"Books my greatest joy" : constructing the female reader in "The Lady's Magazine"
"The Lady's Magazine", the most popular and longest lasting periodical for women in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, brings to the fore issues of women's reading and concentrates on the figure of the woman reader to a quite remarkable extent. This is tru both in editorial and other non-fiction features and in fiction. As has been remarkes, the juxtaposition of articles often causes oddly contradictory effects. These are studied in the context of the constuction of the woman reader, relating them both to advertising and marketing strategies and to the contradictory quality of contemporary ideologies of gender and especially of woman's reading. Far from being naive and conservative, as some critics have stated, the female reader constructed by/in the magazine had the ability to read both compliantly and resistingly, and was trained both in repetitive protocols and to be tolerant of contradicton. I argue that such a polyvalent model of reading might be potentially empowering for the female reader