The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women's Writing

Living Edition
| Editors: Lesa Scholl (Editor-in-Chief)

Parkes, Bessie Rayner

Living reference work entry


Bessie Rayner Parkes (later Belloc) lived an unorthodox life as a working feminist journalist, editor, and social activist whose abiding concern was the condition of women’s everyday lives. Parkes edited and contributed regularly to the first avowedly feminist magazine in England, the English Woman’s Journal, wrote books and pamphlets on women’s education and work, and helped spearhead a campaign for marriage law reform. She was a central organizer of the Langham Place Group, a mid-century feminist pressure group that waged a series of campaigns demanding women’s legal, educational, and economic rights. After her marriage she distanced herself from the feminist movement but remained sympathetic to its goals. She continued to write in a variety of genres, including biography, memoir, poetry, journalism, and travel.


Bessie Rayner Parkes (later Belloc) lived an unorthodox life as a working feminist journalist, editor and social activist whose abiding concern was...


Activism Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon Biography Editor Education George Eliot Employment English Woman’s Journal Female friendships Feminism France Franco-Prussian War Industrialization Journalism Marriage Memoir Poetry Private letters Roman Catholicism Social class Suffrage Travel Unitarianism Widowhood The woman question Women 
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  1. Belloc, Bessie Rayner. 1891. Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon. English Woman’s Review 210: 145–149.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1895. In a walled garden. London: Ward & Downey.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1897. A passing world. London: Ward & Downey.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1904. In fifty years. London: Sands.Google Scholar
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  8. ———. 1854. Remarks on the education of girls, with reference to the social, legal, and industrial position of women in the present day. London: John Chapman.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1864. A review of the last six years. English Woman’s Journal 12: 361–368.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1865. Essays on woman’s work. London: Alexander Strahan.Google Scholar
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More College, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada