Reclaiming lost or forgotten (Victorian) popular women writers and their works is still an important, ongoing aim of literary and gender studies. In this article, we take the Key Popular Women Writers series, published by Edward Everett Root Publishers and edited by Janine Hatter and Helena Ifill, as one example of a current series that continues and develops this feminist practice. By drawing upon the research, writing and publishing practice of current women academics, as well as related issues concerning literary value, canonicity and the popularity of the Victorian writers themselves, we showcase the methodological and pedagogical practice of finding motivation and inspiration beyond that which is established as the norm. Furthermore, through examining the current political, academic and publishing fields’ impact on researching and teaching (Victorian) popular fiction, we discuss breakthroughs, challenges and potential ways for the study of this area to move forward. Popular women’s writing continues to offer readers, students and academics, ways to challenge conventions, embrace the multi-faceted nature of our field and take our place on the landscape.
- Victorian popular women writers
- canon formation