Research Student Periodicals Workshop 14 June 2016

from the English Illustrated Magazine October 1883
from the English Illustrated Magazine October 1883

Free Workshop for Research Students on C18 and C19 Periodicals  Tuesday 14 June 2016.

University of Greenwich, Queen Anne building, room 210, 10am – 5pm.

Research students covering any aspect of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century periodicals are warmly welcomed to an all-day workshop exploring the problems and advantages of working with periodicals.

In the morning participants will present short papers outlining their research and the place of periodicals in it, with emphasis on methodological problems they face.

froom Mabel Esmonde Cahill, illustrated by John da Ciosta "Of the Rotyal Blues", Harm worth Magazine volume 2 , Feb to July 1899, p. 163
froom Mabel Esmonde Cahill, illustrated by John da Costa “Of the Royal Blues”, Harmworth Magazine 2, Feb to July 1899, p. 163

 

In the afternoon, we’ll seek to answer some of those problems by working with periodicals students might not be familiar with, using that experience to think through the issues raised in the morning.

A vegetarian lunch will be provided, along with the usual tea/ coffee on arrival and in the afternoon, with a wine reception in the evening.

Participants are asked to register before 1 May but registration may close before that as places are limited.

After registration, we’ll be in touch to ask you for a short bio and an abstract. The latter is only so we learn in advance what kinds of issues you want addressed and prepare accordingly: this isn’t a formal conference. Note also that you will be expected to participate actively: the day will not comprise a series of lectures.

To help with catering, please register through Eventbright: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/research-student-periodicals-study-day-tickets-22509606840?

Directions on how to find the campus (with a campus map if you scroll down) are available here.

Looking forward to seeing old friends again and meeting new ones.

 

2016-03-02 22.03.00
from Pearson’s Magazine, 2, July- December 1892

 

 

 

International History of Magazines 6: Australia and New Zealand

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

The small populations of Australia and New Zealand in the nineteenth century meant that there were few market possibilities for magazines until the 1870s. There were certainly magazines before this, but most were shortlived and unsuccessful, notable exceptions being the Melbourne-based Australian Journal (1865-1962), a popular fiction weekly modelled on (and often sharing material with) Britain’s London Journal (1845-1928), and the Brisbane-based Queenslander (1866 – 1939), the entertainment weekly supplement to the Brisbane Courier (1846-).

A decent body of research has been done on the Australian little magazine, a genre that was introduced by Vision in 1923. Despite the fame of some amongst the cognoscenti, until the 1970s the genre never had much success.

Increasing amounts of work are being done on consumer magazines but despite a plethora of article-length studies and volumes on single magazine titles, Greenop remains the only full-length study of the history of Australian magazines as a whole. Day (q.v.) has covered the development of the early newspaper in New Zealand but so far there is no book-length study of the history of the New Zealand magazine.

OVERVIEWS

Bennet, Bruce. 1981. Cross Currents. Magazines and Newspapers in Australian Literature. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire.

The 16 essays (plus one diary extract), mainly by non-academic participants in the area, offer interesting perspectives on individual little magazines (the one exception concerns book reviews in newspapers).

Day, Patrick. 1990. The Making of the New Zealand Press. A Study of the Organizational and Political Concerns of New Zealand Newspaper Controllers. Victoria: Victorian University Press.

While magazines are not mentioned here at all, this volume is included in the bibliography for being one of the very few studies of New Zealand press history. Its account of the organizational difficulties settlers faced is illuminating and in many cases will be applicable to magazine production as well.

Edmonds, Phillip. 2015. Tilting at Windmills. The Literary Magazine in Australia, 1968-2012. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press.

Theoretically informed and well-written account of the little magazine in Australia at a time when it flourished. Brings the work of Tregenza (q.v.) up to date.

Greenop, Frank.  1947. History of Magazine Publishing in Australia. Sydney:  K. G. Murray Publishing Co.

Still the only book-length history of American magazines, this was written by an insider, the magazine editor-in-chief of the publisher who brought out the book. It is organised chronologically and has good descriptions of individual magazines within the text. The index helpfully lists the magazines mentioned.

Tregenza, John. 1964. Australian Little Magazines 1923-1954: Their Role in Forming and Reflecting Literary Trends. Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia.

A slim volume covering 48 little magazines, including the best known, Max Harris’s surrealist Angry Penguins. There is a handy descriptive bibliography of little magazines listing authors, dates, frequency, price and publishers, but most of the text  comprises a discursive history of the magazines.

DATABASES

AustLit   http://www.austlit.edu.au/

This subscription-only database  aims to be the central research tool for all matters related to Australian literature in the widest sense, including magazine history. It is not full text but links out to other archives that are (Trove, q.v.).  Oriented towards content rather than runs of magazines, there is a research project focussing on newspapers and magazines (see  http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/5960612)

Australian Magazines of the Twentieth Century  http://www.austlit.edu.au/specialistDatasets/BookHistory/AustMag

A subscription service giving full-text searchable access to around 100 Australian magazines and newspapers mainly from the twentieth century from The Booklover (1914-18) and Meanjin (1940-) to the Australian Woman’s Mirror (1924-61).

Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 http://www.nla.gov.au/ferg/

A clunky site created in the 1990s that allows PDF downloads of individual articles from periodical titles. Full-text searches are possible of only one of the journals, the Colonial Literary Journal and Weekly Miscellany of Useful Information. It has largely been superseded by Trove.

Index New Zealand http://innz.natlib.govt.nz/webvoy.htm

This is a searchable database of abstracts and descriptions of articles from 1000 New Zealand magazines and newspapers from the early twentieth century onwards. It is content-oriented and it is difficult to trace complete runs of magazines, but can be useful when its limitations are acknowledged.

Papers Past. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast

An excellent and easy to use open-access database of 120 newspapers and magazines from 1839 to 1948. 18 Maori publications are included, including some religious magazines.

Trove.  http://trove.nla.gov.au/

An exceptionally well designed open-access database easily searchable through a single interface. Although the subsite Trove Digitised Newspapers and More (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper) highlights newspapers in its title, it in fact allows full text searching of a large number of magazines as well.

International History of Magazines 5: Latin America

LATIN AMERICA

“Latin American” (Iberoamericano) is here defined geographically to refer to those magazines published in South and Central America, Mexico and the West Indies. The diversity of the region and its histories is enormous, but, despite the risks of flattening the very varied historical and geographical terrain, the amount of material to cover is not as large as it might be. In several countries in the twentieth century the press was either nationalised or very carefully state controlled, and it is not therefore surprising that while there are substantial histories of the press covering Latin America in general and its constituent countries, these are almost all exclusively concerned with newspapers and their role as political actors. A few of these histories are referred to below for the purposes of background for the study of magazines. Most of what there in terms of magazine history focuses on the high-status literary: substantial accounts of the popular magazine in Latin America are lacking. With the establishment of associations for media researchers such as Red de historia de la prensa y el periodismo en Iberoamérica at Guadalajara University in 1999 and the Brazilian Associação Brasileira de Pesquisadores de História da Mídia (from 2008, its associated journals is Revista Brasileira de História da Mídia, founded in 2011) more work is already being done in the area.

The press in Latin America, begun in the 1720s by European colonists, mainly comprised newspapers until late in the nineteenth century, though there is the odd exception, such as the Diario literario de México (founded in 1768, its name recalling the Spanish Diario de los literatos de España of three decades earlier) and the equally short-lived El ilustrador mexicano (1823). Brazil had a literary magazine even earlier (As Variedades, 1812). During this period, almost all magazines in Latin America closed after a few issues: the Buenos Aires-based Cosmopolitan (1831-1833), an Anglophone magazine founded by an Englishman, was unusual in lasting over two years. Mention of this magazine reminds us that, just as  British or American publishing history has a vast array of non-Anglophone newspapers and magazines, it should not be thought that in Latin America all magazines were in  Spanish or Portuguese. Late in the century religious periodicals for English-speakers such as the Buenos Aires Scotch Church Magazine was started (1880-), followed by the Falklands Islands Magazine (1889-1933) founded by the Colonial Chaplain.

