Scandal as Commodity and the “Calumniated Woman”

  • Terence Allan Hoagwood
  • Kathryn Ledbetter


The January 1836 monthly issue of Fraser’s Magazine for Town and, Country features an illustration titled “Regina’s Maids of Honour” (figure 3.1), a Daniel Maclise drawing of celebrated women writers at tea, “every one a lovely she.” The picture and William Maginn’s accompanying article, “List the First,” parallel the previous year’s collection of male “Fraserians,” which depicts Fraser’s founder Maginn addressing a roundtable of the decade’s best-known literary characters; twenty-seven men busily toasting the New Year include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Theodore Hook, Barry Cornwall (Bryan Waller Proctor), Father Prout (F. S. Mahony), William Jerdan, Thomas Crofton Croker, John Gibson Lockhart, Thomas Carlyle, William Makepeace Thackeray, D. M. Moir, James Hogg, John Galt, Egerton Brydges, Allan Cunningham, Count d’Orsay, and William Harrison Ainsworth, among others. Like its male counterpart, Fraser’s “List the First” formulates an intriguing, albeit smaller, canon of Fraser’s contributors; its eight women writers include Mrs. S. C. Hall (Anna Maria Hall), L. E. L., Mary Russell Mitford, Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson), Harriet Martineau, Jane Porter, Caroline Norton, and Lady Blessington. Predictably, Maginn identifies the women writers in gendered terms indicating domestic gentility rather than literary genius; Mrs. Hall is “fair and fine,” L. E. L. is “painted con amore,” Lady Blessington is “bright and fair, enchanting, [and] winning,” and Norton is a beauty—“nobler, brighter, dearer, did ne’er on human eyeball blaze.”


Personal Attack Visual Text Woman Writer Public Persona Fall Woman 
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© Terence Allan Hoagwood and Kathryn Ledbetter 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terence Allan Hoagwood
  • Kathryn Ledbetter

There are no affiliations available

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