The Early Journalism of Eliza Meteyard
thesisposted on 06.02.2018, 15:29 by Tomoko Kanda
This thesis argues why Eliza Meteyard (1816-1879) is a significant but neglected nineteenth-century woman writer. She was supported by well-known contemporary writers including Mary Howitt, Douglas Jerrold, Samuel Smiles and Charles Darwin, and recognised as a pioneer by the next generation of feminists including those in the Langham Place Group. By the 1870s she had established herself not only as the author of The Life of Josiah Wedgwood (1865-1866), but also as a writer of social problem narratives, and as a feminist. This thesis focuses on her periodical writing of the 1840s, when her basic tenets as a social problem writer were established. It begins by introducing her early life and career, and turns to the journals published for the advancement of the people, for which Meteyard wrote during that decade. These considerations are preliminary to focusing attention on her writings in three fields: political economy, gender, and popular education. Meteyard was not an instinctive writer of fiction, but a journalist who employed fiction along with articles to respond to the social problems of her day, and a social reformer who endeavoured to educate the public. Her writings dealt with topical issues, including the reduction of hours of work, practical education for artisans, the formation of co-operative associations, Chartism, employment for women, prostitution and sanitation. In some respects Meteyard was more like a modern journalist than a Victorian one; she was an early example of an investigative journalist, who researched her articles and stories thoroughly, and utilised her network of contacts to inform her writing. An important element in my thesis is a bibliography of all of Meteyard’s known published works, which demonstrates the range of her writing, and her exceptional productivity. It adds more than one hundred and twenty contributions to periodicals to the existing bibliography of her writing.