The Advertising and Marketing of the Edwardian Prize Book: Gender for Sale

O'Hagan, Lauren (2019). The Advertising and Marketing of the Edwardian Prize Book: Gender for Sale. English Literature in Transition 1880-1920, 62(1)



Richards argues that it is the one subject of mass culture that has remained a focal point of all representation and the dead centre of the modern world.2 The use of advertising in prize books has not yet caught the attention of scholars. [...]this discussion highlights the benefits of investigating this domain and what it can reveal about gender ideologies in the Edwardian period. Furthermore, denominational magazines of the time admitted that most prize books were "secondrate tales," "innocent rubbish in the shape of wishy-washy stories" with "namby pamby elements." [...]both secular and religious publisher catalogues gave priority to the aesthetic properties of these books over their content, emphasising the fact that they are "printed on art paper," "tastefully bound" with "cover daintily printed" and "coloured frontispieces. [...]the audiences themselves became the products generated by the publishers' catalogues. Entwistle argues that Board schools, in particular, were expected to present domestic service as the most fitting and natural occupation for working-class girls.35 Publishers such as Andrew Crombie and Epworth Press, on the other hand, were aimed at evangelical institutions and used their prize catalogues to promote universal messages of women helping the urban poor rather than their lowliness and the need to stay in their place.36 Books by Silas Hocking, a Methodist preacher, and Pansy (pseudonym of Isabella Macdonald Alden), an American Presbyterian, heavily dominate the pages of their catalogues.

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