Latchkey Home Book Reviews Conference News Announcements Teaching Resources Featured New Women
New Women: Who's Who GalleryThe Whine Cellar



1. On the Passing of Professor Sally Ledger, 1961 - 2009

Alongside Victorian scholars all around the world, THE LATCHKEY mourns the loss of Professor Sally Ledger who died in January this year. Ledger was a prolific scholar in Victorian studies and a leading authority on women's writing of the period. Her early work, Political Gender: Texts and Contexts (1994 with Jane Spencer & Josephine McDonagh) and Legal Fictions (1997 with Sally Swain) explore issues around gender and law in the work of various literary figures including Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Wilkie Collins. In Cultural Politics of the Fin de Siècle (1995 co-edited with Scott McCracken) and The Fin de Siècle: A Reader in Cultural History, c.1880–1900 (2000 co-edited with Roger Luckhurst), Ledger consolidated her position as a leading scholar in fin-de- siècle writing, but it is for her groundbreaking work The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de Siècle (1997), that Ledger is perhaps best known. The monograph recovered a generation of New Women; writers and radical figures from the Victorian era and highlighted the political and cultural struggle that many women faced in a period of vibrant and turbulent cultural change. It emphasised the often complex politics of the era and how this shaped women's role with regard to gender, race and class. The book has impacted several generations of scholars on Victorian to fin-de-siècle culture, women’s writing and literary gender studies. In addition to her work on the New Woman, Ledger published on Women’s Writing at the Fin de Siècle (a special issue of Women’s Writing, vol. 3:3, 1996), an edition of George Egerton’s Keynotes and Discords (Birmingham University Press, 2003), Henrik Ibsen (1997), an edition of Dickens's Christmas Books (1999) and more recently, Dickens and the Popular Radical Imagination (2007), which contextualised Dickens amid the radical and political culture of the 1830s and 1840s. Throughout her career, Ledger held posts at Exeter, Cheltenham, the University of the West of England and Birkbeck College before attaining the Hildred Carlile Chair in English at Royal Holloway where she was Director of Research and Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies. At the time of her death, she was working on a project about the 18th-century roots of Victorian sentimentality. Ledger was, unquestionably, one of the key international scholars in the study of 19th-century fiction and whilst her loss is felt personally by many, her professional and academic legacy will continue to enrich, inspire and influence generations of scholars to come.

Claire O'Callaghan, for the LATCHKEY editorial team

2. Online Research Resources

Microfiche Collection of Nineteenth-Century Women Writers (British Library):

Nineteenth Century Women Writers
Edited by R. C. Alston and J. A. Sutherland

“The Women Writers collection provides scholars and general readers with a comprehensive map and collection of imaginative literature written during the age when women came into their own as authors. Most of the works reproduced have never previously been recorded in any bibliography, nor been gathered in a form in which they may easily be consulted and compared. The checklist of titles has been prepared by Robin Alston (Emeritus Professor of Library Studies at University College, London) and is based in the first instance on a systematic search among the shelf and acquisition-lists of the British Library. Some 4,500 women writers have been identified, many for the first time, and the total number of works covered by the checklist exceeds seventeen thousand.

While women wrote on a wide range of themes and subject matters, the collection seeks to do justice to all areas of their imaginative writing activity by including detective, sensation, silver-fork, historical, domestic and romantic fiction along with examples of minor verse and drama. Works written for a clearly juvenile reading public appear in the Children's Literature specialist collection, while numerous other works of a non-fictional nature may be found in the General Collection.”

3. New Online Journals

The Sybil

The Sibyl is an academic non-profit online journal, dedicated to the study of the multi-faceted character and complex, intricate work of one of the most talented women-of-letters and intellectual luminaries of nineteenth century Europe: “Vernon Lee” (Violet Paget, 1856-1935). Highly influential in her circle, Vernon Lee’s power stemmed from her “subtle and highly cultured impressionability, collaborating with a store of learning and delicate associations and endowed with a fine eloquence.” (Cooper Willis, Vernon Lee’s Letters, Privately printed, 1937, preface, op. cit., p. xii.) The Sibyl is edited by Pr. Sophie Geoffroy and published by Steven Halliwell as one of the OSCHOLARS group of journals under the general editorship of D.C. Rose.Publication is intended to be three times a year. We welcome contributions such as articles, book reviews, reports of events in relation to “Vernon Lee” (announcements, exhibitions, conferences, calls for papers…). Our readers’ teaching experience (‘Vernon Lee in the classroom’) is also of interest to us. If you wish to have your book reviewed in The Sibyl, please contact Sophie Geoffroy ( or David Rose

