Beyond the Punch DinnersFemale Writers and the Importance of Home and Family in the Creation of Punch
|Publication status||Published - 17 Sept 2022|
|Event||Research Society for Victorian Periodicals 2022 Annual Conference: Margin/ Limit/ Periphery/ Edge - Online|
Duration: 15 Sept 2022 → 17 Sept 2022
|Conference||Research Society for Victorian Periodicals 2022 Annual Conference|
|Period||15 Sept 2022 → 17 Sept 2022|
As outside contributors, who were not on the Punch staff or admitted to the weekly dinners, female Punch writers were marginalised. Histories of Punch have often perpetuated this marginalisation by focusing on the dinners and the Punch offices as spaces in which Punch was produced. In the nineteenth century, much of society moved away from the eighteenth-century model in which economic labour took place within the home and members of the household were responsible for supporting the family business through their labour. However, for writers and artists who continued to work from home, this was not the case. Shifting our focus to female contributors reminds us that much periodical content was produced in the home, leading to blurred boundaries between the professional and the domestic. Most nineteenth-century female Punch authors were the wives, daughters, sisters or friends of existing male contributors. Many began writing for Punch to assist a male relative with his work, such as by providing a female voice in epistolary fiction or contributing to a book review. Through exploring the stories of female Punch contributors, this paper will argue that the history of Punch becomes a different history when we shift our focus from the central, all-male, staff to the marginalised figures of women and outside contributors. In place of the usual focus on coterie and male homosocial bonding, we see the significance of home and family in helping to shape the creation of Punch.