Victorian Literature Journalism
by
Matthew Rubery
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 02 March 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199799558-0067

Introduction

The quantity of affordable print increased dramatically during the 19th century to satisfy the demands of the first mass reading public. Nearly everyone was exposed to print of some kind during an era in which over 25,000 different journals were available to the growing reading public. The term “journalism” first entered the English lexicon in the 1830s and encompassed a wide range of formats, from the quarterly review to the monthly magazine to the daily newspaper. The discourse of journalism became increasingly influential throughout the 19th century. Since the earliest attempts to navigate the voluminous periodical archives in the 1950s, scholars have aspired to produce a complete map of the diverse forms of print consumed by readers during this period. This entry presents a guide to the major resources and scholarship for the study of Victorian journalism.

General Overviews

A number of review essays summarize developments in the field of Victorian print culture or periodical studies in the past decade. The most detailed of these overviews and the best starting point is Mitchell 2009. Rubery 2010 offers a useful introduction to Victorian journalism and its relation to the period’s literature. Additional overviews of the field with a slightly narrower focus are available in Brake 2001 and Boardman 2006. The relevance of periodical studies for American publications is addressed by Latham 2006.

  • Boardman, Kay. “‘Charting the Golden Stream’: Recent Work on Victorian Periodicals.” Victorian Studies 48 (2006): 505–517.

    E-mail Citation »

    Review essay focused on five monographs or essay collections on Victorian periodicals. Provides a useful account of the field’s development since the 1950s.

  • Brake, Laurel. “On Print Culture: The State We’re In.” Journal of Victorian Culture 6 (2001): 125–136.

    DOI: 10.3366/jvc.2001.6.1.125E-mail Citation »

    A state-of-the-field review proposing that print culture studies are at a turning point in their development. Identifies how the emergence of this new field of research has challenged the narrow literary focus of Victorian studies. A provocative and synoptic overview of the field by one of its pioneering scholars.

  • Latham, Sean, and Robert Scholes. “The Rise of Periodical Studies.” PMLA 121 (2006): 517–531.

    DOI: 10.1632/003081206X129693E-mail Citation »

    Identifies an emerging field of periodical studies in response to the development of digital archives. Useful for its attention to American periodicals, although one-sided in its neglect of long-standing critical interest in British periodicals.

  • Mitchell, Sally. “Victorian Journalism in Plenty.” Victorian Literature and Culture 37 (2009): 311–321.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1060150309090202E-mail Citation »

    Detailed overview of recent scholarship on Victorian journalism with a lengthy bibliography of fifty-five works on some aspect of the press. Divided into five categories: books using the press as evidence about a topic; books about journalists; books on individual periodicals; books attempting to theorize periodical studies; and books providing resources for the next generation of research.

  • Rubery, Matthew. “Journalism.” In The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture. Edited by Francis O’Gorman, 177–194. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    E-mail Citation »

    An accessible introduction to the variety of journalistic writing in the 19th century and to the emergence of Victorian print culture as a field of research.

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