I’m a 90s baby, but I’m talking about a different 90s. The 1890s.
March is Women’s History Month. So I decided to share my little research about women in the 1890s. If you don’t know, feminism sort of began at around that time. Suffragettes came out fighting for the vote. Female writers wanted to be recognized as equals to male writers.
Last fall, my ENG 810 class focused on this magazine called The Yellow Book. I mentioned my fascination of the Victorian period (without knowing the literature I like were actually Victorian oops). Only in this class did I realize that it was probably what I’d consider the Golden Age of Literature and Art. And we had the task of writing about a specific cultural context and relate it to art/literature.
We all know how artists and writer loooooove to hint at their society in their works. Either praise it, or attack it. It’s always there. Always.
This magazine curated totally random artists and writers, ranging from avant-garde drawings by Aubrey Beardsley to illustrations by Walter Crane. It had poetry, short stories and even letters, featured as literature. Contextual references were everywhere. Feminism, politics, monarchy, what-have-you. It’s there.
The worst part?
The magazine ran thirteen volumes, with each volume containing at least ten artworks and ten texts, with about 200 pages per volume. God bless the digitizing of the magazine, and the site having a search function. After a month I settled on something I was actually interested in: women being labeled as witches or faeries.
So here’s a bit of what I had to say about The Yellow Book:
The Yellow Book actively participated on current cultural movements, such as the emergence of feminism and ‘New Woman’ fiction, through the art and literature it has published in its thirteen volumes. The femme fatale manifested as a convention in fiction, and it illustrates the societal fears of the independent woman’s attack on a patriarchal society.
In the end, we were required to post our exhibit online. See more of my exhibit on Nines. I think a small portion of my class made their public as well, so you can browse through theirs too.
Pretty proud of my work since it’s my first A-paper.