Magazines in general in Latin America began to take off in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, including modernist ones such as the well-known Mexican Revista azul (1894-1896), but it was only in the twentieth century that magazines, like newspapers, became truly widespread. Their success is especially visible in Brazil where O Cruzeiro (1928-1975), Senhor (1959-1964) and the news magazine Realidade (1966-1976) established circulations of hundreds of thousands. Popular pulp magazines after the American model had appeared in the 1930s at the same time that women’s magazines, sporadic in the nineteenth century and with restricted circulation, achieved longevity and wide readerships spanning the entire region: the Mexican La Familia, begin in 1930, was by the 1960s being published in 25 countries in Latin America and the Philippines, by which time there was a plethora of women’s titles. From the 1970s the globalisation of the market was increasingly evident, as international media conglomerates published local versions of their magazines, but counter to those, indigenous media companies such as the Mexican Publicaciones also thrived.

OVERVIEWS

Calderón, Carola García. 1987. Revistas femininas: La mujer como objeto de consumo. Mexico: Ediciones El Caballito. 3rd edition

Focussing on women’s magazines available in Mexico in the 1970s (and historical for that reason alone), the volume, whose first edition was published in 1980, is one of the earliest Marxist-feminist studies of the media in Latin America. It both analyses texts and examines ownership patterns in an engaging manner that in some ways anticipates Ballaster, Beetham, Frazer and Hebron (q.v.).

Godoy, Antonio Checa. 1993. Historia de la prensa en Iberoamerica. Seville: ediciones Alfar.

A comprehensive account of the press in Latin America from the Gazeta de México in 1722 to 1989. It is broken down into numerous short chapters mainly focussing on brief periods in different countries.  Magazines are referred to but the main thrust of the narrative concerns newspapers and their role in politics. Useful for understanding a general narrative of the press.

Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1963, 1964. Las Revistas literarias de México (2 volumes). Mexico City: Institituto Nacional de Bellas Artes

Two collections of 8 essays each derived from conferences held the previous years on Mexican literary magazines. The focus is on the relationship of magazines to modernism, though the first essay in volume 1, by Eduardo Enrique Ríos, offers a selective history of Mexican magazines conceived of as carriers of ideas.

Marshall, Oliver. 1996. The English-Language Press in Latin America. London. Institute of Latin American Studies.

A comprehensive dictionary of Anglophone magazines and newspapers from their beginnings in the mid nineteenth, comprising brief descriptions organised alphabetically under country

Palacio Montiel, Celia del. Ed. 2000. Historia de la prensa Iberoamericana. Guadelajara, Mexico: altexto.

36 essays and an Introduction cover mainly the history of the newspaper press and its relation to politics all over Latin America, though magazines are mentioned throughout. In addition there is a chapter on the nineteenth-century Mexican scientific press.

DATABASES

Publicaciones periódicas del Uriguay  http://www.periodicas.edu.uy/index.php

An elegantly designed database of magazines and newspapers starting with the Estrella del Sur/ The Southern Star, a bilingual newspaper in 1807 when Uruguay was under British control. It is still being added to (2015). By no means all numbers of the periodicals are available and the text has not been OCR’d, the search facility being limited to the categories given in the advanced search facility (“busquéda avanzada”), but this remains a remarkable achievement given the parlous state of survival of many magazines available here.

Red de Historiadores de la Prensa y el Periodismo en Iberoamérica  http://www.historiadoresdelaprensa.com.mx/index.shtml

The site for the Network of Press and Journalism Historians in Latin American houses various articles on the Latin American press by its members, including some on magazines (notably women’s). The database is not searchable and the user must scroll through the list of articles. These are available as pdfs or Word documents.

International History of Magazines 4: China and Japan

JAPAN AND CHINA

As one of the most literate countries in the world, Japan has a rich magazine history even if relatively short. That the newspaper and magazine are Western formats is well known, and yet as in other, mainly non-Anglophone, countries the distinction between the two is not always clear. Just two years after Japan was opened to the west in 1859, the Englishman Albert William Hansard began the Nagasaki Shipping List and Advertiser: this became the model for Japanese-language newspapers. The first magazine, which appeared in 1867, was the Seiyo-Zasshi, (“Western Magazine”) featuring articles translated from Dutch. Only six issues were published before it folded in 1869, but its influence is generally considered enormous, not least because it introduced the term “zasshi” into Japanese to mean  “magazine”.

The women’s magazine, initially targeting the wealthy (cf. the history of the women’s magazine in the west), arose in the early years of the twentieth century with Katei-no-Tomo (“The Family Companion”) in 1903. The Fujin Gahō, (“Ladies Pictorial”), first published in 1905 and still published (as of 2015), is significant not only for its aesthetic illustrations but also for its early use of photographs. The women’s magazine market proved lucrative: the Shufu-no-Tomo (“The Housewives’ Companion”), begun in 1916, enabled the founding of a publishing empire named after it (now a subsidiary of Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd). In the 1922 two newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun, began to publish weekly news magazines, the Shukan Asahi and the Sunday Mainichi, anticipating the miscellaneous news format of Time Magazine by a year. Despite these innovations, circulations were limited until the 1950s and the growth of consumerism. Women’s magazines were now launched into the mass rather than just restricted market, as did, a decade later, men’s magazines such as Shukan Playboy (1966 – ; not a regional version of the American Playboy). Since then, there has been a proliferation of magazines catering to a very wide range of target readerships. These are almost all produced by large media conglomerates.

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Although China had for centuries published a serial state organ (known in English as the Imperial Gazette), magazine publishing was introduced into China in the early nineteenth century by Christian missionaries. One of the earliest was the Chinese-language Chashisu Meiyue Tongjizhuan (“China Monthly Magazine”) started in 1815 by Robert Morrison and William Milne of the London Missionary Society. Around the same time, Anglophone and Portuguese missionary magazines appeared in South China and Southeast Asia. In the 1860s foreign-owned commercial newspapers in treaty ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai joined the missionary periodicals and provided the models for Chinese-owned publications. After Japan’s defeat of China in 1895, the government stepped up its internal print propaganda and restricted (when not stopped) circulation of papers critical of its policies. As a result many journalists turned away from politics and newspapers to mass entertainment and to magazines and hybrid magazine-newspapers called xiaobao (often defined as similar to Western “tabloids” mixing literary genres, news and fiction).

After the Communist Revolution of 1949 very few periodicals were allowed: the most important was Renmin Huabao (“The People’s Pictorial” 1950-), whose title characters were written by Mao Zedong himself, Jīn Zhōngguó (“China Today” 1949-), Dazhong dianying (“Popular Film” 1950-). In the late 1980s, magazine markets were opened and Chinese-language versions of Western women’s and men’s magazines, such as Elle, Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health, as well as versions of Japanese magazines, competed with local products. Currently (2015) magazines are again the site of a commercial battle for readers and advertising between foreign and domestic media conglomerates.

OVERVIEWS

Bennett, Adrian A. 1983 Missionary Journalist in China: Young J. Allen and his Magazines. Athens, Ga: University of Georgia Press

An early study of Chinese missionary magazines, this focuses on the figure of an American missionary. It offers a comprehensive description of his two Chinese-language magazines, the Chiao-hui hsin-pao (“Church Times” 1868-1874) and the Wan-kuo king-pao (“Chinese Globe Magazine”, 1874-1883), which the author claims to be the most important intellectual periodicals before the Sino-Japanese war.

Frederick Sarah. 2006 Turning Pages: Reading and Writing Women’s Magazines in Interwar Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press

Originating in a PhD dissertation at the University of Chicago, this is an accessible yet ground-breaking study of three mass-market Japanese women’s magazines between 1918 and 1940 that convincingly asks us to place these publications far closer to the centre of our understanding of Japanese modernity and literature than hitherto.

Minobu Shiozawa. 1994. Zasshi 100-nen no ayumi, 1874-1990 : jidai to tomoni tanjōshi seisuisuru nagare o yomu (“A Century of Magazines, 1874-1990: its birth, successes and failures”). Tōkyō: Gurīn Arō Shuppansha.

The standard history of Japanese magazines unfortunately not yet translated.

Mittler, Barbara. 2004. A Newspaper for China? Power, Identity and Change in Shanghai’s News Media, 1872-1924. Cambridge, Mass and London: Harvard University Asia Center

An outstanding study of a single publication which, even though it is of a newspaper, is very useful for the study of magazines in China as it devotes attention to the wider publishing context, including, in chapter 4, women’s magazines.

Reed, Christopher A. 2004. Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press

Although magazines are incidental to this richly-researched volume — it focuses on commercial book production rather than the periodical press — Reed’s work provides illuminating background information on how the Chinese print industry was a battleground for foreign and domestic ownership and thereby control of information dissemination and propaganda.

