This edited volume is the first to reflect on the theory and practice of editing women’s writing of the 18th century. The list of contributors includes experts on the fiction, drama, poetry, life-writing, diaries and correspondence of familiar and lesser known women, including Jane Austen, Delarivier Manley, Eliza Haywood and Mary Robinson. Contributions examine the demands of editing female authors more familiar to a wider readership such as Elizabeth Montagu, Mary Robinson and Helen Maria Williams, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by the recovery of authors such as Sarah Green, Charlotte Bury and Alicia LeFanu. The interpretative possibilities of editing works published anonymously and pseudonymously are considered across a range of genres. Collectively these discussions examine the interrelation of editing and textual criticism and show how new editions might transform understandings not only of the woman writer and women’s literary history, but also of our own editorial practice.

chapter 1|17 pages


Editing women’s writing, 1670–1840

chapter 2|11 pages

An ambitious and quixotic series

The ever-shifting role of the editor and the Chawton House Library Series

chapter 3|14 pages

Editing Eliza Haywood’s The Female Spectator (1744–1746)

Making (and unmaking) a periodical ‘for women’

chapter 5|16 pages

Annotating Delarivier Manley

Stripping away preconceptions of gender and genre

chapter 6|20 pages

Julie and Julia

Tracing intertextuality in Helen Maria Williams’s novel

chapter 7|15 pages

Romancing the past

Women’s historical fiction, editorial pains and practices

chapter 8|13 pages

A ‘Piece written by a Lady’

Gender, anonymous authorship and editing The Histories of Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen House (1760)

chapter 9|15 pages

‘Some uncalled-for revival of by-gone scandals’?

Editing women’s court memoirs

chapter 10|17 pages

‘Posthumous remains, family papers, and reminiscences sans fin’

Editing women in the Chawton House Library Series

chapter 12|20 pages

‘An Editor’s duty is indeed that of most danger’

The rationale for a digital edition of Elizabeth Montagu’s letters 1