in Y Frythones] befell her, that her joy was so stirring she dropped the sugar bowl, shattering it, upon hearing such wonderful news. And great was the pleasure of seeing the names and outputs of other contributors, and the interest we felt in each of them.] (Sep 1923: 134) At the beginning of this extract Hughes refers to herself directly in the singular, rather than her usual first person plural, to impress the impact of Cranogwen’s approval on the reader. Her return to this mode at the end of the extract gives a sense of the community of women writers, the ‘nest’ as Gramich later described them, created in no small part by Cranogwen’s support and encouragement. This was also set against a backdrop of other periodicals, which did little to appeal to women’s interests let alone develop their literary talents. Perhaps Hughes had in mind the likes of Y Traethodydd (The Essayist) first published in 1845, which focused on essays on the subjects of theology, history, literary criticism, and philosophy. As she explained, such magazines ‘did not come close enough to women in their ordinary lives and their daily pursuits’ (Aug 1923: 115). Moreover, in contrast to the dense content of publications such as Y Traethodydd, the brevity of Hughes’s features, including her serialised biography of Cranogwen, were arguably designed for women to read ‘while the floors dried . . . while supper was cooking’, as were features in commercial magazines (Scanlon 1995: 8). Later in the decade (May 1926–Oct 1927) Y Gymraes would begin to examine the portrayal of Welsh women in literature with a column entitled ‘Merched Nofelau Daniel Owen’ (The Women of Daniel Owen’s Novels) written by Miss L. K. Evans of Penmachno, Conwy. Owen (1836–95), although not the first novelist to write in the Welsh language, was by then considered the foremost novelist of his generation. His depiction of north-east Walian society at the end of the nineteenth century, and the competing forces of Nonconformism and secularism were influential to the

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extent that the National Eisteddfod’s annual prize for the best novel is named the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize. Once again the magazine’s inherent ambivalence about women and their lives is evident. Evans’s analysis follows conventional lines reinforcing the dichotomy between good and bad women, and praising his ‘mother’, ‘sister’, and youthful female characters for their goodness, godliness, or faithfulness to friends and family; ‘in portraying the Welsh mam one sees Daniel Owen at his best’, she observed for instance (May 1926: 73). His landladies and barmaids, in contrast, are depicted more critically and other stereotypical female pariahs, such as the witch, are also represented in a negative light. In the Welsh context, nevertheless, this form of literary criticism was significant. Firstly, the novel itself was a fairly new form in Welsh literature and one that was not considered as worthy of attention as poetry. Literary critic John Rowlands has discussed the ‘late emergence’ of the novel in Welsh and its reluctant acceptance by literary critics, noting ‘the failure to take the novel seriously (it was in fact called a ffugchwedl, “a false tale” or “fictitious tale”)’ (1998: 159–60). In addition, as previously noted, the field of Welsh literary criticism was dominated by male figures during the interwar years. As well as John Morris Jones other notables were Caradog Prichard who won three National Eisteddfod Crowns for poetry in 1927, 1928, and 1929, and Saunders Lewis who, as well as writing his own literary works and helping to found Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru, published an influential study of the eighteenth-century hymnist William Williams of Pantycelyn in 1927, and Braslun o Hanes Llenyddiaeth Cymru (An Outline of the History of Welsh Literature) in 1932, which only included male writers. The fact that a woman was writing a regular literary column for a national magazine, and focusing exclusively on female characters in novels could be considered revolutionary, and was certainly a bold step.

Conclusion Y Gymraes’s focus on women’s work inside and outside the home through their participation in outwardly conservative movements relating to Nonconformist Christianity and Temperance represented a challenge both to English cultural hegemony in Wales, and the male-dominated sphere of Welsh literary and religious culture in the interwar years. While this challenge emerged from a traditional understanding of the woman’s role and place in the world as home-focused, it did not simply reinforce an idealised sense of womanhood and domesticity. Rather, it made women’s work at home a matter of national and religious importance in a small nation that was gaining a new understanding of its cultural independence. The magazine, moreover, offered specifically Welsh female role models, some of whom did not fit the domestic mould, contributing a female perspective to the growing sense of nationhood. Part of a wider challenge to the British status quo within Welsh culture and society at this time, Y Gymraes’s creation of a specifically Welsh female heritage also offered resistance to the patriarchal strictures that dominated Welsh religious and cultural life. The ambivalent position of Wales within the United Kingdom, and the complexity of Welsh women’s roles within what, in some ways, remains a male-dominated literary field, still affect Welsh women today. That Y Gymraes foregrounded these issues is testament to its importance and the foresight of its editorial team in the interwar years despite, or even because of, the publication’s outward conservatism.

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Publication ceased in 1934. Although no reference was made to the fact that the December 1934 issue would be the last, a glance at the notices on the inner covers offer a clue to the magazine’s demise. From November 1931 until October 1932 advertisements for other Welsh publications and domestic goods disappeared and were replaced by a notice offering prizes to the branch of UDMGC which could demonstrate the greatest increase in subscriptions for the magazine, a strategy that suggests a declining readership (Nov 1931: inside front cover). By October 1932 the competition was replaced by a plea: ‘Wanted: new subscribers for Y Gymraes’, which continued to appear until the very last issue (Oct 1932: inside front cover). One might speculate that the severe economic depression of the 1930s, which greatly affected Wales, had taken its toll on circulations (Beddoe 2000: 74–108). If that were the case, Y Gymraes’s fate was remarkably similar to that of the real-life Cymraesau of the day.

