Portrait of Professor Jennie Batchelor

Professor Jennie Batchelor

Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies



Jennie Batchelor works and publishes in the long eighteenth century, focusing primarily on women's writing, authorship and anonymity, periodicals and women’s magazines, representations of gender, work, sexuality and the body, book history, material culture studies and the eighteenth-century charity movement. She is the author of two monographs and co-editor of four essay collections. Her most recent book (with Nush Powell), Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690s-1820s (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), is the first major study of women’s active engagement with periodical and magazine culture in the long eighteenth century. Jennie regularly gives public lectures and writes articles and guest blogs on these subjects and other subjects. In April 2016 Jennie guest presented a few episodes of the New Statesman’s Hidden Histories podcast series, ‘The Great Forgetting: Women Writers before Jane Austen’, and in 2017 she was invited to speak at the Cheltenham Literary Festival about the enduring popularity of Jane Austen.
From 2014-16, Jennie was Principal Investigator for a Leverhulme project entitled 'The Lady's Magazine (1770-1818): Understanding the Emergence of a Genre' and was subsequently awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to work on a forthcoming book about the Lady’s Magazine in Romantic print culture. She has also co-authored a popular blog about the magazine, its content, history and numerous, largely unknown, authors. 

Jennie’s longstanding interest in the history of fashion and material culture and to public engagement in research led to her curation of ‘The Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off’, a project for which people around the world recreated 11 rare, surviving embroidery patterns from the Lady’s Magazine for display at an exhibition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Emma at Chawton House Library. Jennie is also Patron of the Kent branch of the Jane Austen Society. 

Research interests

  • eighteenth-century and Romantic women’s writing 
  • book history 
  • periodical studies 
  • the histories of gender, sexuality and the body 
  • material culture studies 
  • Jane Austen 
  • authorship, anonymity and pseudonymity 
  • the eighteenth-century charity movement 
  • literary representations of intellectual, manual and affective labour and the labouring-class writer 


Jennie would be delighted to supervise PhD work on any of the above topics. She is currently or has previously supervised PhD dissertations on: the Canterbury book trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; sexual violence and consent in eighteenth-century literature; incest and the gothic novel; the politics of amatory fiction; eighteenth-century cosmetics; Jane Austen; eighteenth-century poetry; women’s education and feminism in the Romantic and Victorian periods; Romantic theories of self; and digital approaches to the Romantic period. 



Showing 50 of 54 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Batchelor, J. (2013). Influence, Intertextuality and Agency: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers and the Politics of Remembering. Women’s Writing 20:1-12.
  • Batchelor, J. (2011). ‘Connections which are of service . . . in a more advanced age’: The Lady’s Magazine, Community, and Women’s Literary Histories. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature [Online] 30:245-267. Available at: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/tulsa_studies_in_womens_literature/v030/30.2.batchelor.pdf.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). ‘“The Labour of the Novelist”: Jane Austen, Work and Writing’. Jane Auesten Society Annual Report 6:41-52.


  • Batchelor, J. (2020). Jane Austen Embroidery: Authentic Embroidery Projects for Modern Stitchers. [Online]. London: Pavilion. Available at: https://www.pavilionbooks.com/book/jane-austen-embroidery/.
  • Batchelor, J. (2014). Women’s Work: Labour, Gender and Authorship, 1750-1830. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). Women’s Work: Labour, Gender, Authorship, 1750-1830. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    *Women's Work* challenges influential accounts about gender and the novel by revealing the complex ways in which labour, as material reality and philosophical concept, informed the lives and writing of a number of middling and genteel women authors publishing between 1750 and 1830. This period saw momentous changes in the configuration of the domestic household and the labour market, as well as in the practice and conceptualization of that most precarious of occupations, authorship. As such, Batchelor contends, it provides a particularly rich, yet largely neglected, seam of texts for exploring the vexed relationship between gender, work and writing. The book's introduction explores some of the reasons why women's work has been historically absent from the stories we've told about eighteenth-century women writers' lives and novels, and suggests how recognition of its presence can complicate these narratives in important ways. The four chapters that follow contain thoroughly contextualized case studies of the treatment of manual, intellectual and domestic labour in the work and careers of Sarah Scott, Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft and women applicants to the writer's charity, the Literary Fund. By making women's work visible in our studies of female-authored fiction of the period, Batchelor reveals the crucial role that these women played in articulating debates about the gendered division of labour, the (in)compatibility of women's domestic and professional lives and the status and true value of women's work that shaped eighteenth-century culture as surely as they shape our own.
  • Batchelor, J. (2005). Dress, Distress and Desire: Clothing and the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Literature. Palgrave Macmillan.

