Scholars interested in the popular Victorian periodical Temple Bar have primarily focused on the editorship of George Augustus Sala, under whom the journal paradoxically began delivering controversial content to conservative middle-class readers. But while the Temple Bar's sensation fiction and social realism have already been considered, critics have not yet examined Temple Bar's New Woman fiction, which was published during the last decade of the 19th century and George Bentley's reign as editor-in-chief. While functioning as editor-in-chief, Bentley sought to adhere to the dictates found in the 1860 prospectus, to "inculcate thoroughly English sentiment: respect for authority, attachment to the Church, and loyalty to the Queen." The Temple Bar seems an odd publication venue for the audacious New Woman writer Sarah Grand. And yet, Grand published several short stories in Temple Bar under the editorship of Bentley. Knowing Bentley's infamous editorial hatchet work, we might assume that he would cut from Grand's writing any unsavory bits of traditional New Woman content. Instead, a comparison of Grand's Temple Bar stories, "Kane, A Soldier Servant" and "Janey, A Humble Administrator," with their later unedited, republished versions (found in Grand's Our Manifold Nature) suggests that Bentley had a different editorial agenda. This analysis of Grand's fiction demonstrates that it was not New Woman subjects that Bentley found objectionable but the culpability her texts placed on the upper-middle class for their failure to act on behalf of the lower classes. Examining Bentley's removal of this material thus sheds new light on the dangers of New Woman literature as perceived by its Victorian audiences.



College and Department

Humanities; English



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Sarah Grand, George Bentley, Our Manifold Nature, Temple Bar, New Woman, Victorian periodical press, "Kane, A Soldier Servant, " "Janey, A Humble Administrator"