From 1887 to 1889, Oscar Wilde was appointed editor of The Woman's World, a fashionable magazine for upper middle-class women. The magazine, published by Cassell & Co., was originally titled The Lady's World and first published in 1886; under Wilde's editorship, however, the magazine underwent a substantial visual and intellectual transformation. The scope of The Woman’s World was no longer constrained to fashion reports and commercial advertisements, but rather widened to include debates on issues central to women’s socio-political status, historical and contemporary. Furthermore, Wilde solicited well-known women to contribute, including the suffragette Millicent Fawcett Garrett; the baroness Lady Mary Jeune; Queen of Romania Carmen Sylva; and authors Edith Nesbit; Amy Levy; Olive Schreiner; and Ouida. The wide scope of contributors and content lent itself to a lack of coherence: contradictory arguments are threaded through its pages, and wholly dissimilar articles appeared side by side. By exploring continuities and contingencies within The Woman’s World, this project seeks to expose the multiple modes of “womanhood” in conversation at the time.
The Digital Woman’s World aims to preserve the text of a publication critical to nineteenth-century periodical studies, women’s writing and history, and Wilde studies. Eventually, the edition’s goal is to encode the complete text Woman’s World (1887), accompanied by high-resolution scans of the magazine’s internal images and article pages. Annotations will be completed by a variety of contributors, emphasizing the variety of readers who may have accessed The Woman’s World. The annotations showcase the depth of critical discourse and knowledge contained within article, while tag sets categorize articles by keywords and authors to model the types of content typically solicited. By granting access and inviting contributions to this historically-rich material, The Digital Woman’s World is a tool for scholars, educators, and students.
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