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‘So now tell me what you think!’: Sylvia Lynd's collaborative reading and reviewing - the work of an interwar middlewoman


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Wilson, N. (2017) ‘So now tell me what you think!’: Sylvia Lynd's collaborative reading and reviewing - the work of an interwar middlewoman. Literature & History. ISSN 0306-1973 (In Press)

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This article highlights Sylvia Lynd (1888-1952) as an important interwar ‘middlewoman’, arguing that Lynd's professional work and identity as book club judge, reviewer, and literary hostess, had a significant impact on contemporary print culture. It argues that the networks around the Lynds' set in Hampstead are an important, if overlooked part of ‘the social spaces and staging venues’ where literary modernism happened (in Lawrence Rainey's influential terms). With a methodology grounded in feminist research and recoveries of early twentieth-century women’s diverse contributions to print culture, the core of the essay considers Lynd's work for the Book Society selection committee and the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse Anglais. Making use of publisher’s records and other archival sources, including Lynd’s unpublished diaries and correspondence, the article sets out Lynd's shared reading and decision-making with Hugh Walpole on manuscripts for the Book Society as a dialogic, collaborative reading practice, placing her work as book club judge as part of a long history of sociable reading practices. The article further explores the textual implications of Lynd’s work as book club judge and shows how her editorial interventions made a tangible, documented impact on the pre-publication history of literary texts, in this case George Blake's The Shipbuilders (1935) and Eric Linklater's Juan in America (1931). This work of editorial revisions/censorship is an aspect of the textual interventions of celebrity book club judges that is not well known and that archival research gives us unique access to.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:73208
Publisher:Manchester University Press

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