Shen, Shuang. 2009. Cosmopolitan Publics: Anglophone Print Culture in Semi-Colonial Shanghai. New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press

An intriguing study of “a culture of circulation” of English in China and also of the Chinese diaspora, this has a lot of interesting material on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Chinese and English-language magazines, though the focus is on the twentieth century. Two chapters focus on the China Critic (founded 1928) and on the T’ien Hsia (an English-language Shanghai monthly published 1935-1941), and two more on various international Anglophone magazines about China and on magazines related to the Chinese diaspora.

Wagner, Rudolph G. Ed. 2007 Joining the Global Public: Word, Image and City in Early Chinese Newspapers, 1870-1910. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press

Despite the title of this fascinating and well-researched volume , two chapters of the six (including the introduction) are devoted to magazines, one to the Dianshizhai huabao (Illustrated News from Dianshizhai, 1884-1898) and another to xiaobao (translated as “tabloids” but which recall general interest entertainment magazines).

Zhang, Xiantao. 2007. The Origins of the Modern Chinese Press. The Influence of the Protestant Missionary Press in late Qing China. Oxford: Routledge.

A readable and theoretically informed account of Chinese-language missionary journals with careful attention to their dialogue with local productions consisting of both their contemporaries in the nineteenth century and today’s journalistic practices. Not only concerned with discourse, one chapter describes the interesting impact of missionaries on Chinese print technology.

DATABASES

Magazineplus http://www.nichigai.co.jp/database/mag-plus.html

This vast database, the largest Japanese magazine database,  includes, unusually, trade and professional magazines as well as an ever expanding list of general interest, local and specialist magazines. Well over 27,000 titles have been indexed as of writing (2015).

Meiji Shinbun Zasshi Bunko http://www.meiji.j.u-tokyo.ac.jp/

A major database of newspapers and magazines at the University of Tokyo that is particularly useful. The library collections include 2,030 newspapers and 7,550 periodicals, in addition to original prints and earlier editions from the Meiji era.

Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator (CiNii)  http://ci.nii.ac.jp/info/en/cinii_outline.html

This database includes Japanese articles, books and periodicals, mostly but not exclusively from the natural sciences. Many articles are publicly available.

Shenbao database:   http://shenbao.uni-hd.de/Lasso/Shenbao/searchSimple.lasso

A rather clunky database of the contents of one of the longest lived and most successful of early Chinese newspapers, the Shenbao founded in 1871 by a British merchant, Ernest Major (1841-1908).

Chinese Women’s Magazines in the Late Qing and Early Republican Period: http://womag.uni-hd.de/index.php

An excellent database comprising fully searchable (in Roman characters) copies of four key women’s magazines published between 1904 and 1937: Nïzi shijie (Women’s World, 1904-7), Funü shibao (The Women’s Eastern Times 1911-17), Funü zashi (The Ladies Journal, 1915-1831) and Linglong (Elegance, 1931-1937)

Zasshi kiji sakuin shusei detabesu

Available through some institutions, this database indexes periodical articles published in Japanese from 1868 onwards, including those in former Japanese colonies and local periodicals. It also provides the capability to simultaneously search CiNii (q.v.). It is especially valuable for the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

International History of Magazines 3: Spain and Portugal

IBERIAN PENINSULA: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

There is no volume-length general history of Spanish of magazines beyond Sánchez Vigil (q.v.), most studies of the press focussing on newpapers. In the Spanish case, however, the instability between newspaper and magazine is especially notable: José Maria Carnereo’s Revista española (1831-1836), for instance, underwent not only several different changes of name and a merger but also frequency and content (weekly to daily, cultural commentary to politics). Such instability means that there is a good deal about what the present-day researcher may regard as “magazines” in what appear to be newspaper histories.

While the Spanish news press began around the same time as elsewhere in Europe (the best-known being the monthly Gaceta de Madrid, 1661-2), it did not spread due to rigorous press censorship. The non-news magazine arrived several decades later than in France or Britain, the first literary magazine being the Diario de los literatos de Espana (1737-1742) which modelled itself on the French Journal des Savants. The Spanish medical magazine, on the other hand, is preceded only by the French, the Semestre Médico Clínico appearing in 1750 (the earlier monthly Efemérides barométrico matritenses 1734-1747, was not only medical but meteorological as well). While the figure of Nipho (1719-1803) is mainly associated with newspapers, inspired by the English Spectator, he also founded magazines such as El Pensador (1762), which in turn led to the founding of the influential promoter of Enlightenment values El Censor (1781-1787).

After the concept of the freedom of the press was enshrined in Spanish law in 1810, the press expanded enormously, and literary magazines flourished in the 1820s. As in Italy, politicians actively used the press to pursue their careers and disseminate their ideas. Later in the century, some notable satiric periodicals were published, including the illustrated La Flaca (1869-1876) which appeared under various titles to avoid the revived censorship laws.

Press histories began to be written late: Manuel Chaves’s Historia y Bibliografia de la prensa sevillana did not appear until 1896. In the twentieth century until Franco’s dictatorship, and in marked contrast to Britain and North America, the most influential figures in journalism were not reporters but intellectuals, such as José Ortega y Gasset.

Portuguese magazine history has been even less mapped than Spanish, and as in Spain the distinction between newspaper and magazine is not always net. While the Gazeta de Lisboa (1715) may be regarded as first Portuguese (news) magazine, and, as in Spain, literary periodicals played an important role in eighteenth-century Portugal (even if they were often quickly suppressed), magazines only thrived (to the extent they did) after liberalisation of press censorship in the 1820s. The similarities of Portuguese magazine history to that of other countries can be misleading however. The profusely illustrated O Panorama (1837-1868) from the Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentis Uteis is, for example, unlike its British analogue the Penny Magazine, considered to be one of the major carriers of Portuguese romanticism. But even by 1892 W.T. Stead (q.v.) was suggesting that the Revista de Portugal  (1889-92) “appears to be almost, if not quite, the only Portuguese magazine of any standing” (p.64), a view of the comparative poverty of Portuguese magazine history supported by Portuguese magazine historians themselves ((Rocha, q.v. pp. 20-21).  The first history of the Portuguese press was Pereira’s O Jornalismo Portuguêz in 1896, after his monumental 12 volume Dicionário Jornalístico Português of the previous year.

In the twentieth century magazine development was hindered by the comparative isolation of Spain and Portugal caused by their dictatorships (Franco in Spain 1939-1975; Salazar in Portugal 1926-1968, followed by Caetano 1968-1974). These imposed strict press regulation and, until the 1960s, kept standards of living lower than in the rest of western Europe. Neither stopped the vigorous production of Little Magazines, however, as attested by Rocha and Pires (q.v.). Since the 1980s, the history of the Iberian magazine  has been much more commercially successful, as witnessed by the global success of the Spanish celebrity magazine ¡Hola! now published in over 100 countries.

REFERENCE TEXTS AND OVERVIEWS

Aparicio, Pedro Gomez. 1967 – 1981 Historia del periodismo español. 4 vols. Madrid: Editora Nacional.

Organised chronologically this is an impressive and still authoritative achievement, covering both newspaper and magazine history. The first volume traces the beginnings of the press in Spain to the 1868; volume 2 to the end of the nineteenth century;  volume 3 to 1923 and volume 4 to the Civil War. Each volume has helpful indexes covering, separately, relevant laws, periodicals, names of people.

Aranda J.J. Sanchez, and Carlos Barrera. 1992. Historia del periodismo español desde sus origenes hasta 1975. Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra

A serious study that offers a combined history of magazines and newspapers from their beginnings in Spain to 1975. A useful “Orientacion bibliografica” at the end offers a discursive selective bibliography of secondary sources up to the middle of the 1980s, but the precise sources of nuggets of information is rarely forthcoming.

Barrera, Carlos. 2000. El periodismo espanol en su historia. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel.

While there is a discursive history of journalism in Spain (both newspaper and magazine), most of this pedagogically useful little volume comprises extracts from the Spanish press itself concerning its own history. These are organised chronologically starting from the “Prólogo” to volume 5 of  the Diario de los Literatos de España in 1738 and finishing with an editorial from El Mundo from 1998.

Chorão, Luís Bigotte. 2002. O Periodismo jurídico português do século XIX. Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional-Case da Moeda

An unusual bibliographical study of the legal press in nineteenth-century Portugal, rightly claiming to break new ground in legal historiography after the multi-authored volume on the contemporary Portuguese legal press that had appeared in 1997 (La Revista Jurídica en la Cultura Contemporanea, Buenos Aries: Victor Tau Anzitegui). After methodological introduction and a chapter outlining the history of legal press in Portugal, most of the volume comprises descriptions of legal magazines organised chronologically. Indexes of contributors, magazines and an extensive bibliography complete the volume.

