The Beginnings of English Literary Periodicals: A Study of Periodical Literature, 1665-1715

The Beginnings of English Literary Periodicals: A Study of Periodical Literature, 1665-1715

The Beginnings of English Literary Periodicals: A Study of Periodical Literature, 1665-1715

The Beginnings of English Literary Periodicals: A Study of Periodical Literature, 1665-1715

Excerpt

Few things are more ephemeral than periodical publications. Of the many thousands of copies issued during the seventeenth century, a comparative few have been preserved. These have survived more by accident than design, and are to be found in the collections made by such men as George Thomason, Charles Burney, John Nichols, and Thomas Hope. From the number of such serials in the libraries of England, the chronicle of the newspaper press has been written by Andrews, Grant, Fox- Bourne, Williams, and others. A much more interesting story has been neglected -- which may likewise be gleaned from the meagre records -- the story of the development of the literary periodical, involving, as it does, all that English writers and readers have been entertained by and believed and hoped. The development of the English literary periodical, in the period least known to modern readers, is therefore the subject of this study.

Several streams of tendency combined to produce the literary journal or magazine we read today. Of these, remote beginnings may be found in advertisements for books, abstract serials, periodical catalogues, pamphlets, entertaining features in newspapers, and half-sheet folios of political satire which appeared before 1700. All these origins cannot be considered at once, although contemporaneous. So, in order to present the facts in something like a chronological sequence, the arbitrary division which follows may perhaps be justified. Early periodicals that contrib-

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