The Women of Grub Street: Press, Politics, and Gender in the London Literary Marketplace 1678-1730

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Original both in its sources and in the claims it makes for the nature, extent, and complexities of women's participation in print culture and public politics, this book provides a wealth of new information about middle- and lower-class women's political and literary lives, and shows that these women were not merely the passive distributors of other people's political ideas. Quite to the contrary, women of the widest possible variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and religio-political allegiances played so prominent a role in the production and transmission of political ideas through print as to belie simultaneous powerful claims that women had no place in public life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Paula McDowell's The Women of Grub a stunning reconstruction of the prominent roles women—from a complete range of socioeconomic backgrounds—played in writing, publishing, and distributing publications."—Lingua Franca

"An outstanding synthesis of archival and cultural evidence; highly recommended for an advanced readership in literary and cultural studies."—Choice

"Paula McDowell's valuable book is both rich and strange—strange in the sense that it challenges some comfortable theories (and theorists) about what happened and why....she is splendid in breaking new ground."—The East-Central Intelligencer

"McDowell adds another absorbing chapter to this feminocentric history.... Though the importance of women in the London (and provincial) book trade has been long established, few writers on the subject offer the wealth of detail McDowell provides here. McDowell is also to be commended for telling the compelling tale of those 'Mercury-Women' (as John Dunston called them) who...hawked the often seditious pamphlets, ballads, and broadsides printed by their sisters higher on the publishing food-chain.... McDowell's account of [Delarivier] Manley's career and works is superb and should become the indispensable starting point of any future work on this complex and fascinating women. For that alone, The Women of Grub Street is worth our attention."—The Age of Johnson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198184492
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Maryland at College Park
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Primary Sources
Introduction: 'Strange and Unheard of Revolutions'
Part I. 'To Run One's Self Into Danger': Women and the Politics of Opposition in the London Book Trade
1. Women in the London Book Trade
2. Making, Tracing, and Erasing Seditious Intentions
Part II. 'Telling the King His Faults': Religio-Political Polemicism and Women's Public Expression
3. Oral Religio-Political Activism and Textual Production
4. Metaphors of Being and Modes of Empowerment
Part III. 'I Take Truth with me When I Can Get Her': Delarivier Manley and the Reproduction of Political Intelligence
5. Delarivier Manley's Public Representations
Conclusion: The Antidote to these Women's Poison'?

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