Pires, Daniel. 1996. Dicionário  da Imprensa Periódica Literarária Portuguesa do Século XX (1900-1940). Lisbon: Grifo

This reference text actually covers a longer period than the title suggests, and includes entries organised alphabetically on popular magazines such as O Ocidente (1878-1915) as well as little magazines. Further helpful elements include a chronology covering 1900-1940 of when each magazine mentioned is begun, indexes of where magazines were published and an index of names of people.

Rocha, Clara. 1985. Revistas Literárias do Século XX em Portugal. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.

An ambitious and impressive attempt to discuss over 200 magazines from 1900 to 1984 first from a sociological perspective and then from an intertextual (by picking up recurrent themes), this deserves to be more widely known for its methodologically rigorous procedures that are applicable to other kinds of magazines in other countries.

Schulte, H.F. The Spanish Press 1470-1966: Print, Power and Politics. Urbana, Chicago, London: University of Illinois Press, 1968

After 3 chapters discussing the history of press regulation under Franco, the rest of the volume follows a chronological narrative from the introduction of printing into Spain to the start of the Franco dictatorship. A brief final chapter speculates about the effect of the new press law in 1966. While the focus is most definitely on the press as the Fourth Estate, Schulte takes it for granted that magazines played as vital a role as newspapers. But it also means that magazines targetting women, children and fiction readers are not described.

Sousa, Jorge Pedro, Helena Lima, Antonio Hohlfeldt, Marialva Barbosa. A History of the Press in the Portuguese-Speaking Countries. Ramada, Portugal : Editora Media XXI, 2014.

The first book in English on the history of the press in Portuguese-speaking countries, and accordingly valuable, the first four chapters (almost 400 pages) cover the press in Portugal, the following three in Brazil, and the final two in Galicia and in Portuguese Colonies. The volume, excellent as it is as an entry point into the history of the press in Portugal, is unfortunately marred by poor production values and non-standard English.

Tengarrinha, José. 1989. História da Imprensa Periódica Portuguesa, 2nd revised and expanded edition. Lisbib: Caminho.

While focussing almost entirely on the newspaper press in Portugal (though magazines are mentioned, and there is some adversion to the Brazilian press), this remains useful for general background on the regulatory, social and technological background.

Vigil, Juan Miguel Sanchez. 2008. Revistas ilustradas en España: del Romanticismo a la guerra civil. Gijón Trea.

A valuable contribution to the history of illustrated magazines from 1830 to 1838, addressing issues (such as the definition of a magazine) that will be familiar to students of the magazine in the Anglo-American tradition. Much of the work is concerned to map the field through bibliographical description, including graphic artist contributors. There are full-colour reproductions illustrating the range of illustrated magazines.

DATABASES

ARCA: arxiu de Revistas Catalanes Antiques http://www.bnc.cat/digital/arca/index.php?fname=titols/carcajada.htm

Fully text-searchable open access digital facsimiles of (as of September 2015) 363 newspaper and magazines relevant to Catalonia (including material published abroad by Catalonian exiles), put online by the Biblioteca de Catalunya and the Consortium of Catalan University Libraries. The coverage is mainly from 1761 to 1939, though there is some material up to 2006. The interface is in Catalan and English.

Biblioteca Virtual de Prensa Histórica  http://prensahistorica.mcu.es/es/estaticos/contenido.cmd?pagina=estaticos%2Fpresentacion

A fully text-searchable database of almost 2000 historical Spanish newspapers and magazines starting with the 1777 La pensatriz salmantina and reaching 2013 (as of writing in 2015). The search interface is available in English and several Spanish dialects and languages.

Hemeroteca municipal de Lisboa  http://hemerotecadigital.cm-lisboa.pt/index.htm

Published by the Bibliotecas de Lisboa, this offers a different selection from of Portuguese newspapers and magazines in the public domain from Publicações Periódicas, including different issues of same publications and different publications. The text is not searchable.

Hemeroteca Digital. Biblioteca nacional de España  http://hemerotecadigital.bne.es/index.vm?lang=en

Text searchable database of currently 1065 historic Spanish newspapers and magazines in the National library of Spain. As with the Biblioteca Virtual de Prensa Histórica the interface is avialbel in English, Spanish and various Spanish dialects and languages.

Biblioteca nacional digital. Biblioteca nacional de Portugal : Publicações periódicas http://purl.pt/index/per/PT/index.html

A good deal of this collection is available only on the National Library of Portugal’s local network. From elsewhere one can download PDFs of individual numbers of around 300 historic periodicals, searchable only by title, which limits its usefulness unless one knows beforehand the content one is searching for, where and when.

International History of Magazines 2: Italy

ITALY

As in other European countries, magazine publication in Italy was begun in order to disseminate the ideas of elite groups, in the Italian case a process closely allied to the Catholic Church, at least initially. Unlike in France and Britain, there was no single capital city as, like Germany, Italy was divided up into many different states. For this reason magazines tended to be local productions.  In 1668 the quarterly Giornale de’ Letterati was launched by Francesco Nazzari, a professor of philosophy at La Sapienza University, Rome, and also president of the papal college concerned with propagation of the faith, De Propaganda Fide. Very soon other cities set up similar publications. The most activity took place in Venice where there was already a thriving print industry.

While as in the rest of Europe, elite magazines, including ladies’ fashion magazines inspired by French models, were being published in the eighteenth century, the mass-market press took off later than elsewhere largely due to restrictions on the market caused by Italy’s fragmentation into different states, and by low literacy rates. There was huge variation in density of readership: Ottino (1875, p. 11) noted that in 1864 the vast majority of newspapers and magazines were published and circulated in the North East quadrant of Torino, Milano, Firenze and Genova. Undertakings such as Sonzogno’s sumptuous and loss-making L’Illustrazione Universale (1864-1867) and its cheaper and much more popular analogue the Emporio pittoresco (1864-1889) were risky, and only after unification in 1871 did the markets begin to open to magazines in a sustained way, the most successful magazine being Treves’ L’Illustrazione italiana (1875-1962).  Magazines such as the Nuova Antologia (1865-) and the Rassegna nazionale (1879-1952) became influential in seeking to promote the idea of a single Italy, and politicians such as Bonghi steered their contents to suit their policies. The magazine press was never as rich and diverse as in Germany, France, Britain or the USA, not least because until the twentieth century literacy rates and standards of living were comparatively low. Only in the twentieth century did the history of Italian periodicals become more similar to that of the rest of Europe, its family-run businesses gradually undergoing a series of mergers until they were absorbed into huge media conglomerates.

Even less than in France, Germany and Britain, little attention has been paid to the national history of magazines. As so often, the researcher needs to glean what she can from surveys of the national press as a whole. These, as in the rest of Europe, began to appear in the mid nineteenth century (see Ottino below), and in 1894 Piccioni’s ground breaking Giornalismo Letterario appeared (q.v.). But it was only with Castronuovo and Tranfaglia’s work from the 1970s (q.v.) that sustained academic work on press history began. As in other European countries, press directories have been compiled since the nineteenth century: the earliest is probably the Elenco dei giornali che si pubblicano nel Regno d’Italia (Torino-Firenze-Venezia: Bocca-Loescher-Munster). It is undated but the preface declares that it was compiled as a result of the unification of Italy and clues date it almost certainly to 1869. Alternatively, one may turn to  studies of publishing history more broadly, though as late as the 1990s it was possible for Turi (q.v.) to lament the scarcity of more than antiquarian or local studies. Of particular interest for Italian scholars of the press have been early literary magazines (and the literary magazine in general) and the Fascist period. A good deal of work remains to be done on the nineteenth-century magazine, including the trade and professional periodicals which Ottino listed in considerable numbers.

OVERVIEWS

Bertacchini, Renato. 1980. Le riviste del novecento. Introduzione e guida allo studio dei periodici italiani: Storia, Ideologia e Cultura. Firenze: Le Monnier

This useful guide to literary magazines from 1880 to the early 1970s is organised chronologically and offers descriptions of individual publications (some prioritised over others very markedly) along with background context, and bibliographies. There is almost nothing on production history, the focus being on the ideological role of the magazines.

