• Fiction and 'the Woman Question' from 1830 to 1930

      Darwood, Nicola; Owens, W.R.; Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-08-01)
      This book is about how ‘The Woman Question’ was represented in works of fiction published between 1850 and 1930. The essays here offer a wide-ranging and original approach to the ways in which literature shaped perceptions of the roles and position of women in society. Debates over ‘The Woman Question’ encompassed not only the struggle for voting rights, but gender equality more widely. The book reaches beyond the usual canonical texts to focus on writers who have, in the main, attracted relatively little critical attention in recent years: Stella Benson, Kate Chopin, Marie Corelli, Dinah Mulock Craik, Clemence Dane, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Gissing, Ouida, and William Hale White (who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Mark Rutherford’). These writers dealt imaginatively with issues such as marriage, motherhood, sexual desire, adultery and suffrage, and they represented female characters who, in varying degrees and with mixed success, sought to defy the social, sexual and political constraints placed upon them. The collection as a whole demonstrates how fiction could contribute in striking and memorable ways to debates over gender equality—debates which continue to have relevance in the twenty-first century.
    • ‘A foreigner’s apprehension of a country at its most critical time’: Hugh Walpole in Russia in World War 1

      Poesio, Giannandrea; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Hugh Walpole Society, 2021-02-19)
      Hugh Walpole travelled to the Eastern front as a volunteer for the Russian Red Cross. He stopped in Petrograd before joining his Otriad on a tour of duty near Lviv in the Ukraine in May 1915. After six months he returned to the UK to raise support for a British initiative to counteract German propaganda and in 1916 he went back to found the Anglo-Russian Bureau in Petrograd. During this time he kept a journal and wrote two novels about his Russian experience. Looking back, he reflected, ‘they are not bad books because as records of a foreigner’s apprehension of a country at its most critical time, they are true.’ (Walpole, 'The Crystal Box', The Bookman Feb. 1923 p. 688). From 1912 to 1916 he listed books he read on the verso pages of his journal and on the recto he listed the plays and operas with location and performers. It is a detailed record of an eclectic reader and theatre-goer. Later he published fragments of autobiography where he described how he fleetingly met Lenin and his official report on the early months of the revolution contains his eye-witness account of the demonstrations and the shots fired at him on the office balcony. From these sources we can see how his time in Russia influenced his taste and how closely he intertwined his experience of the theatre with his recall of the war.
    • Introduction to Fiction and 'The Woman Question' from 1850 to 1930

      Darwood, Nicola; Owens, W.R.; Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-08-01)
      The various aspects of ‘the Woman Question’ in the later nineteenth century, and into the twentieth century—education, suffrage, financial and emotional independence, marriage and motherhood—are all explored and debated in the chapters making up this collection. In bringing together this collection of essays, we have decided to focus attention not on famous writers or works, but on fiction written by authors who have attracted relatively little critical interest in recent years. Writers discussed include Stella Benson; Marie Corelli; Kate Chopin; Dinah Mulock Craik; Clemence Dane; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; George Gissing; Ouida and William Hale White (who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Mark Rutherford’). While no longer be as well-known as when they were publishing their novels, many of them were extremely popular with the reading public of their time, and some were compared by critics to writers who are now more often in the forefront of Victorian studies. In providing critical accounts of some key works by these writers, we hope that this collection of essays significantly extends our understanding of how fiction can be used to represent female characters who, in varying degrees and with mixed success, sought to defy the social, sexual and political constraints placed upon them. The short stories, novellas and novels considered in this volume demonstrate how fiction contributed in striking and memorable ways to debates over ‘the Woman Question’ and gender equality—debates that continue to have relevance in the twenty-first century.
    • Introduction to Retelling Cinderella: Cultural and Creative Transformations

      Darwood, Nicola; Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-01)
      Introduction to the essays in the volume which reflect on material and cultural legacy of the tale of Cinderella and how it remains active and relevant in many different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. Each essay is introduced to show how the retelling illustrates a continuing attraction in the duality of the story. The uplifting message of Cinderella still sells an increasingly problematic conformity to traditional womanhood by persuading you to buy comfort, aspire to be a domestic goddess or reaffirm the myth of a ‘happy ever after’. But it’s also evident that she can also be the symbol for suffrage, for equality and empowerment. Her story will continue to be reused, reappropriated, and refashioned in a way that continues to highlight changing societal mores and ideologies: always fascinating, for ever changing.
    • The material culture of Cinderella: introducing the Cinderella Collection

      Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-01)
      In August 2012 the University of Bedfordshire was given a collection of items all about Cinderella. It was one person’s collection, gathered over a number of years in the 1990s and is an example of a fascination with the fairy tale and its retellings in our culture. It is housed at our library in Bedford and shares its archival lodging with the much larger Hockliffe collection of rare primers, readers and children’s books that was donated by a specialist bookseller from the town. On the open shelves in this cool room are the books and along side are the archive boxes with the objet and ephemera. There are cuttings, tins, jigsaws, souvenir programmes, figurines, and porcelain collectables. Each are not necessarily unique in themselves, but as a collection it is intriguing. It offers unusual insights into the range of discourses and disciplines that claim the tale of Cinderella. Through insights into the Special Collection of Cinderella material its archiving and display at the University of Bedfordshire, this chapter will examine the material culture surrounding Cinderella from the nineteenth and twentieth century. The Collection opens up the varied range of adaptation and performance that the story has inspired, containing materials ranging from opera and ballet programmes, books and theatre models, to collectable figurines, toys and merchandise. This chapter takes a perspective from publishing studies and delves into the different market sectors in the Collection such as folklore, psychology, education, self help, fiction, illustration and women’s studies. Opening the covers of these volumes it explores the tales of personal transformation as they have been reinscribed in modern retellings.
    • Retelling Cinderella: cultural and creative transformations

      Darwood, Nicola; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-12-01)
      Cinderella’s transformation from a lowly, overlooked servant into a princess who attracts everyone’s gaze has become a powerful trope within many cultures. Inspired by the Cinderella archive of books, objet and collectables at the University of Bedfordshire, the essays in this collection demonstrate how the story remains active in many different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. It explores the social arenas of dating apps, prom nights, as well as contemporary issues about women’s roles in the home, and gender identity. Cinderella’s cultural translation is seen through the contributors’ international perspectives: from Irish folk lore to the Columbian Cenicienta costeña (Cinderella of the coast) and Spanish literary history. Its transdisciplinarity ranges from fashion in Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm’s publications to a comparison of Cinderella and Galatea on film, and essays on British authors Nancy Spain, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    • The uses of quantification

      Weedon, Alexis (Wiley Blackwell, 2019-08-16)
      Revised and updated chapter with new material for the second edition of A Companion to the History fo the Book. Because text production – in the past and now – frequently aimed at multiplying and spreading its product as much as possible, and because those texts commonly became subject to markets and market forces, historical records of books and the book trade sometimes take the form of lists of quantities. Particularly since the invention of printing, we sometimes have information about the fee paid to an author, cost of paper, cost of composition, print runs, cost and rate of binding, costs of advertizing and distribution, sales figures, library acquisitions and catalogues of private collections of readers. The information is usually patchy, the way it was recorded varied a great deal, and much more has been lost than survives but, even so, the data available is rich enough and important enough to be treated seriously. This is where the quantitative history of the book, or bibliometrics, comes in. It doesn’t answer all the questions, and often its answers need careful interpretation, but it does give us access to parts of book history that would otherwise be wholly inaccessible.
    • William Swan Sonnenschein

      Weedon, Alexis (MacFarland, 2018-10-31)
      This Companion to Victorian Popular fiction includes more than 300 cross-referenced entries on works written for the British mass market. Biographical sketches cover the writers and their publishers, the topics that concerned them and the genres they helped to establish or refine. Entries introduce readers to long-overlooked authors who were widely read in their time, with suggestions for further reading and emerging resources for the study of popular fiction.
    • Women, suffrage, and Clemence Dane: a game of speculation

      Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-07-03)
      Clemence Dane (1888-1965) was one of the newly enfranchised women eligible to vote for the first time under the suffrage act of 1918. An articulate novelist, actress and sculptor, her writings and speeches about women for magazines and the radio give us an insight into some of the complexities that faced women as they formed opinions on topical issues in the political sphere. In 1926 she collected those articles in a volume putting, as she phrased it, The Women’s Side. In this chapter I look at Dane’s explorations of The Women Question in her 1926 collection The Women’s Side, and in her own novel Legend (1919) her plays Wild Decembers (1932) about the Brontë family and Bill of Divorcement (1921) which can be read as a reflection on the story of Jane Eyre. Her imaginative talent was stimulated by the gaps in biography where the historian had to give ground to the creative artist and she drew on the licence of the actress in the interpretative performance of a personal story to create a narrative of women’s genius. Dane’s adopts the popular card game “Speculation” from Austen's Mansfield Park as a trope to explore the tensions and stresses for women as they left the familiar and expected conventions of Victorian womanhood and took up an uncertain and contested new role in society.
    • Works from the Cinderella Collection

      Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-01)
      A list of books forming part of the Cinderella collection in the Polhill campus library archive at the University of Bedfordshire