[This lecture was delivered at the ASECS in 30 March - 2 April 2006 in Montreal, Canada. "Eighteenth Century Women Writers After the Digital Turn." Roundtable for the Woman's Caucus. Saturday, April 1, 2006. 11:30 a.m. Other speakers: Isobel Grundy, University of Alberta; Suzan Van Duke, Universite of d'Utrecht Institut de Recherches en Histoire et Cultures. Chair: Lori Davis-Perry, United States Air Force Academy.

Conference Paper

Women in Cyberspace

This is the third paper I've given on my website at an 18th century conference. On two previous occasions I told of how and why I came to build a website. Through using a laptop and projector, I showed how, by creating hundreds of links arranged in easy-to-use alphabetical and chronological patterns, I enabled visitors to my site to read and navigate through about 500 original poems, accompanied by translations, of two Renaissance women poets, Vittoria Colonna and Veronica Gambara; an annotated chronology of all the poems of Anne Finch, together with about 50 hitherto unpublished poems by Finch taken from unpublished manuscripts and rare books, about 30 hard-to-find because mostly unpublished source texts of Finch's translations and a group of contemporary poems in praise of or parodying Finch's poetry; lists of Finch's translations and adaptions, and annotated bibliographies and essays on Finch's, Colonna's and Gambara's work. I displayed my construction of two etext editions of epistolary novels by later 18th century French women, Isabelle de Montolieu's Caroline de Lichtfield and Sophie Cottin's Amelie Mansfield, and, from a close study of Austen's texts, my construction of 8 detailed calendars embedded in Austen's famous six novels and two fragments, Lady Susan and The Watsons.1 The central goal of these presentations was to demonstrate how internet technology enabled me to present in one place an enormous amount of information books cannot or usually do not handle, and texts that are not commercially viable in attractively- designed, visually intelligible, and easy-to-use formats.

I want today to provide a more general, feminist, and future- oriented perspective on my website. To understand why academic women's websites take the forms they do and what the future for academic women's etexts and uses of cyberspace might be, we need to look at the general experience of women trying to build lives and identities, and communicate with one another in cyberspace; to compare academic women's websites to academic men's websites; and to look at the changes in scholarly communications that the existence of a world wide web is causing. Studies of cyberspace behavior and websites have repeatedly shown that gender affects what people do and how they feel about and use cyberspace; that people who involve themselves in cyberspace culture, specifically, those who build websites, seek to create or establish a desired identity through performance in cyberspace; and that cyberspace communities and relationships affect peoples lives in their physical or local space.2 I seek to present material to help us think about what are the obstacles to women using cyberspace effectively, and what can be done to construct cyberspace experience so as to make it more appealing, hospitable and usable for women.

Women are the emigrant minorities of cyberspace. Every study from 1985 through to 2003 of the World Wide Web demonstrates that it is a male construction: it was begun by men and exploits technologies many women have not been trained to use or are not comfortable using. A strongly masculinistic ethos produces and structures many regions and norms in Net life; much of cyberspace culture is still controlled and dominated by men, and reflects and encourages sexual and sheerly competitive aggression, hostility towards, and debasement of women, and disparages what's thought to be female points of view of social life.3 The language of the Net, the language of instructions, commands, and descriptions of computer behavior is masculinist, and much of it still defines and looks at the action a user needs to take from the point of what an engineer or programmer has automatically caused to happen to the machinery from his angle. The jargon tends to imagined cowboy and science fiction adventure violence: bash, kill, abort, master/slave, booting up. It's rule- and product- outcome based. What is generalized in the command word is not what the user imagines she is doing (type this in here), or the user's aims, but what the trained engineer thinks he has to done to make his technology respond to typed commands. Not the user's gesture, but what is provided by some remote machine is what many of the words refer to. The type of training someone must go through to become a computer programmer requires women to repress ways they have been encouraged to think and act, to replace picture and concrete thinking and women's metaphors with abstractions and metaphor drawn from a male point of view. Claude Lvi-Strauss associated building through combining pictures with the savage mind and called it bricolage. It's a process central to the way website building is seen and experienced when performed by non-engineer or non-programmer website owners.4