Castronovo, Valerio and Nicola Tranfaglia. Eds. 1976-2002, Storia della stampa italiana, Roma-Bari: Laterza, 10 vols.

The starting point for any detailed historical study of the Italian press must be Castronuovo’s epic project that traces its  history from its beginnings to 2000. Magazines appear repeatedly in this account, but the main focus is on the newspaper press and politics.

Franchini, Silvia. 2002. Editori, lettrici e stampa di moda: giornali di moda e di famiglia a Milano dal Corriere delle dame agli editori dell’Italia unita. Milano: FrancoAngeli [sic]

A readable and well-researched illustrated history of women’s magazines from 1804 to 1870 using a materialist methodology in the Anglo-American tradition. The extensive bibliography, and the methodological introduction, are useful for the historical study of Italian magazines in general.

Hallamore Caesar, Ann, Gabriella Romani, Jennifer Burns. eds. 2011. The Printed Media in Fin-de-siècle Italy. Publishers, Writers and Readers. Oxford. Legenda.

While not all the essays in this collection focus on magazines, several highlight the importance of (especially) high culture, avant-garde magazines, such as the Florentine Il Regno, La Voce, Lacerba and the more famous Futurist Poesia.

Mondello, Elisabetta. Gli anni delle riviste. Le riviste letterarie dal 1945 agli ammi ottanta. Lecce: Millella.

A useful volume, similar in format to those produced by the Greenwood Press. It offers a substantial discursive introductory history followed by descriptive accounts of 172 literary magazines organised alphabetically. Despite the chronological constraints suggested by the title, there are descriptions of magazines from earlier in the century as well.

Mondello, Elisabetta. 2912. L’Avventura delle riviste: Periodicai e giornali letterari del Novecento. Roma: edizioni Robin

While seeming to trace again the work of Bertacchini (q.v.) Mondello offers a newer view by highlighting the role of periodicals directed at women. The volume concentrates on the first half of the century, the remaining 50 years comprised into one relatively brief final chapter (cf Mondello, 1985, q.v) . Again the approach is on ideology rather than on data concerning material production or dissemination.

Ottino, Giuseppe. 1875. La stampa periodica, il commercio dei libri e la tipografia in Italia, Milano, Libreria-Editrice Brigola.

Organised around a list of magazines and newspapers with much the same information as in a contemporary British press directory, this also contains two useful essays on the history and current state of the Italian periodical press, along with a bibliography of relevant works organised by place. The project to map the current condition of the Italian press was originally commissioned by the Associazione tipografica-libreria italiana in 1870.

Piccioni, Luigi. 1894. Il Giornalismo letterario in Italia: Saggio storico-critico. Torino-Roma: Ermanno Loescher

Surprisingly, given its date, this is an accessible place to start a study of early Italian magazines, with useful indexes and bibliographies and brief accounts of a large number of magazines (which, of course, needs to be checked against more recent studies). Projected as the first of a multivolume series, the others never appeared.  Piccioni, however, went on to become one of the most authoritative writers on Italian journalism history, on which he published mainly journal articles.

Turi, Gabriele. ed 1997 Storia dell’editoria nell’Italia contemporanea. Milano: Giunti editore

Inspired by Chartier and Martin’s Histoire de l‘édition française, this is an ambitious multi-authored book that covers Italy’s publishing history from its beginnings to the 1990s in a series of essays. Magazines are often mentioned though the index will need to be used to find specific titles.

DATABASES

Biblioteca Digitale Toscana http://159.213.233.182/TecaRicerca/home.jsp

A clunky database containing 65 magazines and newspapers from various Tuscan libraries. It is not full-text searchable, the searches being restricted to titles and (some) authors. Users need to know in advance of searching the date of what they are looking for and also in what periodical. Searches bring the user to folders organised by year and then date. The user can then download individual issues one by one.

Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze, di Roma http://www.bncf.firenze.sbn.it/pagina.php?id=47&rigamenu=Periodici; http://www.bncrm.librari.beniculturali.it/index.php?it/32/biblioteca-digitale

The library site claims to have digitised millions of pages since the 1980s, with especial attention to periodicals but most are currently (September 2015) unavailable because of the reorganisation of the site. The Italian National Library of Rome likewise () promises the imminent appearance of digitised periodicals but nothing is yet available.

CIRCE: Catalogo Informatico Riviste Culturali Europee. http://circe.lett.unitn.it/main_page.html

CIRCE is a database of European “cultural magazines” set up and maintained by staff at the University of Trento. It does not offer digital facsimiles as yet so much as descriptions and content indexes of literary, musical and artistic magazines.

International Bibliography for the Study of Magazines: France

Recently I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to do transnational comparative research on periodicals, so I’ve started to compile a series of guides to the study of magazines in various countries. Since they’ll all be in one place, it should be easier the follow up lines of enquiry across countries. I have to say I have found the enterprise really fascinating!

Here’s the first, on French Periodicals.

France, along with Britain and Germany, is one of the points of origin of the magazine form and the history of French magazines runs in parallel and dialogue with its two neighbours. It is distinct, however, in its early phase by its centralisation, domination by just three titles and its generally literary orientation: the learned Journal des Savants (1665-), the literary and more gossipy Mercure galant (1672-1825; Mercure de France after 1724) and the (eventually) government-controlled news magazine the Gazette (de France) (1631-1915). In the eighteenth century, the press began to diversify: the Recueil périodique d’observations de médecine, de chirurgie et de pharmacie (1754-1793 ) is the first medical magazine, Courier de la Mode ou Journal du gout (1768-770) was the first women’s magazine and so on. In the nineteenth century French women’s and satirical magazines like Le Moniteur de la mode (1843-1913)  and Le Charivari (1832-1937) especially were global inspirations, though literary journals like the Revue des deux Mondes (1829-) were also extremely influential. The “Golden Age” of magazines is generally considered to occur between the Paris Commune and the First World War (1871-1914), when illustrated news magazines such as the Petit Journal (1863-1944) attained circulations of over a million.  Histories of the French press emerged at the same time as in Britain, in the mid-nineteenth century. Hatin’s Histoire politique et littéraire de la presse en France of 1859 is deservedly famous, but it also signals the course of French press historiography even more than its British analogues by focussing on newspapers and high-status literary magazines: the sustained history of popular French magazine has had to wait to be written until the late twentieth century.

 

REFERENCE

Devreux, Lise and Philippe Mezzasalma, eds. 2011. Des sources pour l’histoire de la presse: guide. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale

An authoritative guide to the press holdings of the Bibliothèque Nationale from its earliest journals to the electronic magazines of today, it covers the laws, economy and technology of the (mainly newspaper) press in detail. Of especial value is the very extensive bibliography. Magazine history is much more prominent than in Bellanger (q.v.).

Place, Jean-Michel, and André Vasseur. Bibliographie des revues et journaux littéraires des XIXe et XXe Siècles. 3 vols. Paris: J.M. Place, 1973–77.

Place and Vasseur’s valuable bibliography covers the years 1840–1930 for a select number of both famous and lesser-known French literary periodicals, with facsimiles of cover pages, an introduction to each journal, and full bibliographic descriptions, which include information about the editors, contributors, and physical characteristics of each periodical, along with a table of contents for each issue. It also includes an invaluable index of names.

OVERVIEWS OF PERIODS, GENRES, PLACES

Albert, Pierre. 1970. Histoire de la Presse. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France

This small volume, one of the popular Que-sais-je? series, is useful as a starting point for a press history of France compared with (mainly) England and Germany (the USA has a few pages devoted to it). Though magazines figure hardly at all, and there is little detail, the volume has the virtue of summarising the overarching conditions of the press within which magazines operated.

Bellanger, Claude, Jacques Godechot, Pierre Guiral and Fernand Terrou, eds. 1969. Histoire générale de la presse française. 5 vols. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

The standard history of the French press from its beginning to the 1960s. A monumental undertaking, these volumes all freely mix newspapers and magazines, though the stress is on politics and newspapers. While attention is certainly given to technology, circulation and genre, an emphasis characteristic of French press history, is on the development of press law.

Eveno, Patrick. 2012. Histoire de la presse française de Théophraste Renaudot à la revolution numérique. Paris: Flammarion.

A lavishly illustrated volume, this popular history of the French press from its beginnings with Renaudot’s Gazette in 1631 offers a surprising amount of illuminating material. Most of the volume is spent on the late nineteenth and twentieth century press. Magazines play a part in the narrative, but the main utility of the volume is for high-quality background information.