Works Cited Aaron, Jane. 1999. Pur fel y Dur: Y Gymraes yn Llên Menywod y Bedwaredd Ganrif ar Bymtheg. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Beddoe, Deirdre. 2000. Out of the Shadows: A History of Women in Twentieth Century Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Committee of Council on Education. 1847. Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (RCISEW). Vols I–III. London: William Clowes and Sons. Available at (last accessed 3 Jan 2015). Cook, Kay and Neil Evans. [1991] 2011. ‘“The Petty Antics of the Bell-Ringing Boisterous Band”? The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Wales, 1890–1918.’ Our Mothers’ Land: Chapters in Welsh Women’s History 1830–1939. Ed. Angela V. John. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 157–85. Davies, John. [1993] 2007. A History of Wales. Rev. edn. London: Penguin. Evans, W. Gareth. 1989. ‘“Addysgu mwy na hanner y genedl”: Yr Ymgyrch i Hyrwyddo Addysg y Ferch yng Nghymru Oes Fictoria.’ Cof Cenedl IV: Ysgrifau ar Hanes Cymru. Llandysul: Gwasg Gomer. 91–120. Gramich, Katie. 2007. Twentieth-Century Women’s Writing in Wales: Land, Gender, Belonging. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Hughes, Ellen. [1899] 2007a. ‘Angylion yr Aelwyd /Angels in the House.’ The Very Salt of Life: Welsh Women’s Political Writings from Chartism to Suffrage. Ed. Jane Aaron and Ursula Masson. Dinas Powys: Honno. 150–4. —. [1892] 2007b. ‘Merch–ei Hawliau a’i Hiawnderau / Woman–Her Claims and Her Rights.’ The Very Salt of Life: Welsh Women’s Political Writings from Chartism to Suffrage. Ed. Jane Aaron and Ursula Masson. Dinas Powys: Honno. 142–9. Lewis, Saunders. [1973] 1982. Meistri’r Canrifoedd: Ysgrifau ar Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg. Ed. R. Geraint Gruffydd. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen. 1982. ‘Anturiaethau’r Gymraes.’Y Casglwr 16. March: 11. —. [1991] 2011. ‘From Temperance to Suffrage?’ Our Mothers’ Land: Chapters in Welsh Women’s History 1830–1939. Ed. Angela V. John. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 134–56. The Office for National Statistics. 2001. ‘200 Years of the Census in . . .Wales.’ London: Office for National Statistics. Patmore, Coventry. 1905. The Angel in the House Together with the Victories of Love.’ Introduction by Alice Meynell. London: George Routledge & Sons.

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Rees, Mair. 2014. Y Llawes Goch a’r Faneg Wen: Y Corff Benywaidd a’i Symbolaeth mewn Ffuglen Gymraeg gan Fenywod. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Rhys, Manon Wyn. 1996. Y Fam Gymreig yn y cyfnodolion Cymraeg i ferched rhwng 1850–1934. Cardiff: University of Wales. Unpublished MA thesis. Roberts, Llion Pryderi. 2011. ‘Mawrhau ei swydd’: Owen Thomas, Lerpwl (1812–91) a chofiannau pregethwyr y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg. Dissertation, Cardiff University. Rowlands, John. 1998. ‘The Novel.’ A Guide to Welsh Literature c. 1900–1996 Volume VI. Ed. Dafydd Johnston. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 159–203. Said, Edward W. [1978] 1995. Orientalism. London: Penguin. Scanlon, Jennifer. 1995. Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies’ Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture. New York and London: Routledge. Williams, Siân Rhiannon. [1991] 2011. ‘The True “Cymraes”: Images of Women in Women’s Nineteenth-Century Welsh Periodicals.’ Our Mothers’ Land: Chapters in Welsh Women’s History 1830–1939. Ed. Angela V. John. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 73–94.

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19 Woman Appeal. A New Rhetoric of Consumption: Women’s Domestic Magazines in the 1920s and 1930s Fiona Hackney

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hen in 1926 two brothers from South Wales, William and Gomer Berry, struck a deal to acquire the entire business of the Amalgamated Press (AP), they took on the mantle of ‘Britain’s leading magazine publishing business’, after the untimely death of AP owner and press magnate, Alfred Harmsworth (Lord Northcliffe) (Cox and Mowatt 2014: 60–3). The continued importance of magazines aimed at the female reader for the Berrys’ empire was emphasised by William in his first speech as chairman, and in the coming years a host of new titles including Woman and Home, Woman’s Journal, Woman’s Companion, Wife and Home, Woman and Beauty, and Home Journal were added to established staples such as Home Chat, Women’s Pictorial, Woman’s World, and Woman’s Weekly. The launch of over fifty titles by AP and its rivals Newnes and Pearson, and Odhams Press, put women and their magazines at the forefront of popular publishing in the interwar years. By the end of the 1930s Odhams Press, under the direction of its dynamic managing director Julias Elias (Lord Southwood), had usurped the AP’s position with its innovative publication Woman, which brought the visual appeal of good quality colour printing to a tuppeny weekly, something that previously had only been available in expensive, high-class magazines. The interwar years witnessed expansion and consolidation, struggle and innovation, as these publishing giants competed to command the lucrative market for women’s magazines. The buoyant market in operation in the 1920s opened new opportunities for women. Not only were more titles produced, but also more women were employed on magazines as writers, on the editorial side, in publicity, art departments, and in related businesses such as advertising and retail, as female professionals were recruited to ‘appeal to women’, and articulate their ‘point of view’ (Mosely 1926: 97; Greenby 1927: 201). Driven by commercial imperatives – women were considered to hold the purse strings of the nation – woman appeal, nevertheless, was envisaged in terms of understanding female psychology and a gendered perspective on life, in order to better represent and respond to modern women’s widening sphere of interests as mothers, wives, and workers: private individuals and public citizens. Such ideas underpinned the development of a service-style genre of consumer publication that, according to magazine historian Cynthia L. White, marked a ‘turning point in women’s publishing’ by offering the reader ‘“intimate personal service” with a secondary emphasis on entertainment’, and reorientating women’s journalism away from the leisured, servant-keeping classes, and toward