Book section

  • Batchelor, J. (2019). Pamela and the Satirists: The Case for Eliza Haywood’s Anti-Pamela. In: Bullard, P. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-eighteenth-century-satire-9780198727835?q=The%20Oxford%20Handbook%20of%20Eighteenth-Century%20Satire&lang=en&cc=gb.
  • Batchelor, J. (2018). ’Be but a little deaf and blind . and happiness you’ll surely find’: Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Magazines for Women. In: DiPlacidi, J. and Leydecker, K. eds. After Marriage in the Long Eighteenth Century: Literature, Law and Society. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 107-127. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60098-7_6.
    This chapter refocuses common perceptions of eighteenth-century marriage through the lens of eighteenth-century women’s magazines. It demonstrates that the miscellanies’ dialogic character produced a view of married life both richer and more complex than that found in any other textual form in the period. Working against conventional scholarship that positions titles such as The Lady’s Magazine (1770–1832) as conduct books by another name, this chapter instead suggests that magazines’ interactive formats ensures that their concerns were not easily reducible to particular agendas or conventional wisdoms. Early women’s magazines present the bourgeois domestic ideal with which they have so long been erroneously associated with marked scepticism and enjoin their readers to navigate its myriad challenges and grim realities with pragmatism, imagination and wit.
  • Batchelor, J. (2017). When “Bread Depends on Her Character”: The Problem of Laboring Class Subjectivity in the Foundling Hospital Archive. In: Goodridge, J. and Keegan, B. eds. A History of British Working Class Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/literature/english-literature-general-interest/history-british-working-class-literature?format=HB.
  • Batchelor, J. (2016). Anon., Pseud and by a Lady: The spectre of anonymity and the future of women’s literary history. In: Batchelor, J. E. and Dow, G. eds. Women’s Writing, 1660-1830: Feminisms and Futures. Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137543813.
  • Batchelor, J. (2013). Women and the Mid-century Novel. In: Labbe, J. M. ed. The History of British Women’s Writing, 1750-1830. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 84-101.
  • Batchelor, J. (2012). ‘Mothers and Others: Maternity and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century Prostitution Narratives’. In: Ellis, M. and Lewis, A. eds. Prostitutes and Eighteenth-Century Culture. London: Pickering and Chatto, pp. 157-169.
  • Batchelor, J. (2012). ‘Jane Austen and Charlotte Smith: Biography, Autobiography and the Writing of Women’s Literary History’. In: Cook, D. and Culley, A. eds. Women’s Life Writing, 1700-1850: Gender, Genre and Authorship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 181-196.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). ’[T]o strike a little out of a road already so much beaten’: Gender, Genre, and the Mid-Century Novel. In: Labbe, J. M. ed. The History of British Women’s Writing: 1750-1830. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 84-101.
    This period witnessed the first full flowering of women's writing in Britain. This illuminating volume features leading scholars who draw upon the last 25 years of scholarship and textual recovery to demonstrate the literary and cultural significance of women in the period, discussing writers such as Austen, Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). The ‘latent seeds of coquetry’: Amatory Fiction and the 1750s Novel. In: Carlile, S. ed. Masters of the Marketplace: British Women Novelists of the 1750s. Cranbury, US: Lehigh University Press and Boydell and Brewer.
    Discussions about the development of the novel often jump directly from the 1740s, when Richardson and Fielding were particularly successful, to the 1770's, when women supposedly entered the marketplace in greater numbers. The little scholarship that focuses on the British novel in the 1750s has primarily addressed male output and concluded that the genre was faltering and in danger of extinction. Masters of the Marketplace is the first volume specifically to assess the importance of the 1750s in literary history and to argue that women novelists engaged in critical renovation of the novel as a genre and reclaimed it as a proto-feminist project. This book highlights how these women controlled their literary circumstances, mining their prospects and nimbly responding to the changing literary marketplace, the emergent domestic ideals, varied reader responses, shifting notions of genre, and new developments in epistemology. Their texts spoke in more pointed ways to societal inadequacies, and their use of amatory and sentimental fiction, two categories often ridiculed, in fact produced transgressive results. Thus they were masters of, rather than mistresses to, a rapidly changing publishing world. Indeed, in the 1750s women and men's novel output was nearly equal. The most prolific women authors of this decade, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, and Sarah Scott, were among the ten top producers of new fiction. Thus, women novelists had arrived at a crucial intersection in literary history when their interest in fostering public personae merged with a more amenable marketplace. This collection of essays shows how women took advantage of the brief window of opportunity and made an essential contribution to literary history.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). ’The Limits of Sympathy: The Histories of Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen-House (1760)’. In: Duckling, L., Escott, A. and Williams, C. D. eds. Woman to Woman: Female Negotiations During the Long Eighteenth Century. University of Delaware Press.
  • Batchelor, J. (2009). Fictions of the Gift in Sarah Scott’s Millenium Hall. In: Zionkowski, L. and Klekar, C. eds. The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 159-176.
  • Batchelor, J. (2007). Reinstating the ’Pamela Vogue’. In: Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Women and Material Culture, 1660-1830. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 163-175.
  • Batchelor, J. (2007). "Your apparel manifest your mind": dress and the female body in eighteenth-century literature. In: Carlson, C. and Kuhn, C. eds. Styling Texts: Dress and Fashion in Literature. United States: Cambria Press, pp. 113-128.
  • Batchelor, J. (2005). Woman’s Work: Labour, Gender and Authorship in the novels of Sarah Scott. In: Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. British Women’s Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century: Authorship, Politics and History. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 19-33.

