Q

The Quarterly Review
British periodical, 1809-1967

The Quarterly Review originated in opposition to the Whiggish Edinburgh Review, whose success as a weighty and popular journal dealing with every aspect of contemporary culture added substance to its liberal politics, a fact unwelcome to supporters of a distinctly conservative administration. The Edinburgh's decisive offense was to publish in 1808 a vigorously radical article by Henry Brougham on the Spanish insurrection against the French invaders. It was insufficiently enthusiastic about the war itself, and this was felt to make the establishment of a truly patriotic review imperative. The Quarterly, however, turned out to be very much a conservative organ, and contributors like Robert Southey, who had a radical past and prided himself on his free and fearless thinking, were sometimes indignant at the way their reviews were "gelded" to tone them down. This was not just in connection with sensitive political or theological questions. Charles Lamb wrote a sympathetic review of Wordsworth's Excursion, and was distressed to find, when he read the published text, that it had been altered beyond recognition. As he put it in a letter to Wordsworth, "Every warm expression is changed for a nasty cold one . . . The eyes are pulled out and the bleeding sockets are left."

The editor who performed these mutilations was William Gifford, according to Hazlitt a "low-bred, self-taught man" who was formed in the school of "anti-Jacobin" journalism, savaging any manifestation of liberality or intimation of reforming sentiment. This was the reason for the notorious review by John Wilson Croker of Keats' Endymion ( 1818): the poet was an associate of Leigh Hunt, the editor of the radical Sunday newspaper the Examiner, so inevitably the poem had to consist of "the most incongruous ideas in the most uncouth language."

In 1826 the Quarterly was taken over by Walter Scott's son-in-law J. G. Lockhart, but the Gifford mode continued to feature in the reviews written or revised by Croker, in his heavily sarcastic notice of Tennyson's 1833 volume, for example, but perhaps most strikingly in his revision of a review by P. H. Stanhope, Lord Mahon, of a book by the Whig politician Lord John Russell on the causes of the French Revolution. Stanhope included his own version of the review in a collection of historical essays published in 1849. It is a temperately critical analysis. But the review in the Quarterly for April 1833, though it retains large fragments of the original text, is transformed into a scurrilously abusive party-political polemic.

All this may seem to reinforce the early 19th-century liberal consensus that the Quarterly was a brutal bully hired by a corrupt establishment. But like the Edinburgh, a large proportion of the review essays dealt with a wide range of topics likely to be of interest to the intelligent reader. Walter Scott's contributions are invariably magnanimous, not least when reviewing (anonymously of course, and with some editorial enhancements) his own Tales of My Landlord ( 1817). His essay on the Culloden Papers ( 1816) is a moving lament for the Highland clearances. The number that contained Croker's attack on Endymion included an article on Egyptian antiquities which helped to inspire Keats' vision of the temple of Moneta in the second version of Hyperion. Many of Southey's articles on the state of the poor are pioneering formulations of the concerns of Victorian social reformers, and when a late 20th- century publisher attempted to illustrate the Victorian social conscience in a score or so volumes of reprints of contemporary periodical essays, the Quarterly featured extensively.

The ethos of the Quarterly in mid-century is perhaps best illustrated by Benjamin Disraeli's Coningsby ( 1844), with its satirical portrait of Croker in the appalling Mr. Rigby -- author of many "slashing" pieces in the Quarterly Review -- and its idealized mentor for the hero in Sidonia, who had "exhausted all the sources of human knowledge" and was master of the learning of every nation: precisely the impression that writers tried to create when adopting the reviewers' "we." John Ruskin, for one, provides a pleasant example of this in one of his rare excursions into reviewing, when he made Lord Lindsay's history of Christian art the occasion for his own wide-ranging survey ( 1847).

At their best, reviews in the Quarterly convey a vivid sense of public discussion in the more conservative parts of British society. There is a fine review of Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre by Lady Eastlake ( 1848), which has usually been cited as an illustration of Victorian moral outrage with its allegation that Charlotte Brontë's novel breathes the spirit of disaffection and revolution that has threatened the social fabric in Britain and abroad. But the reviewer's frank avowal of how disturbing readers find Jane Eyre, enabling normally reticent English people to drop their defenses in unwontedly uninhibited discussion, is a conscious and perceptive tribute to Brontë's literary power.

The Quarterly took an intelligent part, from a conservative angle, in most of the major Victorian controversies. William

-683-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Encyclopedia of the Essay
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor's Note vii
  • Advisers ix
  • List of Entries xiii
  • Preface xix
  • A 1
  • C 137
  • D 203
  • E 239
  • F 273
  • G 319
  • H 373
  • I 419
  • J 425
  • K 443
  • L 457
  • M 503
  • N 591
  • O 611
  • P 629
  • Q 683
  • R 685
  • S 725
  • T 829
  • U 865
  • V 871
  • W 883
  • Y 911
  • Z 915
  • Indexes 925
  • General Index 961
  • Notes on Advisers and Contributors 981
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 1004

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.