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the middle ranks (1970: 96). Characterised by specialist writing that was both informal and expert, a more integrated approach to editorial and advertising, and an emphasis on visual communication, the service magazine had a domestic and ‘women’s interests’ focus and strove to strengthen ‘reader identification’ (96). For some magazines such as Ideal Home this included a free postal service putting readers in touch with, as Home editor Julia Cairns put it, ‘authentic specialists’ in all subjects the magazine covered ‘from planning a house to making a soufflé, from tabling the new bride’s domestic time sheet to getting together the nursery for the new baby’. She declared, ‘I intensely desired that our magazine should be of practical use to the thousands of readers depending on it, getting ideas from it, trusting it’ (1960: 25). In order to be of practical use those producing magazines had to know their readers – to understand their interests, tastes, views, aspirations, problems, and anxieties. This demanded a closer relationship between producers and consumers and, as the pressure to expand circulations increased, it involved an expanded readership among what contemporary surveys termed the lower-middle-classes and upper-working-classes (IPC 1932). Critics disagree about the implications this had for readers. Press historian Joseph McAleer has described the new female readership (NFR) for magazines in terms of ‘a kind of escapism among working-class readers towards a middle-class ideal’ (1992: 81). Dan LeMahieu, in contrast, foregrounded audience agency in his analysis of commercial media in the period, arguing that far from dictating the cultural preferences of their public, cultural producers had to ‘bind themselves to the tastes of a diverse audience’ (1988: 19). This chapter argues that something more complicated than the simple appropriation of one class’s habits and ideals by another was taking place amidst the shifting power relations between those producing and consuming magazines in these years. Drawing on interviews with journalists and contemporary sources in the press and advertising, as well as oral history with women about their memories of magazine reading in the 1930s, it proposes that women brought distinct interests, needs, and requirements, which were grounded in their lived experience and shaped their engagement with magazines.1 The increasingly hybrid environment of service magazines, moreover, as advertising became more integrated with editorial features and fiction, all of which used illustration or photography, in black and white and colour, signalled a new rhetoric of visual consumption that shaped magazines as imaginative spaces in distinct ways. Many journalists and readers I spoke to employed the metaphor of the magazine as a window, which both ‘opened things up’ and mirror-like ‘reflected readers’ back onto themselves. The notion of the window-mirror became a central organising idea for me in understanding how the hybrid magazine environment worked as an imaginative space, shaped by the diverse, and sometimes competing, elements of, among others, its readers, editor, specialist writers, illustrators, advertisers, art directors, and printers, all with their own protocols, interests, and needs (Hackney 2012, 2017). This chapter examines the new rhetoric of consumption through the lens of specialist journalism, and the increasingly integrated relationship between advertising and editorial in service magazines, arguing that it offered women, particularly the NFR, opportunities to engage with modernity in meaningful ways. It focuses on three characteristic magazines: Modern Woman (1925), Woman’s Weekly (1911), and Woman (1937). Newnes’s sixpenny monthly Modern Woman typified the service magazine format with its liberal use of advertising and focus on domestic modernity – its strapline

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announced it as ‘The Journal with the New Spirit of the Age’. An older style periodical, the AP’s tuppeny letterpress Woman’s Weekly, continued to achieve high sales and was characteristic of the ‘women’s interests’ magazine in the 1930s; and Odhams’s colour weekly Woman (1937) heralded the postwar, mass-market magazine. Each form the focus of the sections below, which examine expansion and innovation in the 1920s, followed by consolidation, an ethics of consumption, and the introduction of colour in the 1930s. First, it is necessary to consider the changed context in journalistic training, pay, and conditions that supported the growth of the female specialist writer, and service magazines.

‘A very good job for a woman’: Specialist Journalism and Advertising Women . . . today is the day of the Specialist, and your only chance of breaking through into new ground is if you can contribute something new, or if not new, some new method of use, of presentation or of adaptation. (Cairns 1960: 13) Attitudes to the woman journalist changed considerably in the first decades of the twentieth century. Whereas in 1902 Mrs Belloc-Lowndes had addressed her column for female aspirants to those ‘compelled to earn their own living’, by 1936 Emilie H. Peacocke, who edited the Daily Express women’s page, presented journalism as a serious business with significant rewards for women (1902: 127; 1936: 50–1). Specialist or expert journalism, which involved what Cairns described as ‘a specialised knowledge of any subject which forms part of the fabric of everyday living’, was central to this transformation (1960: 10). The specialist’s job was to inform and to inspire reader trust and confidence, ‘giving new zest to the hum-drum domestic round and making each day of duty one of adventurous life in the home’ (Peacocke 1936: 63). This section explores magazine journalism for women, with a focus on its characteristics, training opportunities, pay, and conditions, including the interconnected growth of women in advertising. It argues that specialist journalism, in particular, promoted a new culture of consumption that put women’s everyday concerns, interests, dreams, and aspirations at the centre of modern life. The establishment of professional training provided new points of entry into the profession for women. Initially intended to help men back into careers after the war, the pioneering University of London Diploma Course established in 1920 proved more popular with women, who made up more than half of its 400 graduates before it closed in 1939 (Hunter 1992: 689). Peacocke, a member of the Course Committee, argued that with qualifications women would no longer suffer ‘sex prejudice’, but even she had to admit that a female reporter was still unlikely to get a ‘big story’ unless it happened to have a ‘feminine angle’ (1936: 90, 113). Others trained at Oxbridge or private colleges, and magazines advertised correspondence courses in journalism and commercial art. Miss Francis Low, author of many publications on journalism as a career for women, ran the South Molton Street school where future Woman editor Mary Grieve received what she later described as a ‘rigorous’ and ‘invaluable’ training (1964: 32–3). Costs, however, meant that for the most part women journalists were middle class (Altick 1962). Even then they could encounter family disapproval.

