This essay examines the false and dubious attributions of select Minerva novels to both Ann Radcliffe and her lesser known contemporary Mary Ann Radcliffe, arguing that the constellations of texts and authors that signified under the Radcliffe aegis point to the existence of a corporate Radcliffe whose influence on Romantic print culture has yet to be fully documented. In sales catalogues and later scholarly studies and encyclopedias, this corporate Radcliffe blended work initially published anonymously by the Minerva Press with the known output of Ann Radcliffe and Mary Ann Radcliffe. These texts include the Minerva novels The Fate of Velina de Guidova (1790), Radzivil, a Romance (1790), Mary Ann Radcliffe’s The Memoirs of Mrs Mary Ann Radcliffe (1810) and The Female Advocate; or an Attempt to Recover the Rights of Women from Male Usurpation (1799), in addition to the gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe. A composite created by the print market-place and later scholars’ own compulsion to fix or challenge questionable attributions, this corporate Radcliffe elevates the popular Romantic practices of imitation and translation and provides an alternative to narratives of Romantic authorship that rely on singular genius and originality. Continue reading →
This essay examines the rich and hitherto unexplored rivalries and connections between the Romantic periodical and the Minerva Press through the lens of the hugely popular Lady’s Magazine; or, Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex (1700–1832). Close attention to the points of contact outlined in this essay is multiply illuminating, I argue, not least because it forces us to challenge enduring but misleading associations about popular literary forms, professional authorship and women’s writing in the Romantic era. The Lady’s Magazine and the Minerva Press presented aspiring authors with competing, but complementary, mass-media outlets that were eagerly exploited by hundreds of Romantic-era writers, many of whom published energetically with both. These writers’ negotiations of the literary culture of the day—their movements between publishers at key moments in their lives and turn to different modes of publication as and when it suited them—were signs of their precarity, but also of their professionalism and persistence. Uncovering these writers’ stories enables us to uncover alternative, yet ubiquitous, stories of authorship in the Romantic period that merit the telling precisely because they recalibrate our sense of how Romantic authorship was experienced by some of the most popular writers of the era. Continue reading →
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