Edited book

  • Batchelor, J. (2018). Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s: The Long Eighteenth Century. [Online]. Vol. 1. Batchelor, J. and Powell, M. eds. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-women-039-s-periodicals-and-print-culture-in-britain-1690-1820s.html.
  • Batchelor, J. (2016). Women’s Writing, 1660-1830: Feminisms and Futures. [Online]. Batchelor, J. and Dow, G. eds. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-54382-0.
  • Batchelor, J. (2015). The History of British Women’s Writing, 1970-Present. Vol. Ten. Eagleton, M., Parker, E., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2013). Memoirs of Women Writers, Part III. Vol. 3. Walker, G. L. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J. (2012). Memoirs of Women Writers, Part I. Vol. 1. Fitzer, A. M. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J. (2012). Memoirs of Women Writers, Part II. Vol. 2. Walker, G. L. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J. (2012). The History of British Women’s Writing, 1920-1945. Vol. Eight. Joannu, M., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2011). The History of British Women’s Writing, 700-1500. Vol. One. Herbert McAvoy, L., Watt, D., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2011). Memoirs of Scandalous Women. Dugaw, D. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J. (2011). The History of British Women’s Writing, 1610-1690. Vol. Three. Suzuki, M., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). The History of British Women’s Writing, 1500-1610. Vol. Two. Bicks, C., Summit, J., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). The History of British Women’s Writing, 1690 - 1750. Vol. Four. Ballaster, R., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2010). The History of British Women’s Writing, 1750-1830. Vol. Five. Labbe, J. M., Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2009). Women’s Court and Society Memoirs, Part II. Vol. 2. Culley, A. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J. (2009). Women’s Court and Society Memoirs, Part I. Vol. 1. Culley, A. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J. (2008). Women’s Theatrical Memoirs, Part II. Vol. 2. Setzer, S. M. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J.E. and Kaplan, C. eds. (2007). Women and Material Culture, 1660-1830. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Batchelor, J. (2007). Women’s Theatrical Memoirs, Part I. Vol. 2. Setzer, S. M. and Batchelor, J. E. eds. London: Routledge.
  • Batchelor, J.E. and Hiatt, M. eds. (2006). The Histories of Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen-House. Vol. Women’. London: Pickering and Chatto.
  • Batchelor, J.E. and Kaplan, C. eds. (2005). British Women’s Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century: Authorship, Politics and History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Edited journal

  • Batchelor, J. (2013). Beyond Influence, 1680-1830. A special issue of Women’s Writing Batchelor, J. E. ed. [Journal special issue] 20.

Internet publication

  • Batchelor, J., Claes, K. and DiPlacidi, J. (2015). The Lady’s Magazine (1770-1818): Understanding the Emergence of a Genre [Website]. Available at: http://www.aphrabehn.org/ABO/ladys-magazine-1770-1818-understanding-emergence-genre.
  • Batchelor, J. (2012). Introduction to ’The Lady’s Magazine and Other Titles, 1712-1835’ [Website]. Available at: http://www.amdigital.co.uk/m-collections/collection/eighteenth-century-journals-portal/.