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Grieve recalled her father’s opposition to what he deemed an ‘unsuitable ambition’ for a woman (1964: 15). A smoother entry was afforded to those with family in the profession. Mary Stott, who edited Woman’s Outlook (the Co-operative Society’s women’s magazine) in the 1930s and went on to become women’s page editor of the Manchester Guardian in 1957, came from a family of journalists who encouraged her choice of career (Hackney 2012: 63). Mary Dilnot, who began in 1939 as a young subeditor on Woman’s Weekly and rose to be editor, was the daughter of Answers’ editor George Dilnot. She observed: ‘most, but not all [of those working on Woman’s Weekly in the 1930s] had got there by knowing somebody who knew somebody’ (64). The tried and tested route of secretary, now with typing and shorthand, remained productive. Starting out at Woman and Home aged eighteen as the editor’s junior secretary, Angela Wyatt became subeditor, then editor (65). Alice Head, reputedly the highest paid woman in Britain by the outbreak of the Second World War, began as a shorthand typist at Newnes’s Country Life before taking up the editorship of Woman at Home aged twenty-two, when the celebrated Annie S. Swan stepped down (Cox and Mowatt 2014: 66–8). Once achieved, a staff position offered opportunities for relatively well-paid work. As a junior on the Nursing Mirror in 1925 Grieve considered her £3 5s a week a ‘viable living wage’ (1964: 42). Cairns, who by the mid-1920s had graduated to an editorial position on Odhams’s Ideal Home, earned 7 guineas a week and ‘a salary approaching four figures’ in 1927 when she was poached by Leslie Clark to work as House and Home Director on the AP’s new upmarket Woman’s Journal (1960: 16, 27). Marked disparities existed. Odhams paid higher wages in the 1930s because it was a trade-union house and the union chapels had consistently pressed for rises even in the face of the economic slump. In her early twenties in 1937 Peggy Makins, who went on to become the renowned agony aunt Evelyn Home, started work at Woman at £5 a week, a good deal more than the £1 10s Dilnot received as a sub on Woman’s Weekly, and something that compared favourably with the average male wage of between £3 and £4 a week (Gardiner 2010: xv). When later she received a salary of £250 a year Makins felt ‘plutocratic’ (1975: 61); it was nevertheless a figure that fell far below the £500 a year that Virginia Woolf gave as a guarantee of independence in 1929. Far from an unsuitable ambition, by the 1930s journalism was proving to be an excellent career, at least for some women. Many specialists worked as outside contributors on a commission and noncommission basis. Gillian Arnold grouped women journalists into regular staff contributors whose work was commissioned but who worked outside the office, and freelance journalists who wrote on an infinite variety of subjects for different papers (1919: 34). The work could be steady and of long duration. The agony aunt at Woman’s Weekly was a freelance who continued for years (Hackney 2012: 66). At Woman and Home all the subjects that involved ‘doing’, such as compiling and testing out the instructions for knitting patterns and recipes were covered by freelancers (66). In her book on journalism as a career for women, monthly magazine editor Myfanwy Crawshay claimed that freelancers could support themselves on earnings from articles or short-story writing, potentially making £20 a week if they had energy, enthusiasm, and knew their markets (1932: 14). It was the stimulating work environment as much as the wages that attracted many to the women’s press. Newspaper offices tended to be ill-equipped for feminine sensibilities.

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Magazines, in contrast, employed a small, largely female staff. Cairns repeatedly referred to her team as a surrogate family (1960: 5, 39, 44). Dilnot was one of three female subs when she began at Woman’s Weekly in the late 1930s, while Wyatt was part of a team of around twenty. Both enjoyed the variety of the work: editing articles, writing titles, sizing up photographs, layout, proofreading, turning their hand to correspondence and answering the telephone. Dilnot affectionately recalled the relaxed but hard-working atmosphere at the Weekly: We shared the same fiction and knitting department [with Woman and Home and My Home] and if anybody was out of a job it was quite common to go into another room and say, anything you want done, can I give a hand? . . .We were always absolute workaholics . . . the subs did anything . . . It had a friendly atmosphere . . . It was a very good job for a woman when I started . . . And of course you had freedom. (Hackney 2012: 65) Makins recorded her elation at being able ‘to escape’ to an office away from home, where it was assumed that any female must be at all times available for housework (1975: 35). Grieve found returning to the domestic routine of her family home so horrific after the excitement and independence of working as a journalist in London that she experienced recurring nightmares in which she relived the anxiety of being confined and having no work or, as she put it, ‘no real life’ (1964: 46). Freedom came at a price. ‘There are no “cushy” jobs in journalism’, Arnold warned, a job that demanded ‘all one’s energies and all one’s time’ (1919: 34). Head demanded complete dedication, dividing young women employees into those who filled in time before marriage and those who put in overtime, ‘because their occupation really means something to them’ (1939: 194). An unofficial bar existed whereby women customarily left work on marriage. There were, of course, exceptions. Makins was encouraged to remain in post after marriage; she never wanted children. Cairns married twice but also did not have children. The modern ethos of professionalism did little to alleviate, and may even have exacerbated, the dilemma for women forced to choose between family and career. Women’s increased status in consumer journalism was accompanied by their employment in all aspects of advertising ‘woman’s point of view’ (Bigham 1994; Hackney 2017). Author Elidor M. Briggs, who contributed careers features to Modern Woman in 1932, claimed that advertising was ‘one of the most interesting and suitable kinds of work for women’ with salaries of £250–£350 per year and £500 in exceptional circumstances (Aug 1932: 30). The American J. Walter Thompson (JWT) agency installed a Women’s Editorial Department entirely staffed by female copywriters and W. S. Crawford launched their Women’s Department run by Margaret Havinden (Scanlon 1995). Magazine historian Jennifer Scanlon highlighted the ‘missionary spirit’ and ‘social service goals’ of advertising at JWT where women advertisers believed that they could ‘improve the position of women’ (1995: 171). In Britain, women such as Ethel Wood, a Director of the British Samson Clarke agency and lifelong advocate for women, and the social reformer, author, and magazine Agony Aunt, Leonora Eyles, agreed (Wood 1925: 180; Hackney 2017). Service magazines were characterised by closer ties between specialists and advertisers, and a light, informal tone influenced by advertising. Lightness of style, Crawshay

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assured, did not necessarily mean low standards, while ‘rudimentary facts about housekeeping and other feminine matters’, were no longer sufficient; ‘writing had to have “news value”’, another idea co-opted from advertising (1932: 27). The new style was designed to engage readers in an imagined conversation and participate in a cultural imaginary that referenced the aural-visual, commercial language of radio and cinema rather than literature and the written word. Even gossip was modernised. The ‘modern gossip feature’, according to Peacocke, was a ‘versatile, vital, stimulating, wholesome and healthy’ branch of the journalist’s craft, which imparted news about the ‘phases of modern social life’ in a ‘chatty informative style’ and ‘friendly spirit’ (1936: 28). Topics included: new houses and flats, original ideas in interior decoration, clothes and parties, celebrity babies, debutantes, trends in dinner-table talk, novel foods, witty sayings, comments of notable people on the affairs of the day, and novel holiday plans. The ‘heart-to-heart’ talk with advice on ‘problems and perplexities, emotional, philosophical, psychological, domestic, aesthetic and financial’, additionally opened opportunities for women with their supposedly innate ability to empathise (1936: vii). Writing about the American Ladies’ Home Journal, Jennifer Scanlon argued that advertising women and journalists were in a ‘paradoxical position’ because, despite their belief in the power of consumer magazines to improve readers’ lives, they achieved professional success and independence by encouraging women to become dependent consumers (Scanlon 1995: 171). The editors, journalists, and advertisers cited here, nevertheless, seem sincere in their belief in the woman-centred service that magazines offered by foregrounding readers’ views, aspirations, desires, and concerns, and responding to them. Magazines and advertisers, as such, operated a commercial equivalent to the national service envisaged by Lord Reith at the BBC (Winship 2000). The key was to regulate the service in advertising and editorial, maintain standards, preserve quality, and retain reader trust. Editors faced new challenges as an expanding consumer culture in the 1920s funded a growth in the number of publications aimed at female readers, and advertising became increasingly integrated with editorial, a situation that precipitated new patterns of communication in magazines.

