Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Elizabeth Tilley
'Occluded Narratives': Researching Irish Women's Writing (1880-1910)
‘Mention This Paper When Shopping’: Late Nineteenth-Century Women’s Periodicals in Ireland
Mary Immaculate College
Conference Organising Committee Chairperson
Optional Fields
This paper offers readings of two Irish periodicals aimed at women: To-day’s Woman: A Weekly, Literary, Artistic and Industrial Paper to Further Women’s Pursuits (1894-1896) and The Lady of the House and Domestic Economist (1890-1924). To-Day’s Woman, like The Lady of the House, included advice on fashion, home management, employing servants, etc. for primarily urban readers. However, around the edges of what presented itself as a dominant narrative in To-Day’s Woman were articles by and about women for whom the traditional had become either unstable or simply no longer applicable. Both papers were encumbered by advertisements of all kinds; they ran along the foot of each page, interrupted columns, and occasionally created columns of their own. Though it is tempting to condemn The Lady of the House as conservative and blatantly commercial, and to laud To-Day’s Woman as an experimental exponent of the new, neither pronouncement is ultimately useful; looking at materiality precludes such broad categorizations and demands a more nuanced understanding of the unclaimed spaces present in both magazines. Changes in composition and form, as well as alterations in content, are indicative of a transitional period in print culture that reflects an equally vibrant opening up of literature in the widest sense. Often visually cluttered and poorly constructed, these magazines nevertheless form a graphic commentary on the exploding of codes: gender, social, discourse, and studying their materiality is crucial to an understanding of the formation of the modernist impulse. It should also be remembered that both titles were products of a domestic print industry that had, like Ireland’s literature, been ‘revived’. This too must be seen as part of a new confidence that made pronouncements on other types of ‘newness’ possible.
Publication Themes