Women and Children First:
Appropriated Fiction in the Ten Hours’ Advocate
This article examines interclass strategies to bring about reform in mid-nineteenth century England. It specifically explores the way the Ten Hours’ Advocate, a paper written for the working classes, looked to present itself as a middle-class periodical in order to further the argument for factory reform. In reproducing fiction filched from middle-class periodicals, the Advocate performed its argument for the Factory Bill: that the Bill would ease social tensions, dissipate the Chartist or radical threat, and ensure a “return” to traditional gender roles. The appropriated fiction is mild, rather bland; the non-fictional argument for reform is direct and unapologetic. That the Advocate was opportunistic in the way it made the case for reform is an example of the advantages provided to reformers by the absence of strict copyright laws and by Victorian periodical culture in general. But it also contextualises the debate over the family-wage argument and the working-class role in hardening the Victorian sexual division of labour.
Victorian periodical culture; Ten Hours’ Advocate, factory reform; family wage; gender roles; radicalism; Chartism
Date of Acceptance: 8 December 2021
Date of Publication: 17 December 2021
Double Blind Peer Reviewed
Breton, Rob. 2021. “Women and Children First: Appropriated Fiction in the Ten Hours’ Advocate.” Victorian Popular Fictions, 3.2 (Autumn): 63-75. ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) DOI: https://doi.org/10.46911/FSMI1264
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.