New Patterns of Communication: Advertising and Editorial in the 1920s National expenditure rose from an estimated £31 million in 1920 to £57 million in 1928 and the expansion in magazine publishing for women in the 1920s was driven by its ability to attract advertising (Nevett 1982: 145). The Newnes-Pearson group, which focused its efforts entirely on periodicals, was the AP’s main rival between the wars and a situation of increasing ‘oligopolistic rivalry’ developed (Cox and Mowatt 2014: 65). Newnes, under the general management of Walter Grierson and with an advertising department directed by Alfred Johnson, held a controlling interest in R. S. Cartwright’s publications including the enormously successful Country Life, Homes & Gardens, and a stable of Leach-branded dress publications. Some of the latter were absorbed into a series of domestic service titles aimed at middle-class women; in 1925 Leach’s Newest Fashions merged with Modern Woman, for instance. Pearson, meanwhile, targeted the working-class sector with romance papers and Woman’s Friend, a popular magazine for housewives (White 1970: 97). Crucial to understanding the

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meaning and significance for readers of these service-style publications is an understanding of the new patterns of communication that emerged as, for instance, advertising became increasingly anchored to editorial. The interwar years have been characterised as a time when advertising was reshaping the institutional structures of the media and changing its relationship with audiences. Publications were no longer regarded as products to be sold to readers but rather ‘vehicles’ organising audiences into clearly identifiable target groups that could be ‘sold to advertisers’ (Leiss et al. 1986: 103). Sally Stein, in her analysis of Ladies’ Home Journal, argued that this drew the reader ‘closer to the marketplace’ in ways that represented a form of ‘supervised mobility’ and ‘entrapment’ (1989: 146–9). Nevertheless, while publicity managers worked hard to sell magazine space in Britain, it is by no means clear that their publications only represented advertisers’ interests. Editors were acutely aware of the need to maintain editorial integrity in order to retain reader trust and loyalty. They stressed the service magazines offered by informing readers and educating them to be critical consumers. Cairns, for instance, although an ardent supporter of advertising, which she considered ‘the very lifeblood’ of a publication keeping the editorial department ‘well abreast of news’, firmly rejected any ‘“quid pro quo” policy’ of endorsement (1960: 25–6). The new patterns of communication also altered reading habits. Arguing that reading was ‘formed and stabilised in the kind of matter provided by the magazine and the manner of its presentation’, the literary critic Q. D. Leavis believed that editorial designed like a poster to ‘catch the eye’ promoted reading ‘with the eye’ rather than the mind and resulted in a ‘passive’, compulsive, uncritical ‘reading habit’ akin to a ‘drug habit’ (1932: 13, 183, 8). Leavis’s literary elitism aside, the compulsive nature of magazine reading she identified was confirmed by the women I interviewed, many of whom referred to how they ‘took it all in’, one even claiming to read every word of advertising (Hackney 2012: 119). Far from an uncritical reader, such high levels of immersion seem rather to suggest the ‘absorbed’ gaze that Emilie Altenloh identified in her 1914 study of female cinema audiences, which film historian Patrice Petro ascribed to engagement with a gender-differentiated subjectivity and experience of modernity (1989: 3–4). This suggests an attentive and reflective reader who brought her own lived experience to the act of reading, rather than one who was passive and duped. Advertisers themselves were eager to raise professional standards in order to be recognised as a ‘respectable’ profession (Nevett 1982: 150–6). Numerous professional organisations were established, including the Women’s Advertising Society and the Institute of Incorporated Practitioners in Advertising (1927), and new scientific methods of market research were introduced. While illustrated monthlies, in particular, depended increasingly on revenue from advertising, advertisers did not have it all their own way. They depended on the reputations of the publications in which they advertised to establish their ethical credentials, and magazines offered services such as reader profiling. Publishers applied pressure for the regulation of agencies and were reluctant to divulge reliable estimates of net sales circulations, the one thing that advertisers craved. The advertising executive Arthur Richardson attributed this reticence to a combination of conservatism and the fear of lost revenue if circulations were revealed (1925: 423–4). Partly as a means of sidestepping the net sales issue, publishers and their publicity managers modernised their service to advertisers by introducing charging systems for allotting space, improved typographic and display facilities,