Studies of cyberspace social interactions reveal that repeatedly and increasingly women are moving into and active on distribution lists, webrings and other cyberspace forums which are women-only, controlled by one or more women listowners and moderators, or are vigilantly moderated so as to enable women to voice points of view seen as distinctly feminine, to talk about issues specific to women, and to feel comfortable or safe. In distribution list and games or computer- mediated communications, women have recognizably more conciliating, tactful and relational behaviors than men. If a cyberspace area is not moderated so as to prevent aggressive and adversarial postings directed at women, such postings will occur, and, in response, most women fall silent, or move away from the area. It has been documented in a number of instances that after a feminist or women-only cyberspace forum was not vigilantly moderated, and had people of both sexes on it, the forum died, and active women participants migrated to other or all-women's lists and websites, and places controlled by women, or places where professional and other accountability mechanisms were at work to control hostile and personally aggressive behavior.5 Computer-mediated communications on the Net as presently generally practiced do, then, eventually inhibit most even well-educated and self-confident women from involving themselves actively.

When we turn to academic women's websites, we find evidence of other barriers inhibiting women from representing themselves and their work effectively. Academic websites built by men and women do resemble one another. Both men and women are often "limited by the wider Web site standards of the institution" they are affiliated to; both show nomadic trajectories; both struggle to "reclaim the parts of their identities lost within institutional [and impersonal] representation." Academic women's websites differ, though, significantly. Men are more "confidently self-effacing" in their presentation of their credentials. Women's "homepages" are "less personalized and less developed." Three different studies found men frequently use jokey pictures of themselves and will feature photos of themselves relaxed in non-professional life in activities associated with males (e.g., fishing) and in gender- inflected clothes (two men in one study on 2 otherwise very different websites presented themselves in "a baseball cap backwards"). Academic women include few photos; when they do have some, these tend to be plain or institutional mug shots. In one study to find a photo of an academic woman in a non-professional pose on her website, the author had to keep clicking to find buried deep in the website a photo of her kissing a child. In another case, similarly buried in another academic woman's website was a photo of her "documenting my first batch of home- made pasta."6

In "Fleeting Images: Women Visually Writing the Web," a study of professional women's websites, of women in online directories and of women on several commercial websites, Gail Hawisher and Patricia Sullivan found that images of women in cyberspace function as advertisements or bodies and objects to be bartered. In most cases the representation of the particular woman is chosen and controlled by someone else.7 It may be asked, why have photos at all? because individuals are often asked to provide a photo by visitors or the institution to which they are affiliated, even in those institutionally-controlled spaces where their identity is presented as fungible. It is felt to be unnatural not to put a face to the name.8

Sociologists writing on cyberspace talk repeatedly about the need to make the experience safe for women. The word "safe" occurs over and over again from the most militant and abstract, modernist writers, frankly solicitious and openly politicized feminist academicians, and active cyberfeminists, to non-academic women in the Republic of Pemberley where the visitor is assured "No, you have not lost your way. You are safe within the Borders of the Republic of Pemberley."9 Politeness, courtesy, interactions which promote social relationships, and a concern for discretion are values women in cyberspace say they want predominant. I feel this set of values derives from the reality that in physical life women feel themselves threatened because throughout history and in our society today they are made answerable to others for what they do with their bodies and made to feel that since they have women's bodies, they are continually under display. The predicaments of social life in physical space are replicated in cyberspace. Cyberpsace is an extension of physical space, and experiences in cyberspace as a matter of course spill over to physical space to affect an individual's physical and local life.10 Thus the images women choose and websites they build exempify highly conventional roles and ideas women feel safe presenting before strangers.