  • Batchelor, J. (2008). Gender and Utopia in the Eighteenth Century: Essays in English and French Utopian Writing. Notes and Queries [Online] 55:533-534. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjn198.
  • Richardson, C. (2007). Women and Material Culture, 1660-1830 Batchelor, J. E. and Kaplan, C. eds. Reviews in History [Online]. Available at: http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/richardson2.html.


  • Stanley, K. (2018). ’The Novelist of Home: Silence and the Theorisation of Domesticity in Jane Austen’s Fiction.
    This thesis offers a re-examination of the nearly two-centuries-old idea that Jane Austen is 'the novelist of home'. How, it asks, can we reconcile the seemingly opposing notions of Austen's famed insular focus on domestic life, with its corresponding restraints upon women, and her clearly non-conservative gender politics?

    In depicting the lives of young women, Austen by and large excludes matters which were deemed 'unfeminine' or belonging to the public and 'masculine' world from her fiction. Topics such as sexuality and politics might then be considered silences in her novels. This apparent refusal to discuss these subjects was not, however, a sign of Austen's endorsement of the ideal of withdrawn and private female life set out within conservative conduct literature. Instead, I argue, in her isolated focus on domesticity Austen provides forensic studies of the conditions of home life for middle-class women and their psychological impact. Her silences, therefore, are tools used to recreate the state of disconnection in which women exist under the influence of contemporary domestic ideology. In each of her novels, Austen criticises that confinement to, and an education that prepares women for, a life solely in the domestic realm harmfully limits the scope of their knowledge, development and ultimately selfhood.

    Offering a theorisation of domesticity that develops over the course of her career, Austen set herself apart from her forerunners and contemporaries in domestic fiction. In adapting the novel according to this enterprise of reconceiving domesticity, Austen moreover reimagines the novel itself.
  • Fisher, D. (2016). Marriage and Paradoxical Christian Agency in the Novels of Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Anne Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell.
    Between 1790 and 1850, the novel was used widely "for doing God's work," and English female authors, specifically those who identified themselves as Christians, were exploiting the novel's potential to challenge dominant discourse and middle-class gender ideology, particularly in relationship to marriage. I argue in this thesis that Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Anne Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell used the novel to construct Christian heroines who, as unlikely agents, make resistive choices shown to be undergirded by faith.
    All practicing some form of Christianity, Wollstonecraft, Austen, Brontë and Gaskell engage evangelicalism's belief in "transformation of the heart." They construct heroines who are specifically shown to question the value of a narrative that assumes wayward husbands would somehow be transformed as a result of the marriage union. The heroines in this study come to resist such reforming schemes. Instead, they paradoxically leverage the very Christian faith that dominant discourse would use to subjugate them in unequal unions.
  • Masterson, F. (2014). Bare-Faced Cheek: Authenticity, Femininity and Cosmetics in English Romantic-Era Print Culture.
    “Bare-Faced Cheek: Authenticity, Femininity and Cosmetics in English Romantic-Era Print Culture” examines the rhetoric that surrounded women’s use of cosmetics in Romantic-era England through the focus of prevailing notions of authenticity and a Romantic valorisation of nature over artifice. The rhetoric that surrounded women’s use of cosmetics in Romantic-era England was as contentious as it was dichotic when the moralising dogma of literature of conduct came to clash with the commercial agenda of advertising rhetoric and notions of beauty, taste and women’s proper place in the social order became subjects of deliberation and debate. The significance of cosmetics in the Romantic era shifted from that of courtly display and fashionable visibility to that of tasteful moderation and restrained decorum. This, in turn, elicited a furious anti-cosmetic backlash that spoke of women’s use of cosmetics in terms of vanity, duplicity and fraudulence. The increasing medicalisation of the female body and the dissemination of that knowledge through a burgeoning print trade meant that such accusations could be accompanied by dire warnings of the deleterious nature of many lead, mercury and arsenical-based preparations that were being prepared, manufactured and promoted by a coterie of hucksters, quacks and charlatans.