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and advertisement guarantees to guard against unscrupulous and dishonest practices. These services were also intended to assist readers by controlling the reliability of advertised products and improving the appearance of magazines. Good Housekeeping led the way with a home-management section under the direction of Mrs Cottington Taylor and in 1924 a British version of the American Good Housekeeping Institute, which housed laboratories and kitchens to test the quality of products advertised in the magazine. Advertising was rejected if goods were found to be substandard and the coveted Good Housekeeping Institute Seal of Approval provided British consumers with their ‘first effective source of consumer advice and protection’ which, according to Alice Head, helped generate both circulation and advertising revenue (Cox and Mowatt 2014: 68). Others followed suit. Cairns was charged with equipping a model kitchen to test recipes when she joined Woman’s Journal in 1927 (1960: 28). Philip Emanuel, advertising director at Odhams, produced a scheme with the slogan, ‘All round value and a square guarantee for a straight line’ that promised to refund readers who suffered loss when answering advertisements for goods in the Press’s publications (Woman 1 Jan 1938: 33). The practice, nevertheless, was not without its detractors. Although advertising executive Ethel Wood considered guarantees a sign that the press was taking responsibility for the advertising it carried, Richardson viewed them more cynically as ‘window-dressing’ (1925: 120; 1925: 514). The new science of consumer psychology claimed to further enhance the efficacy of advertising by helping advertisers understand and respond to human motivation. In a series of articles in Modern Advertising Frank Watts, a retired psychology lecturer, argued that advertising must both arouse instinctive impulses (through ‘“Short-Circuit” Appeals’) and elicit rational, conscious judgements (via ‘“Long-Circuit” Appeals’) (1925: 103–4). Adverts, he argued, needed to produce ‘conviction’ in consumers as a necessary preliminary to buy and this was best achieved by organising thoughts and feelings about an idea through specific ‘sentiments’, such as: the sentiment of ‘science’ (proofs of hygiene), ‘value’ (quality, durability) or ‘efficiency’ (economy) (1925: 375–7). Watts, moreover, cited studies evidencing the benefits of particular modes of display including: illustration for holding the attention of ‘picture-minded persons’; location on the upper sections of pages for effective recall; and the ‘attraction value’ of placement on the front or back covers, and next to relevant ‘news matter’ (1925: 246, 245). Next matter placement drove the development of service departments run by specialists, while the technique of ‘turn pages’ – breaking up fiction and features with adverts and running them through the magazine – became standard procedure, despite readers reporting dislike of the practice. Addressing these concerns, Cairns underscored the economic value of ‘next matter’, which could be charged at a higher price, and emphasised the value of pictorial advertising to the ‘over-all appearance’ of the magazine (1960: 42). Makins agreed that interweaving editorial and advertising risked irritating readers but saved money (1975: 181). Magazines, with their purportedly close relationship to readers and unique combination of rational (editorial) and emotional (fiction) appeals, provided a perfect environment for a new language of communication that combined authoritative information with fantasy and escape, something that editors were aware of and ready to develop. By the end of the 1920s sixpenny monthlies such as Modern Woman, which depended on advertising revenue to supplement sales, were integrating editorial and advertising as composite images in an early form of the advertorial. A two-page spread consisting

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Figure 19.1 Warwick Holmes, ‘What the Eye Don’t See . . .’ © The British Library Board. Shelfmark: LOU.LON 490. (Source: Modern Woman Apr 1930: 63)

Figure 19.2 ‘The dirt you can’t see is the worst’. © The British Library Board. Shelfmark: LOU.LON 490. (Source: Modern Woman Apr 1930: 64)

of an article by the magazine’s housekeeping expert Warwick Holmes facing a full-page advert for Goblin vacuum cleaners is characteristic (Figures 19.1 and 19.2). The two were given visual coherence through a symmetrical design, whereby the line drawing of a fashionably dressed saleswoman in the ad on the right mirrors the photograph of a similarly attired demonstrator in the editorial on the left, and connects the headline: ‘What the eye don’t see . . .’ (editorial) to ‘“The dirt you can’t see is the worst”’ (advert) (Apr 1930: 63–4). Significantly, both editorial and advertisement employed the tropes of advertising through appeals to fear and the sentiment of science by drawing on contemporary anxieties about the ‘dust germ’ theory of disease promoted by exponents of the new housekeeping (Binnie 1929: 131). Whereas Holmes’s editorial focused on rational appeal and the sentiment of value, offering the reader a thorough appraisal of the vacuum cleaner (no products named) as ‘an investment, with a dividend payable in 50 percent more comfort and leisure’, the advert, which was staged as an informal conversation, foregrounded more emotive social anxieties and ‘instinctive impulses’ for ‘self-display’ (Watts 1925: 374). ‘“I thought, like you, that cleaners were all right for shops and restaurants, but that people like us didn’t need them. Now I know better”’, the saleswoman opines. The advert’s offer of a free booklet written by the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Mrs Cottington Taylor completes the combined effect of rational and emotional appeal.

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By addressing the ‘woman who does her own housework’ as well as those with ‘staff’ and selling ‘electric and non-electric models’, Modern Woman aimed to be inclusive, targeting readerships within an expanding middle class (Apr 1930: 63, 64). Electrical labour-savers, like the domestic servants they gradually replaced, were a primary signifier of middle-class status. Yet, unlike servants, electrical appliances also signalled the excitement of a fast-paced and technologically innovative modernity, something that had far wider appeal. The design historian Adrian Forty has used the term ‘millenarian spirit’ to describe a discourse that connected electricity with progressive values of liberation, efficiency, health, comfort, economy, and informality in the period (1986: 190). He argues that as a phenomenon principally manifest in commercial culture (in the press, marketing, and product design), it introduced a new psychology of modernity which radically altered how people imagined their lives. With their pages of integrated light, bright pictorial advertising and informative editorial connoting emotional and rational appeals, service magazines in the 1920s held up a mirror for readers that both reflected aspects of their lives and offered them a window through which they might imagine themselves differently: modernised, and improved.

Colour and Class: Mass Weeklies in the 1930s In June 1935 AP Director William Berry was still promoting the value of his ‘nearly a hundred monthly and weekly periodicals’, offering ‘unique coverage of this market’ to those advertising goods for women. The strategy of flooding the market with new titles had stalled by the mid-1930s and publishers needed to develop new strategies. Visual appeal was one of them. American publications such as Vogue, with its illustrations employing clever design layouts and display advertising, were heralded as ‘a shaft of bright illumination’ and a progressive force in British publishing (Cox and Mowatt 2014: 63, 69–72). Advertising rather than cover price was the main engine for generating revenue for these ‘high class’ magazines, which were rigorously targeted at an elite and wealthy readership. For advertisers, mainstream publishers and many readers, however, ‘class papers’, as advertising expert H. W. Eley explained, referred not to social class but rather to ‘specialist-interest publications’ that appealed to ‘special classes of people . . . [whose] interests and point of view are known’ (1932: 99, 100–1). No class of people were more powerful, in this respect, than women. I will demonstrate how two mid-range high-selling weeklies: the AP’s Woman’s Weekly, which employed traditional letterpress, and Odhams’s new colour-gravure, Woman (1936), tackled the problem of attracting advertising while building audience in ways that complicate assumptions about the undesirable effects of advertising in magazines. Pressure became intense as the rapid growth of newspaper sales drew advertising revenue away from magazines. Advertising managers had to promote their publications’ unique capabilities (Eley 1932: 91). Philip Emanuel at Odhams underlined the value of visual appeal, arguing that the longer lives, multiple readerships, and leisured context in which periodicals were read facilitated a ‘more intimate and detailed job of selling’ where even lengthy copy would be received with interest and in a sympathetic frame of mind (1934: 85). Paul Redmayne and Hugh Weeks, in their contemporary