All this matters because cyberspace matters, and not just in promoting a career, advertising ourselves, or presenting texts of our choice. I have no numbers for academic versus non-academic women, but women are participating in cyberspace culture in large numbers and they are putting texts by women on academic, non-academic and personal sites. A very few numbers: as of February 8, 2006, on "Celebration of Women Writers" there were 1,232 texts published between 1660-1820 by women writers; on Corvey Women Writers on the Web (CW3), there was material on 417 18th and 19th century women writers and 1,071 of their texts; the Woman's Project at Brown University site contains roughly 300 texts for late 17th through early 19th century women, with links to similarly impressive other sites. A less well-known site: "Women of Horror" at Violet Books, has a fine selection of 18th and 19th century texts, bibliographies, essays, and links to further literary gothic sites and an excellent essay by Jessica Amanda Salmonson (which also appears as the introduction to a conventionally-published edited volume, Two Centuries of Women's Supernatural Stories).12

Back in 1995 Dale Spender wrote that there were yet a number of hurdles to overcome before academic women would as a group spend much time building websites, putting etexts in cyberspace, and engaging in and exploiting cyberspace culture for career advancement. The way to reach promotion and tenure was then and still is to publish papers in peer-edited journals, go to conferences and give papers which themselves end up published in peer-edited journals, to publish books, and thus build an academic reputation which locally the individual turns to account at her university. Cyberspace activities, websites and etext editions are as yet only supplements to one's resume. But they can and do help. Individuals and groups of academic people who live at great distances collaborate on projects through cyberspace- forums set up specifically for this purpose, and they collaborate individually and casually.13 I nowadays make a heavy use of Gallica where I've been reading online rare texts by Sophie Cottin and Felicite de Genlis digitized by the Bibliotheque National de France.

Academic libraries are gradually attempting to respond to these changes in scholarly communication and the skyrocketing costs of publication. In the case of the important peer-edited journals, these costs are partly the result of groups of corporate publishers buying up large groups of journals, selling these as electronic texts to libraries, and then jacking up the prices. The journals are bundled so the libraries cannot buy just the few good ones they might want; they have to buy all that are offered to get the best few. Among the responses are creations of permanent cyberspace repositories by these libraries, and more support for open access journals. Surveys show that open access journals and online presence increases citations of an individual's work and name enormously. Among the issues that need to be addressed here for academic women is how to use cyberspace to advertise, disseminate and continue to promote women's studies and publications which grew exponentially from the 1970s through the 1990s, but now alas in print slowing down. One small thing one can do is keep your copyrights and self-archive on your website. In "Electronic Scholarship: Perform or Perish," Spender demonstrates that older close-knit academic communities are breaking down, the print media is losing out as a primary medium of information, and the different social structures which are emerging now make it necessary to perform one's work as well as publish it. Thus the backlash against women that we are seeing, changes in intellectual property, gatekeeping, censorship, and texts coming out of cyberspace are ignored by women at their peril.

I return to my own site and experiences. I fall back on these because even the best studies of the invisible crowds visiting, reading, interacting with texts or on websites can't go farther than the kinds of numbers I've just provided. For the first time perhaps in human history a multitude of people have access to a machine which makes automatic documents of left-over traces of private and group life, but any evidence has to be anecdotal because each study covers but an infinitesimal fragment of what's going on at any one time.15

In my first two talks I told of how as a direct result of creating my website as well as my activities on distribution literary lists, I was commissioned to write a book which was published and became the complementary book for the Trollope society for the year 2000, gave a lecture to the Trollope Society at the Reform club, was commissioned to write a narrative for a group of baroque musicians to use as material they needed for a script for musical accompaniment to Finch's poems, published one of the Austen calendars in Philological Quarterly, and was then in the process of attempting (once again) to find a publisher for either the Colonna or the Gambara oeuvre. Since then all the poetry of Colonna and Gambara, the novels of Montolieu and Cottin, the supplementary materials to Myra Reynolds's edition of Finch, and my Austen calendars on my site are available at A Celebration of Women Writers; and the Colonna, Gambara, Montolieu, Finch, Austen, Trollope, and Burney materials have been placed in MARS, the permanent cyberspace repository offered me by George Mason University's library system.16 I'm consultant editor for a project undertaken by Adams Matthews where they are going to use my site to enable them to proceed with (I quote the editor's letter to me) publishing "a microfilm edition of the mss of Anne Finch (plus rare books)." Since my talk I now also have had individual poems and translations of Gambara and Colonna published in larger anthologies of poetry by women.

