The role of the literary and cultural periodical

Authored by: David Finkelstein

The Routledge Companion to British Media History

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415537186
eBook ISBN: 9781315756202
Adobe ISBN: 9781317629474


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Between 1800 and 1850, the literary periodical became a dominant publishing format in British culture. Prior to the founding of the Edinburgh Review in 1802, there existed few substantial literary journals of note in Britain, though there were some exceptions, such as the Critical Review, founded in 1756 by Archibald Hamilton and Tobias Smollett, Addison and Steele’s The Spectator (in existence from 1711–12), The Gentlemen’s Magazine (founded in 1732), and the Monthly Review, begun by Ralph Griffiths in 1749. Audiences for such works were concentrated in the genteel part of Georgian society, upper-class literate elites who had the funds to purchase books, magazines and poetic publications, or those literary elites who could be found reading shared subscribed copies of newspapers and periodicals in the coffee houses that served as communication hubs in key cities such as London, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge.

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