In the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” the fortunes of London’s parasol-wielding elite rise and fall with each edition of Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers. Through the power of gossip, Lady Whistledown thwarts or abets the matchmaking schemes of Ladies Featherington, Danbury, and Bridgerton—sometimes with heartbreaking results.
Print culture really did turbocharge the spread of gossip in Regency London. Beginning in the early 18th century, periodicals like "The Tatler” and “The Spectator" titillated readers with the private lives of Londoners exposed in its pages. Later, women authored similar works, such as “The Female Spectator,” directed specifically to women.
In this live video discussion, the Newberry’s Jill Gage (Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing & Bibliographer for British Literature and History) and Mary Hale (Assistant Director of Scholarly Programs) dish about gossip, print, and the rise of women authors.
Spoiler alert: be forewarned, dear reader, as our discussants may reveal the occasional spoiler over the course of this engagement.
This live discussion is part of the library's NewbTube series: brisk but brainy conversations with Newberry staff and research fellows.