English Literary Periodicals

By Walter Graham | Go to book overview

VI
LATER MAGAZINES OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

For several years previous to 1731, Edward Cave talked of his plan to booksellers and printers, but none of them thought it worth a trial. Yet the Gentleman's Magazine had plenty of rivals as soon as it began to prosper. Like the Tatler, it initiated a movement, and determined to a great degree the course of periodical evolution. As was true in the case of the essay periodical of Addison and Steele, not every follower of Cave Magazine can be taken into account in this survey. But in a similar way, it is valuable to notice the variations of the type, and the diverse uses these variants served in the literary history of the century which followed.

Johnson, who wrote the preface of the Gentleman's for the year 1738, enumerated twenty imitators which the success of this miscellany had given rise to. He reserved the least complimentary of his observations for the London Magazine, which had begun to give its model the keenest kind of competition, and continued to do so until it finally ceased publication in 1785. Page for page, the London Magazine of 1732 was an almost exact imitation of the Gentleman's. Whereas Cave's subtitle was "Monthly Intelligencer," the London's was "Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer." Its motto, after his own, was "Multum in Parvo." Even a similar "Society" was suggested on the title page. In make-up, the London perfectly matched its prototype. The "View of Weekly Essays and Disputes this Month," quoting long extracts from the Universal Spectator, Craftsman, etc., ran to thirty-six pages in No. 1, longer than the same department in the

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