British journal apologizes for review’s ‘lady author’ slur

Historians in the News
tags: Joanne Paul, Thomas More



A journal has apologised after a female academic was repeatedly referred to as a “lady author” in a review of her first book.

Joanne Paul, lecturer in early modern history at the University of Sussex, said she was shocked by the use of the description in a review of her book Thomas More by Peter Milward, a recently deceased Jesuit priest and literary scholar.

“My sincere compliments are due, as reviewer, both to the publisher and to the lady author of this unique publication of Thomas More as thinker,” Professor Milward wrote in the Heythrop Journal.

He later continued: “On the other hand, I find I have also to offer the lady author my equally sincere condolences on having had to undertake such an impossible task as she has, with the connivance of her publisher, set herself.”

After receiving the review, Dr Paul said she emailed the journal’s editor, Patrick Madigan, to query the matter, but said he “did not offer an apology” and instead blamed the use of the term on a “stylistic lapse”.

The review received fierce backlash after a link was posted on Twitter, however.

“Lady author? What is this, the 18th century?” responded Marion Wilson Kimber, a researcher of music and gender at the University of Iowa.

“The journal's continued use of that offensive language is a disgrace,” said Lisa Smith, professor of digital history at the University of Essex. ...

Read entire article at The Times Higher Eduacation


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