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Before George Eliot
Marian Evans and the Periodical Press

$30.99 (C)

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316600979

$ 30.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Fionnuala Dillane revisits the first decade of Marian Evans's working life to explore the influence of the periodical press on her emergence as George Eliot and on her subsequent responses to fame. This interdisciplinary study discusses the significance of Evans's work as a journalist, editor and serial-fiction writer in the periodical press from the late 1840s to the late 1850s and positions this early career against critical responses to Evans's later literary persona, George Eliot. Dillane argues that Evans's association with the nineteenth-century periodical industry, that dominant cultural force of the age, is important for its illumination of Evans's understanding of the formation of reading audiences, the development of literary genres and the cultivation of literary celebrity.

    • Radical new readings of George Eliot's life and work relate the first decade of her life in the periodical press to the formation of the persona 'George Eliot'
    • New evidence of George Eliot's work as editor offers an original intervention in debates about the professionalization of women's work in the nineteenth century
    • Provides new models for analyzing the relationship between individual writers and corporate periodical culture
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    • Joint winner of the 2014 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize

    Reviews & endorsements

    "… elucidate[s] the complexity of the networks that underpinned the periodical press and [is] an essential research resource for anyone embarking on their own study of the Victorian literary marketplace."
    Clare Horrocks, Journal of Victorian Culture

    "This remarkable and refreshing book challenges the conventional treatment of the early literary labors of Marian Evans in the 1850s as merely apprentice-work for George Eliot as a novelist of high Victorian literature."
    Susan David Bernstein, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies

    "In her extended portrait of Marian Evans as an astute and flexible professional in the periodical marketplace, Fionnuala Dillane offers a welcome corrective to the image of George Eliot as a reclusive sibyl … Dillane’s grounding of Evans’s many narrative personae in specific practices of her periodical culture also serves to dislodge the stubborn image of Eliot as the goddess of sympathy. Dillane is refreshingly skeptical about that image, creating in its stead a writer alert to what her public required and strategic about accommodating her variable styles to those needs."
    Rosemarie Bodenheimer, Victorian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316600979
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Marian Evans and the periodical press
    1. 'The character of editress': Marian Evans at the Westminster Review
    2. 'Working for one's bread': Marian Evans the journalist
    3. Staging 'Scenes' in Blackwood's Magazine: melodrama, narrative voice and the Blackwood's Man
    4. After Marian Evans: the importance of being George Eliot
    5. Last impressions: Marian Evans takes on her audience.

  • Author

    Fionnuala Dillane, University College Dublin
    Fionnuala Dillane researches and teaches at the School of English, Drama and Film Studies, University College Dublin.


    • Joint winner of the 2014 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize

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