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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26165

Title: Bringing Books to the Public: British Intellectual Weekly Periodicals, 1918-1939
Authors: Dickens, Mary Elizabeth
Advisor: Cuddy-Keane, Melba
Department: English
Keywords: book history
periodical studies
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: My dissertation investigates the role of intellectual weekly periodicals such as the Nation and Athenaeum and the New Statesman as mediators between the book trade and the audience for so-called serious books. The weeklies offer a productive lens through which to examine the labels commonly applied to early twentieth-century intellectual culture. The rise of a mass reading public and the proliferation of print in this period necessitated cultural labels with a sorting function: books, periodicals, and people were designated as "highbrow," "middlebrow," "modernist," "Georgian," "Bloomsbury." Through an analysis of the intellectual weeklies, a periodical genre explicitly devoted to the appraisal of intellectual culture, I argue for a critical revaluation of cultural labels as they were used in the early twentieth century and as they have been adopted in later scholarship. Using quantitative methodologies influenced by book history, Chapter One argues that the weeklies' literary content was characterized by the periodicals' reciprocal relationship with the book trade: publishers were the weeklies' most significant advertisers, and the weeklies, in turn, communicated information about new books to their book-interested readers. Through an analysis of two series of articles published in the Nation and Athenaeum in the mid-1920s, Chapter Two considers the weeklies' negotiation of their dual roles as forums for public debate about intellectual culture and advertising partners with the book trade. Chapter Three analyzes the book review itself, which found its evaluative function called into question as the number of books and periodicals multiplied rapidly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chapter Four examines the vituperative discourse directed at the intellectual weeklies by the Cambridge quarterly Scrutiny. These attacks reveal not only Scrutiny's disappointment with the specific weeklies of its day but also the paramount cultural responsibility it ascribed to the intellectual weeklies as a genre. By considering the intellectual weeklies' relationships with the book trade, the book-buying public, reviewing, and other intellectual periodicals, my dissertation emphasizes the importance of the intellectual weeklies within the cultural field of interwar Britain and argues for a reconsideration of their role in the production and labeling of intellectual culture during this period.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26165
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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