Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Launched in 2011 by the Aphra Behn Society, Aphra Ben Online (ABO Onliine) serves as “a forum for interactive scholarly discussion on all aspects of women in arts between 1640 and 1830, especially literature, visual arts, music, performance art, film criticism, and production arts.” There are five departments in the journal: Scholarship; Pedagogy; Digital Humanities; Reviews; and Notes and Discussions. There is also a companion site, called ABOPublic, which features “shorter articles and interactive content geared toward a public audience.” The stated mission of ABOPublic is “to integrate public and academic interests through intersecting feminist perspectives on gender, sexuality, race, class, privilege, geography, politics, culture, and the arts.” ABOPublic also purportedly offers a professional advice column, “Ask Aphra,” but at the time of this review the link into Ask Aphra resulted in just the display of a 404 error.
The most recent issue available of ABO Online offers the scholarly articles, “Abused, neglected,—unhonoured,—unrewarded”: The Economics of Authorial Labor in the Writings of Mary Robinson” and “Chasing Eliza: Shifting and Static Women in Elizabeth Craven's The Miniature Picture,” as well as three reviews, of: Dale Townshend and Angela Wright, eds., Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic; Sarah Raff, Jane Austen's Erotic Advice, and Amy Culley, British Women’s Life Writing, 1760-1840. As the digital mastheads of both ABO Online and ABOPublic are nearly identical, it can be tricky to know exactly where you are on the site. The content is the best identifier: there is much more content, much more readily accessible, on ABOPublic than there is on ABO Online. ABOPublic currently sports such material as, “Behn’s Badass Bibliotheque: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik Q&A” and “Outlander, Season 2: Review of Episodes 12 and 13.”
Frankly, there is something here for just about anyone interested in women’s writing in and about the period from 1640 and 1830, and it’s recommended for both scholars and general readers interested in the period.