    However, the very burgeoning print culture that gave voice to such allegations and cautions also provided a sounding-board for other voices such as the newly emerging sub-genre of the beauty manual that presented cosmetics as benign, effectual and the sign of a healthy regard for the beauty bestowed upon humanity by God. Furthermore, the rise of periodical publications designed particularly with a female readership in mind provided a forum for discussion of matters cosmetical and regular features within such publications promoted the cosmetic benefits of skincare and the effectual preservation of beauty. Advertisers also made good use of such publications as places to promote their goods as anodynely effective and discretely undetectable: an effective weapon against the ravages of time and the vagaries of nature. Cosmetics under such auspices became not only admissible but laudable, a service to both society and domestic harmony through their mollifying ability to beautify the female face.
    Paradoxically then, the key to using cosmetics successfully within Romantic-era England was to learn the art of appearing authentic, natural and untouched by the dubiety of feminine ‘arts’. In a print culture conflicted over the permissibility of cosmetics within the secretive realm of the female toilette the figure of the cosmetically enhanced female was thus, one that came to be used figuratively by female novelists of the time to raise questions about: the validity of authenticity within the lives of contemporary women; the contingent nature of femininity in a society that increasingly sought to confine women within an idealised cultural script; the crushing intensity of a powerful social scrutiny; and the hegemonically disruptive potential of elective female transgression. Hence, cosmetic artifice within the works of the women authors I investigate becomes a metaphor for the over-arching artifice inherent within the social construction of Romantic-era woman. Moreover, the self-control required for her to assimilate herself as naturally virtuous, diffident and unworldly points to the cosmetic artistry required to make her naturally beautiful.
  • Simpson, K. (2014). The ’Little Arts’ of Amatory Fiction: Identity, Performance, and Process.
    From its initial publication until the feminist recovery project, amatory fiction was mostly depicted as a popular, but immoral, trivial, and aesthetically underdeveloped genre in comparison to the emergent realist novel. More recently, the genre’s feminocentric treatments of gender difference, erotic love, seduction and betrayal have been discussed in terms of their proto-feminism, whilst its thematic explorations of duty and disobedience have been recognised as evidence of the genre’s Tory-oriented intervention in partisan politics. Tracing the origins of some of today’s critical perspectives on femininity, writing, performativity, and the body, ‘The “Little Arts” of Amatory Fiction: Identity, Performance and Process’ argues that these texts are characterised not so much by their proto-feminism or political alignments, as by their proto-queer strategies. The structure of the chapters works from the outside of amatory texts – their reception and their construction in chapters one and two – to their content in chapters three and four, and then back outwards again in the final chapter which considers their lasting influence. The chapters redefine the genre according to its self-conscious and theoretically sophisticated engagements with identity, authorship, materiality, power, and desire, and suggest that such a redefinition serves to widen the pool of amatory texts for consideration. Chapter one explores the interrogation of prescriptive gender constructions in amatory texts and the feminist readings that this interrogation has provoked, suggesting that a reading that attends to the queerness at work in amatory fiction can yield a clearer understanding of the genre’s ambiguous ideological position, which goes beyond transgression. Chapter two identifies the ways in which self-conscious textuality, evasive strategies of authorship, and (dis)embodiment function within these texts to posit a constructivist understanding of identity, and as demonstrations of artistry and agency. It argues that identifying amatory fiction according to its play with notions of authorship, rather than as author-based, allows for the inclusion of lesser known writers such as Mary Hearne, writers not traditionally considered amatory, such as Penelope Aubin and Jane Barker, and anonymous and pseudonymous amatory texts, within an amatory canon traditionally constituted by Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, and Eliza Haywood. Chapter three reads amatory fiction alongside Judith Butler’s work on performativity, and charts the way in which amatory fiction experiments with the possibility of disrupting processes of identity construction using masquerade and mimicry, and creating its own discursive forms of repetition and performativity in ways that prefigure Butler. Chapter four examines how amatory texts subject these configurations to the material effects of passion and power, using materialist feminist theory to posit that the body is recognised in these texts as a place of excess beyond the limits of discursive performance. The final chapter outlines the afterlife of amatory fiction, demonstrating the ways in which intertextuality and borrowings are used to create a community of readers and writers working in an amatory tradition both within the early eighteenth century and beyond. At a time when some scholars are turning away from the popular fiction by women unearthed during the recovery project in favour of revisionist formalist approaches, this work is both crucial and timely, demonstrating amatory fiction as formally innovative, theoretically engaged, and vital both to understandings of the queer eighteenth century, and to genealogies of feminist and queer theories.
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