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ELT 42 : 4 1999 study allows the non-discursive fields to be at work upon the writer without taking away the writer's—and the text's—agency. This book is able to overcome the classical impasse between internalist and externalist modes of reading because, via Bourdieu's theory of the field, McDonald never fails to forget how tenuous and temporary are the distinctions between what is on the inside and what is on the outside. To phrase it in terms that reflect back to McDonald's introduction, every agent within the literary field—and every mode of production as well—has one foot inside Westminster Abbey and the other foot without. British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 1880-1914 takes three important late-Victorian writers and, through careful application of theory and energetic attention to detail, gives us a model for understanding how literary achievement and value are determined by an endlessly rich sequence of motives and negotiations. Christopher Metress __________________ Samford University Popular Magazines David Reed. The Popular Magazine in Britain and the United States, 1880-1960. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. viii + 287 pp. $75.00 THE CONTEMPORARY popular magazine is such a mainstay of news, information, and entertainment for most readers that probably few ever consider how such publications evolved. In an era of everchanging definitions of literacy, this timely and thorough study reminds readers of how relatively new our current conception of popular periodicals is as a disseminator of cultural information. On that basis alone, this work has high value, and as the result of a particular methodological approach that helps analyze a diffused sometimes ephemeral cultural artifact, The Popular Magazine provides another layer of insight and information. Reed acknowledges in the introduction the pitfalls and overgeneralization possible in tackling a study of this scope, but his carefully formulated methodology and systematic application and analysis reveal the cultural and historical forces which dramatically impacted the development of a significant genre of publication on both sides of the Atlantic. Reed's concern in the text, then, is twofold, an emphasis on the content of each publication over time and the contexts which lead to the conception and evolution of each publication. In setting up his research, Reed arrives at several categories or criteria used to measure the content of each 460 BOOK REVIEWS periodical, far too many to list in a short review, but basically including fiction, history and biography, fine arts, social or recreational features, and domestic information. Dividing up the eighty-year scope of the work into twenty-year segments, Reed examines several issues of representative periodicals to determine the average percentage of each page devoted to those separate criteria or topics. He chose those periodicals with the most verifiable highest circulation figures by the end of a decade, reflecting his concern for analyzing only those serials which provide the most lasting understanding of the needs and tastes of the popular readership , not fringe publications or those which never caught the popular imagination over extended periods. Social and economic factors which impacted the rise and evolution of the popular magazine in both Britain and America serve as meaningful contextual features for the analysis of content. Reed demonstrates, for example, how the rise of the industrial economy in both nations in combination with population increases dramatically influenced the publication and distribution of mass circulation magazines. In both Britain and America, railroads stretching out into the countryside linking larger and larger population centers created new markets for the burgeoning industrial economy, including the popular magazine trade. In addition, an improved system of rails allowed for the transportation of raw materials to manufacturers and finished goods to stores and consumers. With manufacturers seeking customers for their products and with railroads providing ready transport of these goods and services, advertising became an important means of creating new consumer markets. Manufacturers gradually turned to the mass circulation magazines as new outlets to reach consumers. The Popular Magazine not only demonstrates how industrialization affected magazine distribution and advertising revenue, but also how new technological advances affected the production, layout, and editorial policy of mass market publications. Reed's treatment of the evolution of printing and production during the later...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 460-463
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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