A History of Nineteenth Century Literature (1780-1895)

By George Saintsbury | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
LATER JOURNALISM AND CRITICISM IN ART AND LETTERS

IN a former chapter we conducted the history of criticism, especially literary criticism, and that chiefly as displayed in the periodicals which were reorganized and refreshed in the early years of the century, to about 1850. We have now to take it up at that point and conduct it -- subject to the limitations of our plan as regards living authors, and in one extremely important case taking the license of outstepping these limits -- to the present or almost the present day. We shall have to consider the rise and performances of two great individual writers, one of whom entirely recreated, if he may not almost be said to have created, the criticism of art in England, while the other gave a new temper, if not exactly a new direction, to the criticism of literature; and we shall have, in regard to periodicals, to observe the rise, in the first place of the weekly newspaper, and then of the daily, as competitors in strictly critical and literary work with the quarterly and monthly reviews, as well as some changes in these latter.

For just as we found that the first development of nineteenth century criticism coincided with or followed upon a new departure or development in periodicals, so we shall find that a similar change accompanied or caused changes in the middle of the century. Although the popularity of the quarterly and monthly reviews and magazines which had been headed respectively by the Edinburgh and Blackwood did not exactly wane, and though some of the most brilliant work of the middle of the century --

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