Forsdick, Charles and Andy Stafford, eds. 2013. La Revue: the Twentieth-Century Periodical in French. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien Peter Lang.

Acknowledging the dearth of studies of French magazines as magazines, this collection seeks to remedy that with 19 essays, mostly in English but some in French, centred on individual, mainly niche, magazines. Notably, there is a chapter on the history of French-language magazines in Mauritius.

Kalifa, Dominique, Phillipe Régnier, Marie-Ève Thérenty, Allain Vallant, eds. 2011. La Civilisation du journal: Histoire culturelle et littéraire de la presse française au XIXe siècle. Paris: Nouveau Monde.

At almost 1800 pages and with 116 essays (many like long encyclopedia entries) by 60 contributors, this volume is to the study of French periodicals what the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (q.v.) aspired to do for British: push periodical writing to the forefront of nineteenth-century studies. While it is not restricted to magazines, magazines play a very large role here. This is certainly the obvious place to start for a study of the nineteenth-century French magazine, though the emphasis is decidedly literary rather than technological or economic.

Mesche, Rachel. 2013. Having it all in the Belle Epoque: How French Magazines invented the Modern Woman. Stanford, CA: Stanfird University Press.

Despite the sensationalist title, this is a well-researched study of the dialogue between magazines, literary production and feminism, focussing on two photographic magazines aimed at women La Vie Heureuse (The Happy Life, 1902-1917) and Femina (1901-1954)

DATABASES

Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France (BBF), http://bbf.enssib.fr.

The Bulletin provides much useful information on new bibliographies, digital projects, and academic articles about bibliographic issue. The site includes the entire back catalogue of the BBF revue since its beginnings in 1956.

Dictionnaire des journaux 1600-1789 and Dictionnaire des journalistes 1600-1789 http://dictionnaire-journaux.gazettes18e.fr/ and http://dictionnaire-journalistes.gazettes18e.fr/

Two related open-access reference sources, the equivalent of the pay-walled Waterloo Indexes to nineteenth-century British and Irish periodicals, these are updates of paper versions published first in 1974 and subsequently. Links to digital facsimiles are provided where these exist, and there are extremely useful and informative welcome pages outlining the scope of the Dictionnaires. This is an essential resource for the study of early magazines in France.

Gallica, http://gallica.bnf.fr

A massive, user-friendly open-access digitization project sponsored by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Gallica includes many periodicals. Usefully, it links up to other digital holdings, such as the Bibliothèque numérique de Roubaix (an online local history archive), and provides brief background information on individual daily newspapers as well as periodical and press history.

Système universitaire de documentation (SUDOC)   http://www.sudoc.abes.fr

SUDOC is the online union catalogue of French university libraries. It includes Myriade, a union catalogue of 250,000 periodical titles in French libraries and archive centres, including 2,000 non-university institutions, such as municipal libraries. Not digitized it is invaluable as a finding aid.

Journaux de la Revolution de 1848

This database, available as part of Gale Cengage’s (q.v.) Archives Unbound, and thus available only to subscribing institutions, offers fully text searchable facsimiles of newspaper and magazine titles published in France 1848-1852.

Persée. http://www.persee.fr/

An open-access site, this offers text-searchable access to over 170 collections comprising some 530,000 documents, including facsimiles of numerous learned journals in French such as the Journal des Savants (from 1910 to today) . The earliest material dates from 1840, though the main focus is on twentieth and twenty-first century materials..

 

Matrimonial Ads in the Victorian Press: Fantasy, Imagination, Story, Life

“Honest, Thick-Skinned Advertisements for Goods”?

The London Journal 5 March 1853
The beautiful heroine: The Will and the Way by J.F. Smith in The London Journal 5 March 1853

W.D. a tall, dark, young man, with £200 per annum, derived from an investment in the funds, would like to have a fair-complexioned young wife; he has just returned from Italy, but does not admire the dark beauties of that land of poetry and song.

MARIA C., of Wavertree, who resides with a cross old aunt, is desirous to join her fate with that of a medical man; she wants a comfortable domestic home; she is a good housekeeper, and not afraid of labour, having kept her late father’s house without a servant; she is not a child but “fat, fair and forty” with a fine complexion, splendid and perfect set of teeth, also beautiful hands and small feet. She has £64-a year now, and will have £500 on the death of her aged aunt.

(both from “Notices to Correspondence,” The London Journal, 5 March 1853, p. 416)

2015-05-21 15.23.58Who of us hasn’t, if we’re honest, scanned what not so long ago were the “Personals” in newspapers? I certainly used to and no doubt would today if I happened to come across them  (now you have to make an effort by going to specialised websites – the pleasures of chance encounters in the press are altogether rarer). Weren’t the personals wonderful invitations to fantasy? What would X be like? Would I like them? Would they like me? Are they like me? What a funny ad! – what kind of person would answer that? etc etc

If the above two quotations from the penny fiction weekly London Journal are anything to go by,  it seems the fantasies of Victorians were rather different from ours. They assume marriage is less about romantic love or sex than comfortable domestic arrangements. The fantasy concerns a better life obtained through the synergistic pooling of resources, whether those resources be money,  labour, or looks. W.D.’s main selling points are his £200 a year and – perhaps for some – commitment to his home country; Maria C. supplements her offer of £64 a year with the prospect of an additional £500, commitment to hard work, experience of managing a household – and, her father being dead, no interfering relatives (remember Lady Audley’s sponging father?).

To read them like that is to read them as  “honest, thick-skinned advertisements for goods” as the Spectator put it in a review of the later (and very successful) magazine entirely devoted to matrimonial ads, the Matrimonial News (1870-1895).

Of course, one can easily weave stories about these two — though, even if imaginary,  I hesitate to call them fantasies.

Perhaps W.D. was on the rebound, jilted by an Italian beauty he had encountered in Florence,  Venice or Naples. £200 is a fair amount to to live on but not enough to keep a carriage or horses: why doesn’t he declare other possibilities of income such as training for the law? He’s probably feckless and superficial, a Shallow Hal who only wants a blonde. Or perhaps he is an Artist who lives only for Beauty. Ah! Now there’s an idea for a novel plot! Ouida might well have used it (except that in 1853 she was only 14 and had six years to go before her first tale was published). Still, one thinks of Folle Farine in 1871 (not one of Ouida’s sunniest – W.D. in this novel would be a heartless monster!)

As for Maria C. from  Wavertree – why does she want a medical man? Is she ill? £64 a year and £500 on the death of an aunt, a father with no servants, based in a Liverpool suburb — not a promising social or financial additional asset for a physician. Despite her fair hair, in no substantive sense is she Rosamond Vincey in George Eliot’s Middlemarch!  But maybe a surgeon would find Maria useful, for surgeons in the 1850s, although they were fighting for status,  were still associated with trade. Or perhaps an apothecary would do? Interestingly, I can’t think of a novel plot in which Maria C.’s story might have appeared in this period. One can imagine a naturalist novel by Gissing where her story could be told, but in the early 1850s the heroines were young and beautiful. A Punch cartoon might feature her as a harridan man-chaser, Dickens might parody her in Pickwick Papers as Rachael Wardle or Mrs Bardell, but Maria C. is just not narratable in fiction of this period, at least not in a way which would give her a decent interior life. She has no voice in print other than what she herself gives it – a remarkable achievement on her part.

Notices to Correspondents page, The London Journal 5 March 1853
Notices to Correspondents page, The London Journal 5 March 1853

I’ve recently been reading Jennifer Phegley’s very entertaining Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England (2011) and (not for the first time) was struck by the imaginative possibilities of these ads that she discusses so well (click here for a fun lecture by by Jennifer delivered in Kansas in February 2012)

While the ads don’t seem to link directly to novels of the period, it’s interesting   that it seems a reflex for us to decode them –  extend them  – flesh them out – by trying (and perhaps failing) to link them to such novels.

I’m reminded of Lisa Zunshine’s contention in Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel that however we may be trained in academia to treat texts as dead objects, we keep wanting to animate them by ascribing to them a spirit, an identity, a personhood of which they are symptoms. And isn’t  trying to connect the matrimonial ads to novels in some curious way a bizarre instance of that, as if the novels were more alive than the ad? We don’t know W.D.’s or Maria C’s real stories, so we have to turn in a really bizarre way to something we consider the next best thing: the Victorian novel.