I've kept track of my audience insofar as I can. In my first two papers I detailed who was my audience insofar as I could tell: a wide variety of middle-class readers, students, and scholars, mostly from those countries where the Net is readily available. A hit is defined as one element being delivered to a browser. I define a visit as a person coming to the website and viewing some set of pages or reading a page and then going somewhere else. From May 16, 1999, to February 4, 2006, I've had about 5 million hits and 2 million visits. In the last week of January 2006, the Trollope region got 4,230 visits, the Austen 1,387, the Finch 2,009, the gothic, 1,566, Colonna's poems 1,533, Cottin's novel 630, Montolieu's 586, Gambara's poems 443, Burney, 364. The single most popular document on my site for that week was an essay- review I wrote and published in the The East-Central Intelligencer which I titled "Jane Austen on Film, or How to Make a Hit" (318 visits); the second most visited document was the calendar I drew from Austen's Pride and Prejudice (230 visits);17 and the third-most visited document the paper from which my lecture was taken at the Reform Club, "Partly Told in Letters: Trollope's Story- Telling Art." [I can offer more detail on which parts of my site get attention and how much if anyone is interested].

My website fits into the patterns of academic women websites. Two of the small photos I chose for my website are small professional mug shots of me taken for inclusion on the cover of my book and taken at George Mason University by a colleague for inclusion on a bulletin board. In the second one I am wearing a white blouse, thin chain necklace, and thin black jumper sweater with white pearl buttons. In a third and fourth which I placed in a section of my website separate from the teaching and scholarship sections I'm seen as the mother of my older daughter who dressed as a bride, and as wife-and-mother (with glasses on) squeezed inbetween my husband on one side and my younger daugther on the other.

So too my behavior on distribution lists and the behavior by women I've observed. Over the ten years I've been online I have finally settled into distribution lists which are dominated by academics, where the moderator works to keep politeness and social harmony predominant, where there is a woman listowner (in three cases myself), or where women and women's issues strongly predominate. In the case of one, Wompo (a list where the members have to be invited and are mostly women who are published poets or somehow professionally active in women's literature), when a couple of women members asked that the list exclude men, the listowner of Wompo justified her inclusion of men by writing that Wompo was"incubated as a woman-only space" and informed "by a cultural norm" which "validates" the stengths of "women's visions" and "women's communities." This was in response to a call for excluding men from three Wompo women members. Characteristically women's postings which disagree with others, particularly those of men, open with thanking the individual they mean to disagree with, expressing appreciation for his or her posting, and end with some self-deprecation or half-apology. In contrast, the men are willing to bring in personalities who have posted, and use names (women will more often refrain from naming their opponent).

An individual's access to and experience of cyberspace is dependent on power relations in the physical world18: who owns a computer, can buy an internet account and space, has the time, self- confidence and previous education to enter cyberspace and can herself build, hire, or has a friend who can help her build, a website depends on her position in her local group and place. There is a good deal to be said on behalf of the view that serious devoted time on the Net can be traumatic, isolating, and tragically irrelevant, ineffective or even dangerous in local life, Nonetheless, numbers of the studies about women which I read focus on marginalized, impoverished, "indigenous" and physically-abused women who used cyberspace effectively and successfully.19 Some studies compare the experience of cyberspace to the women in Janet Radaway's Reading the Romance where women "built imaginary realities less limited than their own." In my experience cyberspace is much better than that. It is an instrument for reaching other real people, as real as the people you encounter at conferences. Since the level of contact is mental and private, and the self in cyberspace is a writing self, cyberspace can provide new ways of being, knowing and doing things which can free the individual from the constraints of local place and time and space and physical encounter. Cyberculture offers contacts, presences, friends, and opportunities for individuals to interact with outside their narrow confines, to set up important weak ties, for small publications (reviews), and is a means for increasing social and self- knowledge.20 The Net does provide zones for effective resistance for the hitherto or otherwise disconnected and powerless.

