Recovering Late-Victorian Scottish Women Writers and Their Child Readers
From Lisa Otty
Dr Lois Burke (IASH) presents this CDCS Seminar on late-Victorian Scottish women writers and their child readers.
This two-pronged recovery project focuses on late-Victorian Scottish women writers whose work has been dismissed as culturally irrelevant ‘kailyard’ fiction, and their child readers/writers, who are only now being incorporated into the historical record. These two groups of writers functioned outside mainstream or canonical literary circles, yet established extensive and meaningful connections within their own cultural spheres. Scottish women writers played a significant but heretofore unacknowledged role in the first Golden Age of children’s print culture during the late-Victorian period.
This project pieces together the scant pieces of evidence of Scottish women writers and their readers during this period, and in doing so re-evaluates the literary and cultural significance of these intertwined networks, which have never been explored in parallel. Digital humanities tools can shed light on these two unique yet interconnected histories, and make seen that which has previously been hidden. This work explores the uses of digital tools and visualisations for understanding these networks and looks to future possibilities for analysing marginalised literary histories which abound in archival collections.
Dr Lois Burke is a Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow 2020-2021 at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her PhD in 2019 at Edinburgh Napier University, where she was the recipient of a 50th Anniversary Scholarship. She then took up a Residential Research Library Fellowship at her alma mater, Durham University, before joining the Reference Services department at the National Library of Scotland. Her work focuses on nineteenth-century archives and collections, particularly those that represent the writings of women and children.
Chaired by Daryl Green, Head of Special Collections, Deputy Head of the Centre for Research Collections
First broadcast on Wednesday 31 March, 2021.
Alt text: Scottish Post Office Directories 1887 advertisement for ‘Little Folks’ publication