The Periodical Press

Deborah Wynne

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online March 2011 | | DOI:
The Periodical Press

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The Victorian periodical press offers a rich archive for scholars of Victorian culture, yet it is only in recent decades that periodical studies has emerged as an important area of research. New work has offered increasingly sophisticated readings of periodicals, with books and edited collections dealing with particular titles, genres, readership groups, or themes. Victorian periodicals are also an important tool for major scholars in Victorian studies (not just those working in periodical studies and publishing history) and most recent work on Victorian literature and culture references some primary sources accessed in Victorian periodicals. The wealth of periodicals circulating during the period can be both daunting and beneficial. As mass literacy emerged, cheap mass publishing formats were created to cater to new groups of readers, and after 1850 the periodical became one of the most popular and flexible literary forms. Although the culture of the early Victorian period was dominated by the expensive highbrow quarterlies and monthly reviews such as The Quarterly Review, The Edinburgh Review, and The Westminster Review, all aimed at educated and well-to-do readers, there also flourished a range of cheap, usually poorly printed “penny dreadfuls” and sensational magazines bought by the poor. The growth of the middle classes in the mid-Victorian period led to the creation of a wide range of periodicals aimed at a family readership, such as Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper and Charles Dickens’s Household Words. In the 1860s more stylishly printed journals appeared for middle-class readers, such as The Cornhill and Once a Week. Later in the century, the market for magazines was huge and multiform: publications such as The Strand included photographic illustrations. The ephemeral nature of the magazine form means that not all of the many titles available to Victorian readers are still accessible. However, there are important archives of most of the well-known titles in major libraries, while increasing online access to facsimile versions has considerably aided the study of Victorian periodicals. This bibliography covers periodicals other than newspapers.

Article.  5979 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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