For women interested in disseminating and creating respect for and interest in 18th century texts by women: to develop women-friendly cyberspace, we must work for a progressive vision (socialism), transnationalization, antimilaritism (wherever violence is encouraged women are at risk), and the validation of women's experiential points of view. I do not mean to be idealistic here and am not saying increasing comfortable global connectivity for a minority of people (colleged-educated women) will produce liberty, equality and fraternity (or sisterhood) on the Net. The advantages which would accrue to women are more like the opportunities railroads gave many people in the 19th century for the first time. The key seems to be to attempt to make your experiences in cyberspace connect to your human interaction in physical space. Note I do not say these interactions need be local. In a very amusing passage in Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and Its Discontents, Elaine Showalter suggests networking towards promotion is no longer narrowly local but dependent on conference contacts, conference papers and thus the Internet.21


1 Life spans and relevant dates: Colonna, 1492-1547; Veronica Gambara,1485-1550; Anne Finch, 1660-1720; Isabelle de Montolieu, 1751-1832; Sophie Cottin, (nee Risteau, 1770-1807); Jane Austen (1775-1817). Caroline de Lichtfield, first edition, 1786; Amelie Mansfield, first edition 1803.

2 Thomas Erickson, "The World Wide Web as Social Hypertext," "Viewpoints," ACM: Communications, January 1996. http://www.pliant.org/personal/Tom_Erickson/SocialHypertext.html; Daniel Chandler, "Writing Oneself in Cyberspace," Available at: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/short/webident.html; K. Gegen, "The Self in the Age of Information," The Washington Quarterly, 23:1 (2000):201-14; Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, "Same Old Gender Plot? Women Academics' Identities on the Web," paper presented at Cultural Diversities in/and Cyberspace Conference, University of Maryland, 2000; Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, "Academic masters, mistresses and apprentices: gender and power in the real world of the web," Mots Pluriels, 19 (October 2001), Available at: http://www.arts.uwa.edu.au/MotsPluriels/MP1901jahm.html.

3 Chris Karmarae, Technology and Women's Voices (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985): 15-28 and passim; Dale Spender, Nattering on the Net: Women, Power, and Cyberspace (Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex, 1995), 165-226; Cheris Kramarae, "Technology Policy, Gender, and Cyberspace". Available at: http://www.law.duke.edu/journals/djglp/articles/gen4p149.htm; Gillian Youngs, "Virtual Voices: Real Lives," women@internet, ed. Wendy Harcourt (London: Zed, 1999): 55-68; Elizabeth Reid, "Hierarchy and power: social control in cyberspace," Communities in Cyberspace, edd. Marc A Smith and Peter Kollock (London: Routledge, 1999):107-133; Leslie Regan Shade, Gender & Community in the Social Construction of the Internet (NY: Lang, 2002): 33-54, 73-92. Compare the instructions on how to set up the radio in an automobile. The instructions are written with the user's needs and purposes in mind; nothing of the inner workings of the automobile or radio are brought in beyond what's absolutely needed for understanding (basically labels).

4 Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 58-63; Ruth Perry and Lisa Gerber, "Women and Computers: An Introduction", Sherry Turkle, "Epistemological Pluralism: Styles and Voices within the Computer Culture," Pamela E. Kramer and Sheila Lehman, Mismeasuring Women: A Critique of Research on Computer Ability and Avoidance," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 16:1 (1996):. 74-101, 128-57, 158-72. 5 Spender, Nattering on the Net. 193-227 235-47; Susan Herring, "Gender Differences in Computer-Mediated Communication Bringing Familiar Baggage to the New Frontier," keynote talk at a panel entitled "Making the Net work: is there a Z39.50 in gender communication?," American Library Association annual convention, Miami, June 27, 1994; Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen, 242ff and passim; Gillian Youngs, "Virtual Voices: Real Lives," women@internet, ed. Wendy Harcourt, 55-68; Jodi O'Brien, "Writing in the Body: gender (re)production in online interaction," Communities in Cyberspace, edd. Marc A Smith and Peter Kollock, 76-104; Leslie Regan Shade, Gender & Community in the Social Construction of the Internet (NY: Lang, 2002): 33-54, 73- 92. See email to Discussion of Women's Poetry List, Annie Finch, Listowner, (Director Stonecoast Brief-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, University of Southern Maine), 2/7/06. Available at: http://lists.usm.maine.edu/archives/wom-po.html.

