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Entertaining the Citizen: When Politics and Popular Culture Converge, Liesbet van Zoonen, (2004) Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 181 pp., ISBN 0742529061 (hbk), 69.00; ISBN 074252907X (pbk), 26.95.

Courting The Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition, John Durham Peters, (2005) Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 316 pp., ISBN 0226662748 (hbk), 29.00.

Mixed Media: Feminist Presses and Publishing Politics, Simone Murray, (2004) London: Pluto Press, 260 pp., ISBN 0745320163 (hbk), 55.00; ISBN 0745320155 (pbk), 16.99.

Simone Murray's book looks at the contribution of the second wave feminist presses to the advancement of feminist ideas in the United Kingdom from the early 1970s to the first years of the twenty-first century. These presses, she claims, have profoundly reshaped the publishing industries and the wider literary culture and education. To appreciate the complex interrelations between feminist politics, feminist presses, mainstream publishers, academic feminist publishing, and feminist bestsellers, Murray argues for the development of a publishing centred analysis. This approach enables movement beyond a focus on individual texts so as to contextualize them within the dynamics of the broader publishing industry. Such presses have experienced great difficulties (most are now defunct). Moreover, many mainstream publishers now have extensive gender lists. Nevertheless, Murray argues that feminist presses continue to be a crucial safeguard, against the vagaries of a publishing industry whose interest in feminist texts lies in their ability to generate profit rather than in any real commitment to a feminist political agenda.

Keywords: feminist politics; feminist presses; feminist publishing history; mainstream publishing; publishing centred analysis

Document Type: Book Review


Affiliations: 1: University of Oslo. 2: Muhlenberg College. 3: Cardiff University.

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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