This is a far cry from the fantasies inspired by the personals of the late twentieth century: they prompt a different set of questions and today offer different, retrospective solutions, that, however imaginary, are, well, not fantasies so much as wishes that dead words on paper or screen that bore little or no relation to the material lives of real people might, perhaps once, have been the stories and memories instinct with life and breath.

For a light-hearted little video on matrimonial ads from the BBC, see my discussion with the wonderful Lucy Worseley here.

The Army Surgeon – some comments

“The Army Surgeon”

Sydney Dobell

Over that breathing[1] waste of friends and foes,[2]

The wounded and the dying, hour by hour,-

In will a thousand, yet but one in power [3] ,-

He [3] labours thro’ the red and groaning day.

The fearful moorland where the myriads lay

Moved as a moving field of mangled worms. [4]

And as a raw brood, orphaned in the storms,

Thrust up their heads if the wind bend a spray

Above them, but when the bare branch performs

No sweet parental office, sink away

With hopeless chirp of woe, so as he goes

Around his feet in clamorous agony

They rise and fall;[5] and all the seething plain

Bubbles a cauldron vast of many-coloured pain.[6]


[1] This immediate emphasis on breath not only suggests breath as a theme but as a corporeal sensation for the reader – for the poem itself offers various challenges to the reader’s control of her or his own breath: it starts with pretty regular rhythm (iambic pentameter), but especially during the epic simile from line 7 onwards, the convoluted syntax spreading over clever enjambements and caesuras strains the reader’s own breathing as well as the rhythm.

[2] The rhyme scheme gives the impression of being broken, befitting the damaged bodies the poem describes. As with the rhythm, the syntax fights the rhyme scheme, making it difficult to discern. When split into two sestets the scheme seems less awry — abbccd, d[eye rhyme]cdcac [pseudo rhyme], ee — but the rhythms, especially the strong pause at the end of line 4 and the recall of that line’s rhyme at line 8 suggest a tough yet ghostly tension with an organisation of the poem into the more traditional 3 quatrains which is never realised.

[3] Death and its proximity unite all into one undifferentiated nameless mass. This is a particular example of the sublime, as defined by Edmund Burke. Today we might be tempted to regard the use of the sublime here not for aesthetic purposes but for political — in describing and enacting the horrors of war, we might assume the poem is against war. However, other readings are certainly possible: quite what the poem’s politics are depends on how we read the poem. Read in isolation, it is true that its violent sensationalism seems to oppose war. Yet when read as an element of  the whole collection it might be regarded as indicating the depth of sacrifice necessary to make Britain Great. This latter was a reading of the collection certainly made at the time by critics and newspaper editors.

[3] The final line of the first stanza introduces the single character into the undifferentiated mass of humanity. Both are unnamed: neither the mass nor the surgeon are individuals, but effects of their jobs. We might also regard the surgeon as the poet who surveys and dispassionately reports. Given the emphasis of the poem on painful suffering this might be a surprising suggestion, yet we should not forget the sheer skill of the poet’s pen here mirroring the surgeon’s own expertise with the scalpel. In neither case can professional knowledge alleviate suffering (see also below, note [5]). What the poet can do, however, is in a curious way comfort readers by reminding them that, like the surgeon, both he and they have survived. This is quite consonant with the Burkean understanding of the sublime, which was based on the perceiving subject’s realisation that he or she had survived death even though death had been encountered.

[4] The fallen seem already to have become prey to being eaten by worms: time, in this case the future and the present, has been collapsed in ways typical of the sublime. Simultaneously, a point is being made about the unity of living creation, a notion reinforced by the following comparison of the wounded to chicks desperate to be with their mother who will never come, and the surgeon to the tree branch which the chicks believe to be her but which cannot, by its nature, help them. We are all mortal animals dependent on the rhythms and failures of breath.

[5] The suggestion is of a wave – a rhythm – that rises and falls uselessly. The surgeon can do nothing for the dying. Here is the limit of the professional’s ever-increasing pastoral role caring for his flock (cf. King para 31). Scientific rationality cannot have a purchase here: the only language adequate for such suffering is that of flesh itself – the body and its breath, fragile, easily interruptible: in short, corporeal sensation, the spasmodic. This is not representation so much as presentation that produces in the reader the same sensations felt by the described.

[6] The last line shockingly introduces the language of the kitchen, suggesting a parti-coloured stew of boiled meats and vegetables seen from the point of view of the meat rather than the cook (whether the reference is to a witches brew leads to the same conclusion). Suddenly in this line we are presented with a space  where damaging flesh, even if not human, is the norm. This normalisation and naturalisation of suffering, legible in the epic simile too, confirms a preoccupation for how suffering is to be represented (or presented) rather than politically or ethically dealt with. Death is natural and normal, however painful and horrific, and it is the poet’s duty to communicate it. How to communicate death and dying is both the “scientific” and aesthetic point of the poem. Whether the suffering is to be valorised or condemned – that is, read politically and ethically – is, however, for the reader to decide, at least in this poem.


Publication and Reception Note

the army surgeon sonnets on the war 1855 title page

sonnets on the war 1855 title page

Sydney Dobell’s sonnet “The Army Surgeon” was originally published in Sonnets on the War, a joint collection with Dobell’s friend Alexander Smith that is now freely available or archive.org.

No manuscript source seems to have survived (see National Archives entry on Dobell). The one contemporary reprinting (see below) offers no variation of the text. While Dobell used only ‘the Author of “Baldur” and “The Roman”‘ on the title page, contemporary reviews show that his name and identity were already well known.

Frontispiece from 1856 edition

Smith and Dobell’s slim volume (of just 48 pages) was published in the first days of January 1855 by Bogue of Fleet Street as a shilling paperback (we can date the publication from a reference to it in a letter from Dobell to one of his sisters dated 5 January in which he says he hopes to send her a copy the next day – Life and Letters of Sydney Dobell, p. 396). Presumably Smith and Dobell’s usual publisher, Smith, Elder and Co (who published Dobell’s later and more expensive hardback collection England in Time of War) was unable to insert publication of the volume into their schedules, whereas the lower-status Bogue was more flexible. The poem was republished without emendment in The Poetical Works of Sydney Dobell (2 vols, Smith, elder & Co, 1875)  on p. 226, where Dobell’s contribution to “Sonnets on the War” are precipitated out from that volume, enabling us to distinguish them from Smith’s. The Poetical Works of Sydney Dobell is also available through archive.org.

Although “The Army Surgeon” can certainly be read as a self-standing commentary on (or description or enactment of) generic horrors of war, it in fact forms part of a narrative sequence that very firmly locks the poem into its historical context. The borders of this particular sequence are porous since the entire volume begs to be read as a whole, but one can see a distinct set of poems centred on the Battle of the Alma (20 September 1854, generally considered the first major battle of the Crimean War), comprising the sonnet “Alma” that immediately precedes “The Army Surgeon”, and the following three, two entitled “Wounded” and the last “After Alma”. Dobell only wrote “The Army Surgeon” amd the two “Wounded” poems but the arrangement of the pages certainly asks the reader to think of the Surgeon at the Alma.

Even though I have been unable to locate specific examples in newspapers before the collection appeared, I nonetheless think it helpful to regard the collection as comprising a specific type of what Natalie Houston has called the “newspaper poem,” that is, occasional poetry responding to or commenting on contemporary events reported in the press. The most famous Victorian example of this is Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”  first published in The Examiner on 9 December 1854 in response to a Times article.

Andrew Hobbs has persuasively argued that the provinciual press was a major locus of poetry publishing in the nineteenth century,  and poems from “Sonnets on the War” is no exception. But rather than reprint all of them equally, there is a decided preference by newspapers for some over others. “The Army Surgeon” was not amongst those favoured at the time, perhaps because its imagery was too strong or its sentence structure and long and tortured central metaphor were considered too difficult.  The Aberdeen Journal (10 January 1855, p. 6) reprinted six sonnets: “Alma”, “After Alma”, the two sonnets on “The Cavalry Charge”, “Miss Nightingale” and “Cheer.” This is a selection that offers a reassuring narrative arc and avoids too much horror. The first three are reprinted again by  The Blackburn Standard on 7 February (p. 4) along with “Sebastopol” with a similar effect.

The politically more radical Lloyd’s Weekly, full of praise for the collection (14 January 1855, p.8), offers a different selection. Starting with “Alma” again, it continues with the second “Wounded” poem (a startling choice given the poem’s poetically very new technique of assembling fragments of everyday speech and follows it with “America”, “Freedom” and “Volunteers”. Again, however, despite a selection emphasising the politically and aestehtically radical, the arc remains comforting: for even if poetic novelty is admitted in Lloyd’s pages, the most shocking, visceral poems are omitted.