6 Micky Hess, "A Nomad Faculty: English professors negotiate self-representation in university Web space," Computers and Composition, 19 (2002), 171-189; Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, "Same Old Gender Plot? Women Academics' Identities on the Web," paper presented at Cultural Diversities in/and Cyberspace Conference, University of Maryland, 2000; Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, "Academic masters, mistresses and apprentices: gender and power in the real world of the web," Mots Pluriels, 19 (October 2001), http://www.arts.uwa.edu.au/MotsPluriels/MP1901jahm.html. What prevents women from putting photos of themselves on the Net is made clear in Marj Kibby's "Babes on the Web: Sex, Identity and the Home Page," genero y comunicacion, 9Z:2 (196-8); http://www.razonypalabra.org.mx/anteriores/n9/babe.htm.

7 Gail Hawisher and Patricia Sullivan, "Women's web pages: reading to the issues," Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st century perspectives, edd. Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe, edd. Logn, Utah: Utha State Up, 1999.

8 Erickson 2; Chandler 2. Chandler argues that creating a website offers "an unrivalled opportunity for self-presentation in relation to any dimension of social and personal identity to which one chooses to allude."

9 Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (NY: Routledge, 1991), 9-42 and the famous "Cyborg Manifesto," 149-181. See above Spender, Herring, Shade, and Susan Herrings "Searching for Safety Online: Managing Trolling in a Feminist Forum," CSI Working Paper. Available at: http://rkcsi.indiana.edu/archive/CSI/WP/WP02-03B.html. What prevents women from putting photos of themselves on the Net is made clear in Mari Kibbey's "Babes on the Web: Sex, Identity and the Home Page," genero y comunicacion, 9Z:2 (196-8). Available at: http://www.razonypalabra.org.mx/anteriores/n9/babe.htm. For the Republic of Pemberley, a Jane Austen site: http://www.pemberley.com/map.html

10 It may be thought places where games are played and masked identities a requirement effectively separate cyberspace experiences from those in physical or local life. Studies show continual leakage into real life, and that those who participate in these games work hard and intuitively to try to work out what is the sex, race, and age of the person behind the mask. See Judith S. Donath, "Identity and Deception in the virtual community," Anna DuVal Smith, "Problems of conflict management in virtual communities," Communities in Cyberspace, edd. Marc A Smith and Peter Kollock, 29-59, 134-63, and Brenda Danet, "Text as Mask: Gender and Identity on the Internet," Paper delivered at a conference, "Masquerade and Gendered Identity," Venice, Italy, February 21-24, 1995. Available at: http://pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il/-msdanet/mask.html. More dramatically, women have been stalked outside cyberspace and threatened with rape withih; see Cheris Kramarae and Jana Kramer, "Net gains, Net losses," The Women's Review of Books (February 1995):32-35.

12 Available at: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/wr-search.html; http://www2.shu.ac.uk/schools/cs/corvey/cw3journal/; http://www.wwp.brown.edu/; http://www.violetbooks.com/womens- supernatural.html

13 Spender, Nattering on the Net, 120-46 ("Electronic Scholarship"). See also Laura Garton and Barry Wellman, "Social Impacts of Electronic Mail in Organizations: A Review of the Research Literature," Communications Yearbook, 18 (1995):434- 53; Linda Hasim and Tim Winkelmans, "Computer Mediated Scholarly Collaboration," Knowledge, 11 (1990):382-409.

