Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century

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Eighteenth-Century Pleasure Garden

A window on the world: the phenomenon of the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832)

For six decades after it inauspiciously launched in 1770 the Lady’s Magazine; or, Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex presented its readers with a panoramic view of the world of life, literature and the arts and sciences. For a modest price, readers were provided with a monthly feast of fiction, poetry, essays on history, science, politics and travel, advice columns, fashion reports, recipes, biographies, puzzles, news bulletins, as well as elegant engravings, fashion plates, embroidery patterns and song sheets. The magazine launched the literary careers of writers such as George Crabbe and Mary Russell Mitford and, more importantly, provided publication opportunities for hundreds of other female and also male amateur writers who filled its pages and reached readerships of which Jane Austen could only have dreamt. In her inaugural lecture, Professor Jennie Batchelor sheds light on the origins and popularity Charlotte Bronte wished with all her ‘heart’ she ‘had been born in time to contribute to’ and assesses its importance as one of the first recognisably modern women’s magazines.​