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‘This book should be regarded as rescue work. It salvages from pre-Victorian periodicals from the limbo of forgotten publications, and exhumes from long undisturbed sources a curious collection of women who, at a time when it was considered humiliating for a gentlewoman to earn money, contrived to support themselves by writing, editing, or publishing… sometimes even supporting husbands and children as well…The women who emerge make a motley gallery; but over the years that I have been getting to know them, they have won my respectful affection. More, indeed. To me they are all heroines…’
Alison Adburgham, from her Foreword
Magazines addressed to women have a long history in English, and have been subject to condescension for just as long. Alison Adburgham’s groundbreaking volume, first published in 1972, rescues the so-called ‘scribbling female’ from such scorn, not least by documenting just how hard was the struggle for women writers to live by the pen.
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