14 Dorothea Salo, "Changes in Scholarly Communcation," Lecture at Fenwick Library, George Mason University, February 23, 2006; Dale Spender, "Electronic Scholarship: Perform or Perish," Maureen Ebben and Cheris Kramarae, "Women and Information Technologies: Creating a Cyberspace of Their Own," women, Information technology and scholarship (WITS), edd. H. Jeanie Taylor, Cheris Kramarae, and Maureen Ebben (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois, 1993):15-27, 28-43. For further information on publishing from the librarian's standpoint, see http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/, http://www2.library.ucla.edu/libraries/2995.cfm. I summarized Dr Salo's lecture on my website blog for that day, and got 8 informative comments: http://server4.moody.cx/index.php?id=389. Changes in publication also include a trend among publishers to put texts online and offer lecturers the opportunity to "create" your own anthololgy," see The Pearson Custom Library of American Literature (2005-6 Catalogue), www.customliterature.com.

15 See Marc A Smith, "Invisible Crowds in cyberspace: mapping the social structure of the Usenet," Willard Uncapher, "Electronic homesteading on the rural frontier: Big Sky Telegraph and its community" and Christopher Mele, "Cyberspace and disadvantaged communities: the Internet as a tool for collective action," Communities in Cyberspace, edd. Marc A Smith and Peter Kollock, 195-219, 264-310.

16 It's called MARS. It's run and managed by Dorothea Salo, a librarian. The mission of Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS) is to provide a stable, well-managed, permanent archive for digital scholarly and research materials of enduring value produced by Mason faculty, staff, and students. What I have put on this site. For the two Renaissance poets (Colonna and Gambara) and the two later 18th century novelists (Montolieu, and Cottin) my aim was to present an electronic version of good if old editions; for the fifth (Finch) my aim was to supplement with a variety of materials an inadequate edition I was not putting on the site.

For Isabelle de Montolieu I had an 1815 French text (the final definitive edition supervised by Montolieu); for Sophie Cottin an 1809 London reprint of a slightly bowdlerized reprint of the original 1803 text (one sentence was changed); for Vittoria Colonna, I had the older standard scholarly 1840 Italian edition of her Rime; for Veronica Gambara, the older standard scholarly 1759 Italian edition of her Rime, which I supplemented with an 1890 printing of the omitted erotic poems. I also supplemented both Colonna and Gambara with scattered texts not in these three earlier standard books. Later on I came back and added biographies, linked in more materials, and created bibliographies and briefer essays on different topics.

For Anne Finch the standard edition was the Myra Reynolds's 1903 attempt at a complete edition of Finch's poems. Much to the regret of all who are interested in Finch's work, Reynolds did not know of third major manuscript; she also relied on the printed version for many of Finch's poems and did not collate the two manuscripts she had; finally, she did not arrange Finch's work chronologically or provide adequate annotations. So I made a chronology of all Finch's poems and put that on my site. I added a biography, and then began to add texts that had never been published in any form, the texts that were the sources of her translations, and annotations for these and for the texts Reynolds had printed. As people came to my site and invited me to write papers or asked questions, and made suggestions I added yet more texts and materials. Then two scholars brought out facsimile editions of the manuscript Reynolds had not known of. So I updated what I had and added annotations and yet more materials from manuscripts in accordance with what I learned from these this latest partial edition.