The volume was greeted with a mixed reception at the time. The lengthy review in the Inverness Courier (1 February 1855, p. 2), the only contemporary newspaper where I have found “The Army Surgeon” reprinted, regarded the collection’s level as of “respectable mediocrity.” But it did praise the the poets for “producing work on a practical subject, which, if its poetry is not of a very high order, contains nothing visionary, absurd or impracticable”. It singles out “The Army Surgeon” as one of the best according to these criteria. The review of the collection in The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (5 May 1855) is likewise very lukewarm. Its principle bone of contention is that the sonnets are not musical: “In the hands of of a master the sonnet gives exquisite music;but strung by a tyro the sounds will be discordant.”  Ironically, of course, it is precisely the violence the authors of “Sonnets on the War” do to the traditional expectations of the sonnet that today constitutes one of the collection’s main interests. The review ends  by reprinting two of the more conservative poems (both ideologically and formally): “Miss Nightingale” and “Good Night” which they assume to have been written by Smith and Dobell respectively. It thus rescues the collection for patriotism just as the other newspapers had done.

Interestingly the London Lancet (the American edition of the British medical journal Lancet)- which reprinted the poem in 1856 – uses the isolated poem as an example of “all the heroism and self-denying devotion of which we have spoken” (p. 222), suggesting not only a reading of the individual poem through the lens of the self-abnegating professional (cf. King para 34) but also a reading of “The Army Surgeon” through other poems in the volume. Whatever our own views, this is a reading made possible by the poets’ interest in the problems of communication rather than in the politics of the described action.

That said, when the poem became detached from its collection, the alternative anti-war reading became more easily available. This is certainly possible for example in the New Zealand Herald (10 February 1917, p. 1).

The context of the poem in the Crimean War and has been well covered elsewhere: Kathleen Béres Rogers “Embodied Sympathy and Divine Detachment in Crimean War Medical Poetry” is recommended as offering an attentive reading of the poem which places “The Army Surgeon” in a slightly different context from what I have offered here.

Illustrated London News double page spread Battle of the Alma, 14 October 1854
Illustrated London News double page spread Battle of the Alma, 14 October 1854

Ouida A Dog of Flanders/ Nello e Patrasche

Ouida, “A Dog of Flanders” (1872)/ Nello e Patrasche (1880)

 editions in English and Italian

1893 Giftbook edition of "A Dog of Flanders", Lippincott's (USA)
1893 Giftbook edition of “A Dog of Flanders”, Lippincott’s (USA)

English edition: A Dog of Flanders edited by Andrew King

Italian translation (large file – be patient): nello e patrasche trans T Cibeo Treves 1880

“A Dog of Flanders: a Story of Noel” was originally written as a Christmas tale for the American Lippincott’s Magazine, where it appeared in volume 9, January 1872, pp.79-98.

Later that year it was published in London, Philadelphia and (again in English) in Leipzig as part of a collection of short stories given various titles but which was (in textual terms) virtually the same: A Dog of Flanders and Other Stories (London: Chapman & Hall) with illustrations by Enrico Mazzanti; A Leaf in the Storm, and Other Stories (Philadelphia: Lippincott); A Leaf in the Storm; A Dog of Flanders; and other stories (Leipzig: Tauchnitz).

In 1873 there was a pirated Australian edition – and soon a flood of translations (some pirated and some not) in various languages. Beyond the usual French and German, there were also Russian, Polish, Finnish, and eventually Japanese, Korean and – surprisingly perhaps given its specifically Christian setting – Yiddish, as well as an enormous number of pirated American editions in English. There are at least 11 film and TV versions (the 1999 film can be found in its entirety here ) plus a documentary made in 2007 on the story’s incredible popularity still in Japan.

There was of course an Italian translation (called “Nello e Patrasche”).  It came out in 1880 with the Milanese publisher Fratelli Treves, with whom Ouida published translations of several of her novels as well as collections of stories.  “A Dog of Flanders” was, however, a makeweight in a volume whose principal part – and the only one mentioned on the title page – was Zola’s short novel / long short story “Nantas” (1878). Besides “Nantas” (pages 5- 177), the volume in fact also contained “Storia d’amor sincero” by Dickens (pages 181-196; actually an extract from chapter 17 of Pickwick Papers – the tale of Nathaniel Pipkin); “Nello e Patrasche” (pages 199-238); “Una Strage in Oriente” (pages 241-313) by the Russian journalist and traveller Lidia Paschkoff (or Lydia Pashkoff and other variant spellings in Roman script).

I’ve made an uncorrected PDF of Nello e Patrasche taken directly from this out of copyright edition. It is a very large file as it comprises images of the pages. It you missed it at the top of the page, here it is again:  nello e patrasche trans T Cibeo Treves 1880

"A Dog of Flanders" in 1906 Roycrofters edition - it's covered in suede and very tactile --like the fur of a dog!
“A Dog of Flanders” in 1906 Roycrofters edition – it’s covered in suede and very tactile –like the fur of a dog!

This translation is significantly different from the English not in its plot (though a significant name is changed) but in its lack of interest in sound and rhythm. Several descriptive passages are simplified it seems to me, which is strange as these were one of the key things Ouida was most appreciated for in Italy as elsewhere. This is how “Memini,” the translator of some of Ouida’s short stories as Affreschi ed altri racconti (Milano: Treves, 1888), described her powers of painting the Italian landscape in words:

I suoi paesaggi sono mirabili illustrazioni descrittive; alcune pagine… raggiungono la perfezione del genere e ci obbligano all dolorosa confessione della nostra inferiorità nello studio e nella descrizione letteraria del nostro paesaggio… (pp. xvi-xvii of the “Appunti critici”)

Why therefore did “T. Cibeo”, the translator of “A Dog of Flanders,” choose not to try to aim for similar effects in Italian? Why too is the title changed from a representative animal to the names of the two main characters? It’s a quite common title change in translations of this tale – try searching for “Nello e Patrasche” online – but we must ask what the implications of such a change might be.

And then there’s another curious thing. “Nello e Patrasche” was not reprinted in Italian so often as other Ouida stories. Her children’s story “La stufa di Norimberga” (“The Nurnberg Stove”) is very easy to find, for example, and has been translated several times, whereas the 1880 translation of “Nello e Patrasche,” buried in a  volume whose main attraction was Zola and not even mentioned on the title page, was the only one I could locate really to exist (others turned out to be mistakes). Why was this story not so popular in Italy when it is so popular elsewhere? That is surely a question for investigation. It can’t be just the quality of the 1880 translation but something about the story itself. What values does it suggest that might prove unattractive to the Italian market? That is something that can and should be discussed in dialogue with Italian native speakers.

We’ll never know how many copies and translations of “A Dog of Flanders” were sold or how many people read this story. Certainly many millions in Japan alone beside the many millions in other languages. All we can say is that it was very successful amongst a very wide cross-section of society in many countries, including not only the general public but also amongst the elite. The artist Burne-Jones wrote a letter to a friend telling a lovely story of how he recalled (the influential Victorian art-critic) Ruskin and Cardinal Manning (Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Catholic Church in England from 1865 until his death in 1892) one day grubbing about on the floor desperate to find a copy of this story they both loved.

There are various free online editions of “A Dog of Flanders” available in English though none in Italian besides the one I’m offering you here. Some of the English texts are digital versions with little indication of what the source volume was, though you can find PDFs of actual books containing the texts through the very useful http://archive.org/details/texts site (see for example the beautiful – and certainly pirated – American Christmas gift-book version with lots of illustrations or the equally lavish 1909 Lippincott version illustrated by the famous children’s illustrator Louise M. Kirk).

The edition that I made is based on the Project Gutenberg text version, which claims to be a checked transcript of the 1909 edition from Lippincott.

I have, however, checked the Gutenberg edition against both the 1909 Lippincott version, the original serialisation and the first British edition by Chapman and Hall (no manuscript seems to have survived). I have edited so as to return the spelling to British standard (which Ouida always wrote in) and also adjusted the paragraphing again to the original (the Gutenberg text was in fact very faulty and didn’t even accord fully with the Lippincott edition, let alone the original).

If you missed the link at the top of the page, here it is again. It’s not a large file as it’s a PDF created from Word.

A Dog of Flanders edited by Andrew King