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guide for the profession, instructed advertisers to gauge the class of person to which a paper circulated from a publication’s ‘environment’, namely the ‘general tone of the editorial matter’ and the ‘amount and “class” of extant advertising’ (1931: 157). In a pressured market a magazine’s environment became a key factor in establishing its value for advertisers and readers. This was finely calibrated. Within the broader rubric of specialist interest women’s magazines, Eley identified five categories: house and garden, housekeeping, women’s interests, fashion, and miscellaneous. The first two included a further three subgroups, organised according to their ideal readers’ spending power and cultural interests: shilling monthlies such as Ideal Home that connected with the material structure and embellishment of the home and Good Housekeeping which dealt with its ‘working side’; sixpenny monthlies such as Modern Woman and Modern Home that were suitable for advertising ‘articles of lower price and quality’; and tuppeny weeklies such as Home Chat. ‘Women’s interests’ publications such as Woman’s Weekly, meanwhile, dealt with the ‘lighter interests’ of women and girls, attracting adverts for toilet preparations, dress materials and accessories, clothing, imitation gems, beauty treatments, food, and medical preparations associated with ‘beautiful complexions and slimness’, as well as a ‘spice of “housekeeping interest”’ (1932: 100–4). Contemporary readership surveys indicate a shift in the 1930s away from older format domestic magazines such as Home Chat toward ‘woman’s interests’ titles such as Woman’s Weekly (McAleer 1992: 81). The Times claimed a circulation in excess of 500,000 for the Weekly in 1926 (6 June 1936: 19). This suggests a growing readership among those who identified as young, modern women rather than with older notions of class-differentiated domesticity. In 1932 Woman’s Weekly was the most popular weekly read across a range of social groups (middle, lower middle, upper working-class, and working class) with a slightly higher concentration amongst those with incomes between £200 and £500 a year (IPC 1932).2 Whereas Modern Woman’s liberal use of advertorials suggests a dependence on income from advertising, in the high-selling Weekly advertising had to be carefully managed to retain reader confidence. Editorial endorsement, in particular, was highly controversial. Angela Wyatt considered the practice unethical, declaring that it would never have happened on the Weekly’s sister paper Woman and Home where circulation figures (350,000 per month) attracted advertising. Mary Dilnot recalled a strategic compromise at Woman’s Weekly whereby editorial gave hints but stopped short at printing product names; this approach was intended to preserve editorial integrity, lessen offence to other advertisers, and enhance a sense of shared knowledge between magazine and reader (Hackney 2012: 87). Such strategic thinking is also evident in the placement and distribution of advertising in the wider environment of the magazine. While around a third of Woman’s Weekly was taken up with advertising, a percentage that remained roughly stable throughout the interwar years, such practices as next matter placement meant that advertisements became more integrated with editorial (Hackney 2012: 90). Close analysis of a typical issue from 1933, nevertheless, reveals how an ethos of controlled and even critical consumption prevailed (25 Feb 1933). This was achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, features and fiction

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lead the way, predominating in the first half of the magazine (twenty-four pages). Secondly, advertisements organised around the editorial text reinforce its message and, grouped at three key points: beginning, middle, and end, they constitute a narrative arc within the geography of the magazine. The five full-page illustrated adverts that proceed ‘Woman’s Weekly Whispers’, the opening editorial, represent the first stage and underscore the paper’s ethos of realistic aspiration with their focus on low-cost fashionability, health, tasty treats, free offers, and the latest dress patterns. The adverts for health tonics, face creams (‘The Pond’s Way to Beauty’), Skippers sardines (‘tasty for tea’), and items for making or adapting clothes such as shoe dyes and the Singer sewing machine, which interweave with the serial at the centre of the magazine, signify the second stage, which reinforces the story’s ethos of difficulties faced and rewards achieved, translating this into the sphere of readers’ everyday lives. Finally, fourteen of the twenty-two pages in the last third of the magazine are filled with small ads which, with their promise of cures for double chins, epilepsy or ‘women’s trouble’, signal readers’ real-life challenges and, as such, contextualise ‘Mrs. Marryat Advises’, the agony page. The brightly optimistic opening editorial, with its endless suggestions for how to live life with ‘dignity-and-dash’ wearing a frock made from remnants or a Woman’s Weekly pattern, contrasts sharply with letters about unemployment, ‘lonely evenings’, or a boyfriend who ‘got the sack for his sauce’ that populate the problem page (285, 335). Read together, such correspondences and contradictions shape an uneven environment that both reproduced reader problems and offered hope. This complex relationship is also evident in the serial, ‘Wanted a Lady’s Maid’, which straddles the magazine’s front and final sections, bridging the gap between fashionable fantasies and real-life dilemmas. Penned by the popular romance author Laura Lady Troubridge, the story transports the reader into the world of its heroine Mavis Deane, lady’s maid to Mrs Geraldy, ‘one of the richest women in London’ (335). In stark contrast to the ethos of controlled consumption prevailing elsewhere in the magazine, whereby pleasure had to be earned through careful economy and ingenious application, Mavis’s job involved close contact with an abundance of material pleasures, something that is immediately made clear by the byline which, framed in the form of a job advert, announces: ‘A Hundred Dresses to Care for – Thousands of Pounds’ Worth of Jewellery to Cherish – The Finest Lingerie to Launder and Mend’ . . . From a Villa in the South of France to a Shooting Box in Norfolk, the Lady’s Maid Follows her Employer’s Trail of Pleasure . . . (294) While her wealthy employers’ careless pleasures are predicated on their maid’s endless work, her pleasures, much like those of the magazine reader, are vicarious – experienced at a distance and second-hand. As the story unfolds, Mavis’s moral authority as honest, abstemious, and hardworking, is set against the behaviour of her so-called social superiors, in particular the over-indulged Clarissa whose drunken antics, the maid reflects, reveal a ‘pagan, materialistic soul’ (296). ‘Wanted a Lady’s Maid’ articulates the moral compass of the magazine. It teaches readers that real satisfaction lies in a life where qualities of goodness, loyalty, and