The three most important recent publications of Vittoria Colonna's poetry are: Tobia R. Toscana, ed. Sonetti : in morte di Francesco Ferrante d'Avalos marchese di Pescara: edizione del ms. XIII.G.43 della Biblioteca nazionale di Napoli / Vittoria Colonna [1492-1547] (Milano: G. Mondadori, 1998); Vittoria Colonna, Rime, ed. Alan Bullock (Roma: Gius. Laterza & Figli, 1982); Rime di Vittoria Colonna, ed. Pietro Ercole Visconti, Pietro Ercole (Roma, Dalle Tipografia Salviucci. 1840). The important early one which I used is Girolamo Ruscelli's Tutte le Rime della Illustriss. et Eccellentiss. Signora Vittoria Colonna. Marchesana di Pescara Con l'espositione del Signor Rinaldo Corso, nuovamente mandate in luce da Girolamo Ruscelli. (In Venetia, per Giovan Battista Et Melchior Sessa Fratelli, 1558). All of Domenico Tordi's late 19th and early 20th century publications of and about her work and life remain important to any student of Colonna's life and work. Another book of translations and texts came out after I completed my work on my site: Vittoria Colonna, Sonnets for Michelangelo: A Bilingual Edition, edited and translated by Abigail Brundin. Series: (OVIEME) The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe. Chciago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. This edition came out after I did my translating so I was not able to avail myself of its information.

The editions for Gambara are: Francesco Rizzardi, ed. Rime e lettere (Brescia: Rizzardi, 1759); Emilio Costa, Sonetti Amorosi Inediti o Rari di Veronica Gambara da Correggio (Parma: Casa Editrice Luigi Battei, 1890); A. Salza, ed., Rime inedite e rare di Veronica Gambara (Cirie: Cappella, 1915); and Veronica Gambara, Le Rime, ed. Alan Bullock (Firenze: Olschki, 1995). See also Alan Bullock, "Per una Edizione Critica della Rime di Veronica Gambara", Veronica Gambara e la Poesia del suo Temp nell'Italia Settententrionale, ed. Cesare Bozzetti, Pietro Gibellini, Ennio Sandal (Firenze: Olschki, 1989), 99- 124. Since all analyses of Gambara's poetry have been based on texts which lack the love poetry, a reassessment of her poetry is needed.

I chose the 1815 edition of Caroline de Lichtfield because that was the text that was available to me. It is the last text to have appeared and, as Montolieu remarks in her "Preface," represents her final intentions and last polishing of her text. In this preface she explains how Caroline de Lichtfield came to be misattributed to Georges Deyverdunn. The book appeared with the phrase "Publi par le traducteur de Werther" after the title: what the misleading phrase had been intended to convey was that Deyverdunn was the first publisher of Caroline de Lichtfield and the translator of Goethe's Werther. She also offers some reasons for her decision not to continue writing original novels but instead devote herself to translating the work of others -- with occasional forays into original work.

I have reproduced the 1809 edition of Amelie Mansfield which was published in London by Colburn because this is the earliest text available to me. The scholarly reader will want to consult the first 1803 edition, as well as the first reprint of the second edition of 1805 (see bibliography), especially for Letter C: Blanche a Albert, Vienne, 4 Octobre, six heures du soir (3:131-159). It is in this letter in the 1803 edition Amelie attempted to commit suicide.

For a full explanation of the problems in Reynolds' edition, see my published review: The Anne Finch Wellesley Manuscript Poems, edd. Barbara McGovern and Charles Hinnant. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1998. Pp. l + 205; The Scriblerian 33/2 (2001), pp 203-4. It's also available at: http://www.jimandellen.org/finch/review.mcgovern.html

17 This was the week the 2006 Focus Features film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was distributed throughout the US and attracted much internet and newspaper comment.

18 See Arturo Escobar, "Gender, Place, and Networks: A Poliical Ecology of Cyberculture," women@internet, ed. Wendy Harcourt, 31-58.

19 Rhoda O. Bautista, "Staking Their Claim: Women, Electronic Networking and Training in Asia," June Lennie, Margaret Grace, Leonie Daws, and Lyn Simpson, "Empowering On-Line Conversations: A Pioneering Australian Project to Link Rural and Urban Women," and Sally Burch, "ALAI: A Latin American Experience in Social Networking," Harcourt, pp. 173--206.

20 See Mark S. Granovetter, "The Strength of Weak Ties," The American Journal of Sociology, 78:6 (1973): 1360-80.

21 Escobar, 48-54; Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and Its Discontents (Philadelphia: Univ of Pennsylvia Press, 2005), 87ff.

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