Silent Era Fan Magazines and British Cinema Culture: Mediating Women’s Cinemagoing and Storytelling
Columbia Univeristy Libraries
© 2017 Women Film Pioneers Project at Columbia University
The aims of this article are twofold. First, I seek to explore the ways in which British fan magazines mediated between film producers and British moviegoers in the silent era, focusing on their specific address to female readers. I briefly survey the development of magazines on the UK market and their role in cultivating a gendered culture of cinemagoing. To do so, I focus on three popular British papers from the silent era: Picturegoer (1921-22, which then continued as Pictures and the Picturegoer [1922-1925], Picturegoer and Theatre Monthly , and Picturegoer [1925-1931]); The Picture Show (1919-1960); Girls’ Cinema (1920-1932). Second, the article moves to focus on storytelling as a central feature of British periodicals in the silent era. Fiction was a significant linking thread across the multi-media modes of address that fan magazines utilised. They featured short story adaptations, included a great deal of film star “life stories,” and used narrative structures (such as seriality) to advance their advertising. Examining how magazines employed fictional and narrative tropes offers a new way of thinking about their gendered address, relative to their position within a larger fiction market aimed at women. At the same time, it facilitates a dual focus on women’s creative roles as the makers of such storytelling content in their work as adaptors and magazine writers.
Freely available from the publisher via the link in this record.
The Women Film Pioneers Project (WFPP) is a freely accessible, collaborative online database that showcases the hundreds of women who worked behind-the-scenes in the silent film industry as directors, producers, editors, and more. Always expanding, the database features career profiles on each pioneer, longer overview essays on national cinemas and occupations, still and moving images, and archival and bibliographic resource materials. The goals of WFPP are to jumpstart historical research on the work of women filmmakers from the early years of cinema, ending with the coming of sound; to facilitate a cross-national connection between researchers; to reconfigure world film knowledge by foregrounding an undocumented phenomenon: these women worked in many capacities.
In Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal, and Monica Dall’Asta, eds. Women Film Pioneers Project. Center for Digital Research and Scholarship. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2013