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caring are valued above material things. By presenting the narrative from the maid’s point of view and exposing the invisible work necessary to support a leisured upperclass lifestyle, the story serves both as a critique of class and unbridled consumption. At the same time, details of fabulous dresses, jewels, and exotic locations allowed readers the pleasure of escapist fantasies which, experienced in close proximity to the achievable pleasures presented in advertising, forged a fluid cultural space in which to imagine the ethical dilemmas and moral values associated with a modern culture of consumption (Giles 2004: 126–9). In the case of Woman, launched in 1937, a ‘growing body of readers [were] highly sceptical of editorial integrity’, according to future editor Mary Grieve. As a result, she was careful to differentiate advertising’s task of selling goods from the ‘job of editorial’, which was to ‘create an interest in current products, to inform and educate on new developments, new fashions’, providing the reader with a ‘background of knowledge and discrimination’ when shopping (1964: 106–7). Nevertheless, when the circulation figures promised to advertisers failed to materialise after the first few months of publication, the magazine was saved by the introduction of a ‘new policy’ that combined lighter editorial matter such as fashion, fiction, and knitting, with a more aggressive commercial remit, something that Grieve claimed, put readers ‘wants and habits’ at the heart of the magazine (1964: 103–4). One casualty was the publication’s highly respected, ex-Vogue fashion editor, Alison Settle. She was replaced by Anne Edwards who, with a background in advertising, was deemed to ‘have the splendid gift of knowing women as they were, not as they were thought to be’ (1964: 104). Such thinking suggests the ethos of advertising advocated by Ethel Wood who associated ‘woman appeal’ with a pragmatic understanding of the realities of women’s lives, both their challenges and dreams. Wood outlined a number of ‘selling appeals’: ‘educative’, ‘price’, ‘style’, ‘humour’, ‘romance’, and ‘confidential’. While ‘educational copy’ was reserved principally for expensive labour-saving appliances and considered to instil higher standards of living, ‘romance’ was acknowledged to be most successful with the mass of consumers (1927: 213–14). Demonstrating her detailed knowledge of consumers, she advised ‘indirect economy’ and ‘leisure’ rather than the ‘time saving’ appeals that were most often used for electrical appliances, if advertisers wished to appeal to a mass market (1927: 213–14). Economists Sue Bowden and Avner Offer later confirmed consumer preference for leisure and ‘timeusing’ goods, attributing this to the low economic value placed on working-class women’s time as a result of their low-paid and temporary status in the labour market (1996: 268). Full-page colour adverts, printed on Goss gravure printing presses at Odhams’s new plant at Watford, for expensive labour-savers in Woman were replaced with those for items such as cigarettes, chocolates, and radios that were associated with leisure and pleasure, and employed the drama of colour to evoke romance and emotional appeal (Figure 19.3). Whereas editorial led the Weekly’s ethos of controlled and critical consumption, advertising predominated at Woman where a new language of visual communication evoked a world of sensual pleasure that was not only meaningful in terms of readers’ circumstances, but also connected with and shaped their dreams.

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Figure 19.3 ‘Yes, it’s a WILL’S GOLD FLAKE’. © Time Inc. UK. (Source: Woman June 1937: 5)

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Conclusion Publishers faced severe problems by the end of the 1930s. Newnes and Pearson consolidated to make economies and the AP’s financial performance was in serious decline. According to press historians Cox and Mowatt, ‘[t]argeting a well-defined audience on behalf of advertisers became the key to producing a successful magazine’ and the most important target audience remained women (2014: 66, 72). Woman gained an enormous following in the decades after the war, demonstrating how a new visual rhetoric in advertising and editorial became the predominant means of appealing to, and connecting with, readers in meaningful ways. Angela Wyatt recalled the interwar years as a unique period when, despite the importance of advertising, for publications with solid circulations at least the ethics of editorial still held sway. The implementation of new codes of practice, legislation, and control, moreover, meant that advertising was becoming respectable, something that a 1938 Mass Observation survey confirmed (Nevett 1982: 160–8; Mass Observation 1938: 20–33). Asked about their attitudes to advertising, respondents acknowledged concerns about its ‘dangerous influence’, but tempered these with perceptions of it as a ‘useful and necessary’ force, which introduced new foods and products that ‘improved the physical condition’. In general they regarded it as a ‘communal service’ to ‘inform people’ and ‘benefit them’ (20–2). As one respondent put it, in the classed language of the day, ‘[a]dvertising is an enormous educational force giving everybody ideas above their station’ (21). Driven by pressures to expand but also to serve their readerships, magazines in the interwar years offered a space for women to imagine lives beyond the strictures of such notions as ‘their station’, and the means to put these dreams into practice.

Notes 1. For a more detailed discussion of readers’ reception of magazines see Hackney 2012 and 2017. 2. Working-class women in receipt of less than £5 a week, for instance, had incomes of £250 a year and constituted about three quarters of all households (Bowden and Offer 1996: 252).

Works Cited Altick, Richard. 1962. ‘The Sociology of Authorship. The Social Origins, Education and Occupations of 1,100 British Writers, 1800–1935.’ Bulletin of the New York Public Library June. 389–404. Arnold, Lillian. 1919. ‘Women and Journalism.’ Sell’s World’s Press: 34–5. Belloc-Lowndes, Marie. 1902. ‘Journalism as a Profession for Women.’ Leisure Hour 5: 126–7. Bigham, Julia. 1994. ‘Women, Industry and Institutions: Advertising as a Career.’ Women Designing: Redefining Design Between the Wars. Ed. Gill Seddon and Suzette Worden. Brighton: University of Brighton. 20–7. Binnie, Ruth. 1929. Housecraft Principles and Practice. London: Pitman. Bowden, Sue and Avner Offer. 1996. ‘The Technological Revolution That Never Was: Gender, Class, and the Diffusion of Household Appliances in Interwar England.’ The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective. Ed. Victoria de Grazia and Ellen Furlough. Berkeley: University of California Press. 244–74. Cairns, Julia. 1960. How to Become a Journalist. London: Thomas Nelson. Cox, Howard and Simon Mowatt. 2014. Revolutions from Grub Street. A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Crawshay, Myfanwy. 1932. Journalism for Women. London: Fleet Publications. Eley, Harold, W. 1932. Advertising Media. London and Dublin: Butterworth and Co. Emanuel, Philip. 1934. ‘The Power of