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Vol. IV (Spring 2012)


Since the advent of The Latchkey in 2009 (recently merged with The Michaelian, a journal of Michael Field studies) there is even an online journal devoted to the women writers of the fin de siècle. It is partly as a result of this work that we now no longer see fin de siècle writing as dominated by male aesthetes and decadents. Nor do we see the fin de siècle as the fag end of the Victorian age, or simply as ‘an age of transition.’
(Lyn Pykett, “Re-Viewing Women Writers of Fin de Siècle” in A. Gavin and C. de la L. Oulton, Writing Women of the Fin de Siècle: Authors of Change, 24).

In January 2012, a milestone event happened for the editors of The Latchkey. Perhaps surprisingly, this was not the above reference to The Latchkey in Adrienne Gavin and Carolyn de la L. Oulton’s Writing Women of the Fin de Siècle (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)—although that in itself constitutes a significant milestone—but a more modest event in the first in-person meeting of the journals’ co-editors at the MLA Conference in Seattle. Given the editors’ geographically distant homes in the US and Australia, this was a considerable logistical feat. At this meeting, we discussed progress over the last twelve months, and ways to further consolidate the journal within the field of fin de siècle studies.

Some of the fruits of this meeting are evident in this new issue of The Latchkey: perhaps most notably the shift to using MLA style throughout the journal and the decision to make The Latchkey an annual journal. We recently learned that the MLA agreed to index us from now on, which is another milestone in our continuing quest to become an even more professional academic publication than we already are. Other wide-ranging discussions centered on how we would like it to develop over the next five years. No doubt these more complex discussions of form and purpose will be ongoing and we hope will allow The Latchkey to continue to improve and to provide a more effective forum for discussion of the New Woman and New Woman writing.

It has always been part of The Latchkey’s mission to highlight the contributions to late Victorian culture and literature of the lives and writings of New Women authors and figures, the representation of the New Woman in literature, culture, art, and society, proto-feminism and early feminist journalism. As editors, the recognition that our work has had an impact, has contributed alongside the work of remarkable scholars such as Lyn Pykett and Carolyn de la L. Oulton, to raising the profile of women writers at the fin de siècle, and the fin de siècle itself as a site for interesting and innovative cultural production, is gratifying and encourages us to believe that the journal does indeed fill a significant need within fin de siècle studies.

This issue of The Latchkey features two exciting new articles: Jennifer Givhan uses Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins to point out the essential fluidity in the figure of the New Woman, the way “New Women blur the lines between 'witches' and moralizing mothers,” in order to challenge and destabilize patriarchal ideologies. Danielle Nielsen also deals explicitly with the figure of the New Woman in order to argue that both pro- and anti-New Woman writers in the periodical press formed discourse communities or Community of Practice, the study of which contributes to our understanding of the expectations and fears of British femininity at the turn of the twentieth century.

Also for this issue, we welcome a new Book Reviews editor, Joellen Masters, who has already proved an enthusiastic and valuable addition to our editorial team.

In Issue IV you will find the following:

  • Jennifer Givhan. “Murdering the Monstrous Ideal: The ‘Hysterical Mother’ in Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins
  • Danielle Nielsen, “The Dangerous New Woman in the Victorian Press: 'blind alike to maiden modesty and maternal dignity'”
Book reviews
  • Elizabeth Otto and Vanessa Rocco (eds.), The New Woman International: Representations in Photography and Film from the 1870s through the 1960s (University of Michigan Press, 2011). Reviewed by Judy Suh.
  • Carolyn W. de la L. Oulton (ed.), George Egerton, The Wheel of God. Vol. 8 of New Woman Fiction, 1881-1899, Part 3 (Pickering & Chatto, 2011). Reviewed by Lena Wånggren.
  • Katharine Cockin (ed.), Ellen Terry, The Collected Letters of Ellen Terry. 2 vols. (Pickering & Chatto, 2010, 2011). Reviewed by Christine A. Anderson.
  • Tracey S. Rosenberg (ed.) Mona Caird, The Wing of Azrael (Valancourt Books, 2010). Reviewed by Emelyne Godfrey.
  • Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, The Middle Class Novels of Arnold Bennett and Marie Corelli: Realising the Ideals and Emotions of Late Victorian Women (Edwin Mellen Press, 2010). Reviewed by Anthony Patterson.
  • “Legacies of Recuperation: Feminism, Suffrage and the New Woman in the Honno Classics Series” (Honno, 1999-2007). Seven books that appeared in the Honno Classics Series are reviewed in this comprehensive essay by Michelle Deininger.
Featured New Woman section
  • Constance Naden. By Katy Birch.
  • Mathilde Blind. By Katy Birch.
  • “Michael Field” (Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper). By Sharon Bickle.
  • Una Lucy Silberrad. By Christoph Singer.
  • Rachilde. By Ria Banerjee.
  • We also feature a response to Christine Pullen’s Featured New Woman item on Amy Levy in the last issue, authored by Linda Hunt Beckman (“A Scholarly Dialogue: In Response to Christine Pullen”), which can be found here.

Do visit our new Announcement pages for a review of the recent “Aesthetic Lives” Conference in Montpellier, France, as well as up to date information on conferences, journals, new books and web initiatives.

Please continue to send us essays, book reviews, and any other items of interest. Enquiries and comments to the co-editors at are always welcome.

Petra Dierkes-Thrun and Sharon Bickle, Co-Editors
Joellen Masters, Book Reviews Editor