The Michaelian

The inaugural edition of The Michaelian, a refereed, scholarly, online journal dedicated to scholarship on the works and lives of "Michael Field" and their circle, is now online. "Michael Field" is the late-Victorian collaborative partnership of Katharine Harris Bradley (1846-1914) and Edith Emma Cooper (1862-1913). The inaugural issue of The Michaelian includes essays by both established and emerging scholars in Victorian Studies, as well as book reviews on publications of substantial interest to scholars of Michael Field and late-Victorian literature and culture. The journal seeks to become a unifying forum that extends discussion on Michael Field texts and explores women writers' influence upon and contribution to key debates on literary and cultural movements such as Aestheticism, Decadence, Suffrage, women in higher education, women's use of public and domestic spaces, as well as issues such as collaboration, changing perceptions of gender roles as well as the emergence of homosexual identity.

A cfp for Issue 2, a special issue devoted to the theme of "Victorian Maenads," has already been circulated. Further information is available by contacting Michelle Lee at


Upstage, a new peer-reviewed online publication dedicated to research in turn-of-the-century theatre and theatrical culture, seeks submissions for its inaugural issue scheduled for the spring of 2010. This is a development of the pages published under this name as part of THE OSCHOLARS, and will henceforth be an independently edited journal in the oscholars group published at, as part of our expanding coverage of the different cultural manifestations of the fin de siècle.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the work of Granville Barker, Sudermann, Schnitzler, Ibsen, Strindberg, Bang, Wedekind, von Hofmannsthal, Hauptmann, Jarry, Clyde Fitch - Bernhardt, Duse, Mrs Pat, Réjane - Grein, Antoine, Paul Fort, Meyerfeld.

Upstage welcomes a variety of theoretical and critical methodologies.

We are interested in receiving:

  • Scholarly articles of approximately 3000 words
  • Book-reviews of approximately 500 words
  • Reports on work in progress (book manuscripts and doctoral dissertations) (approximately 500-1000 words)
  • Reviews of contemporary productions of turn-of-the-century plays (or plays about the turn of the nineteenth century) and announcements of future productions (approximately 500 words)

The publication is international in scope. Although we will publish in English initially, we hope to include publications in other languages in the future. MLA-style documentation (7th ed.) is preferred.

Please e-mail your submissions, as MS Word attachments only, to both

Dr. Helena Gurfinkel, Department of English Language and Literature, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL, USA at and Dr. Michelle C. Paull, Drama Programme, St. Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, TW1, 4SX, England, at

In order to undergo masked peer-review, scholarly articles must be submitted in the following way: the author’s contact information and brief bio should appear in the body of the e-mail, while the Word attachment should contain no identifying information.

4. Other Items of Interest

The London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar:

A celebration of recently published books by members of the London Seminar was held in Malet Street Gardens, Bloomsbury on 16th July 2009

  • Stefano Evangelista, British Aestheticism and Ancient Greece (Palgrave, 2009)
  • Ruth Livesey, Socialism, Sex and the Culture of Aestheticism in Britain, 1880-1914 (Oxford, 2008)
  • Catherine Maxwell, Second Sight: The Visionary Imagination in Late-Victorian Literature (Manchester, 2008)
  • Colin Jones, Josephine McDonagh, and John Mee, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities and the French Revolution (Palgrave, 2009)
  • Marion Thain and Ana Parejo Vadillo, eds., Michael Field, the Poet: Published and Manuscript Materials (Broadview, 2009)
  • Eitan Bar-Yosef and Nadia Valman, eds, The Jew in Late-Victorian and Edwardian England (Palgrave, 2009).

New edition of Michael Field

Broadview has published a fascinating new edition of manuscript materials by Michael Field which will be of interest to many of our readers. Publication details are as follows:

Michael Field: The Poet
Published and Manuscript Materials

Written by: Michael Field (Katherine Bradley & Edith Cooper)
Edited by: Marion Thain & Ana Parejo Vadillo

Series: Broadview Editions

Publication Date: July 08, 2009
325pp • Paperback
ISBN: 9781551116754 / 1551116758