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'A most vexatious trade to make bread by': The Authorial Careers of Christian Isobel Johnstone and Catherine Gore, 1824-1846

BELCHER, SAMANTHA,LEE (2021) 'A most vexatious trade to make bread by': The Authorial Careers of Christian Isobel Johnstone and Catherine Gore, 1824-1846. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the literary careers of Christian Isobel Johnstone (1781-1857) and Catherine Gore (1798-1861), two successful and distinctive women writers marginalized in literary history. Existing research on Johnstone, best known as an Edinburgh editor, and Gore, a well-known silver fork author, has been separated by their different literary contexts. This thesis aims to uncover the literary connections and collaborations between the authors as they navigated their careers through the transitional period of the 1820s through 1840s. Examining their short stories, letters, and collaborative fiction, the thesis shows how their unusual plots, characters, and narrative concerns allowed Johnstone and Gore to attract a large readership while promoting surprisingly radical and proto-feminist agendas. Two short stories, Johnstone’s ‘The Experiences of Richard Taylor, Esq.’ and Gore’s ‘The Maid of Honour’, dismantle traditional gender norms, rearrange traditional heroic narratives, and imagine subtly new social identities for men and women. Original manuscript research examines the authors’ letters to the editors Richard Bentley and William Tait and the publisher George Boyd. This correspondence displays Johnstone’s and Gore’s challenge to portray themselves as both professional writers and exemplars of feminine propriety. The final part of the thesis considers their work of collaborative fiction, ‘Tales of the Cleikum Inn, St. Ronan’s’ (1837), and the lesser known professional relationship between Johnstone and Gore. The central argument developed in this thesis complicates familiar accounts of literary history by focusing on two marginalized women writers whose careers did not align neatly with the boundaries of the Romantic and Victorian periods, highlighting through their works some hidden connections between canonical and non-canonical writers, editors, and publishers.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:silver fork; Catherine Gore; London; non-canonical; Regency; early nineteenth century; Christian Isobel Johnstone; Edinburgh; Tait's Edinburgh Magazine; periodical press; correspondence; short fiction; The Edinburgh Tales
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Apr 2022 11:20

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