'Reasons to be Cheerful: Leigh Hunt and his Versatile, Trenchant, Observant, Empathetic, Witty Journalism'

Drew, John (2014) 'Reasons to be Cheerful: Leigh Hunt and his Versatile, Trenchant, Observant, Empathetic, Witty Journalism'. In: Global Literary Journalism. Mass communication and journalism, 2 . Peter Lang, New York, pp. 19-34. ISBN 9781433124693

DrewJ_LeighHunt_Final-PrePublication (1).pdf

Download (427kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/22512?format=...


Critical overview of Hunt's output as a journalist in the context of the exploration of global literary journalism and the global jourbalistic imagination to which this second anthology of critical essays is devoted. ‘It is often necessary for a good journalist to write bad literature. It is sometimes the first duty of a good man to write it’ G.K. Chesterton wrote, in a brief introduction to a collection of Dickens’s journalism. He expresses in characteristically pithy fashion a central problem with literary journalism and its interactions both with the outside world, and with the world of art. Few writers grappled with this problem more resolutely and consistently than Leigh Hunt, whom this chapter seeks to reposition as an important and unjustly neglected figure in nineteenth-century press history, whose determination—against considerable odds, including a controversial prison sentence—to stake a claim for the aesthetic realm from within the confines of the newspaper’s columns can be read not as a dilettantish affectation, but as a real theoretical and generic challenge to negative associations of journalism with self-serving corporate agendas. Dickens’s later skewering of some of Hunt’s supposed conceits through the character of Harold Skimpole in Bleak House can be seen as continuing a kind of debate about literary journalism itself: a form of professional riposte to Hunt’s deliberate conversion of the harsh realities around him into series of artistic ‘reasons to be cheerful.’ As an editor, sketch-writer, essayist, critic and stylist, Hunt deserves to be freshly construed.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leigh Hunt, journalism, nineteenth-century
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Divisions: School of Humanities & Social Sciences > English Literature > English Literature
Depositing User: John Drew
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 12:20
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 12:20
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/290

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item