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ENGL 102- Week 1 Discussion

Sep 4, 2023

In an initial post of 200-250 words share with your group members some interesting material that you came across in your search. It may be a fact, or a set of resources useful to your subject area, or an article that drew your eye. Explain how you came upon it and why it appealed to you.

Week 1 Discussion

The subject area chosen by me is Art and Literature. Art and literature have always fascinated me because of the impact it has on humans and by extension on society. Women have always been judged by society and not provided any personal space. They always needed to be proper or their actions could be criticized. Their actions even in their own home were seen with a critical eye. If anything was out of place the blame was placed on them. The husband’s conduct in marriage did not draw as many eyes as a wife’s did in the past ages. Every aspect of a female’s life was intruded upon, which made the impact of writers like Jane Austen so huge, as their writings aided females in creating their world whose principles, men did not have any idea about. They were also not judged for indulging in Jane Austen’s writings because of the reputation the writer was able to cultivate in the patriarchial society, because of her domesticized characterization by Austen Leigh in his biography. The women wanted to appreciate her as a luminary but at the same time not destroy her viability as a haven for many women and girls by disparaging her cultivated image as someone, that might not be accepted by society. These conflicted thoughts and attempts are analyzed in the article titled, ‘The Outlandish Jane: Austen and Female Identity in Victorian Women’s Magazines’ by Marina Cano-López (Cano-López, p.255).

I came upon the article while searching about the impact of Art and Literature on the society of that time. This article appealed to me because this showcased the perspective women had regarding Jane Austen in the Victorian Age. The magazines taken into consideration were The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine (1852-79), a middle-class monthly edited by Samuel Beeton; the Girl’s Own Paper (1880-1956), a weekly published by the Religious Tract Society; and the Women’s Penny Paper (1888-90), a feminist newspaper edited by Helena Temple (Cano-López, p.255). All of these magazines showed contrasting pictures of Jane Austen, showcasing her as both an unambitious individual and a professional. The extent of the depiction is dependent on the primary objective of the magazine. The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine appreciated her sarcasm and wit in her works and provided appreciation even for her preliminary works (Cano-López, p.256). Their depiction portrayed Austen as a worldly woman, contrary to her depiction in her Memoir. Ultimately it also upheld Austen-Leigh’s depiction by calling to attention her shy nature. The Girl’s Own Paper presents a conservative view of Austen, but at the same time associates her with male sports, as an attempt to not formulate Austen into a figure who is impossible to emulate (Cano-López, p.259). Females working in the magazine were aware of the negative implications of the perfect image that Jane Austen carried since it gave the wrong suggestion to young girls that they could write about society without participating in it and being locked up in the room. This imagery developed by the patriarchal society of Jane Austen aided them in fulfilling their objectives of keeping women as much away from societal and political forums as possible, through bogus claims that females should not play sports because they do not have an apt balance. Therefore, even the most conservative reflection did not completely adhere to the patriarchal depiction. Women’s Penny Paper puts more emphasis on Austen’s achievement than her personal life, showcasing that a woman’s primary achievement is not her domestic accomplishment (Cano-López, p.263). The important thing to note is that ultimately females were functioning in a system that was controlled by males, who had the control of stopping the publishing of novels or banning the reading of certain novels. Therefore, an obvious shaping of Austen as someone who in any way provides liberty to females would have led to her being ousted from a mainstream view. This would take the opportunity from young girls to read her novels, and build their own private space with their principles which couldn’t be fully understood by males, and therefore reduces any chance of interference. Hence, the reflection provided by Women’s Penny Paper also proclaims that a huge reason behind Austen’s success was that she never desired it because she was unambitious.

            This shows how Literature comes to impact humans so much that they attempt to both appreciate and preserve it with reflections.


Cano-López, Marina. “The Outlandish Jane: Austen and Female Identity in Victorian Women’s Magazines.” Victorian Periodicals Review 47.2 (2014): 255-273. doi:10.1353/vpr.2014.0025.

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