By Billie Melman

ISBN-10: 1349190993

ISBN-13: 9781349190997

ISBN-10: 1349191019

ISBN-13: 9781349191017

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Extra info for Women and the Popular Imagination in the Twenties: Flappers and Nymphs

Sample text

A cheap edition was hardly distinguishable from a cheap magazine. Printed on pulp paper or newsprint, in an economic two-column layout (typical of Newnes and Readers' Library reprints), the cheap editions competed successfully with the middle-price story papers. The average price of a typical household miscellany such as the Corner Magazine, Complete Story Magazine or Happy Magazine was 7d. Fortnightly story magazines for women, such as the Violet Magazine, Red Magazine and Yellow Magazine, cost between 6d and 7d.

Observers in the twenties were aware of this connection. In the idiom of the period the epithet 'suburban' came to be what 'philistine' had been in the 1860s. Both epithets denoted mediocrity and a propensity to cheap emotionalism. But in the twenties the word 'suburban' became synonymous with a markedly feminine way of life. And the suburban female (whether the inhabitant of a huge working-class estate or the occupant of a villa) personified the hollowness of existence in the modern big city. Her image was somewhat ambivalent.

The simultaneous emergence of the two meanings reflects the ambivalent attitude of the Victorians towards feminine youth and sexuality. Until the last quarter of the nineteenth century feminine childhood has been seen as an undifferentiated whole - a vestibule, as it were, preceding entrance into adulthood. But in the 1870s and 1880s a particular phase in the female's life was specified, recorded and named. And the peculiarly equivocal meanings of the term 'flapper' mirrored the ambiguous sexual role the Victorians assigned to the adolescent.

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Women and the Popular Imagination in the Twenties: Flappers and Nymphs by Billie Melman


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