‘Dickens and the Middle-Class Weekly’

Drew, John M. L. (2017) ‘Dickens and the Middle-Class Weekly’. In: Journalism and the Periodical Press in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 301-316. ISBN 9781107085732

Dickens and the Middle-Class Weekly_FinalPre-PublicationText (3).pdf

Download (480kB) | Preview


The 1830s saw an upsurge in cheap miscellanies of general reading material for the broadest of readerships. From the outset of his career, Charles Dickens was fascinated by the possibilities of addressing such an audience, but not until 1850, with his founding of the 2d. weekly magazine, Household Words, did he achieve his ambition of editing such a periodical. The chapter traces the development of this project, and shows how Dickens embraced hybridity of form and content to establish a secure place for his new journal in the crowded mid-century marketplace, one that straddled class identifiers. In 1859, the journal was incorporated into a new publication, All the Year Round, which carried an instalment of serial fiction as the opening article, rather than a specially-written leader. The switch anticipated the establishment of a series of upmarket monthlies that also privileged fiction over journalism, and gave Dickens and his sub-editor the opportunity to establish early readerships for their brand abroad—in Europe, the colonies, and above all in America. Two postscripts to the chapter outline the afterlife of Dickens’s weeklies following his death in 1870, and their resurrection, in digital form, in the twenty-first century.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dickens, Charles, Newspapers
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: School of Humanities & Social Sciences > English Literature > English Literature
Depositing User: John Drew
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2019 15:37
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2019 15:37
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/287

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item