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Anthem Press
Online publication date:
April 2024
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Book description

During the first two decades of his career, Richardson's role as printer was hardly limited to setting the type for the periodicals that issued from his shop. Perhaps the most glaring evidence of his intervention in producing text is the fact that both 'The True Briton' (1723-24) and 'The Weekly Miscellany' (1732-41) just happen to have letters supposedly from women who protest the legal restraints against their participation in the public sphere. Neither the Duke of Wharton, the owner of 'The True Briton', nor William Webster, the desperately impecunious producer of 'The Weekly Miscellany', launched their journals with the objective of advancing radical views about political equality for women. But almost inadvertently this middle-aged, rotund printer at Salisbury Court was quietly feminizing journalism. After his first experiments in Whartons anti-Walpole journal he developed his satiric powers in the 'Miscellany' by creating not only his own feisty counterpart to Pope's coquette Belinda but even partnering with Sarah Chapone's subversive Delia. As an outlier in what was perceived to be a corrupt, predatory political world, Richardson readily assumed a female voice to express his resistance.

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