Fictional Systems: Mass-Digitization, Network Analysis, and Nineteenth-Century Australian Newspapers


Based on an analysis of the largest collection of mass-digitized newspapers available internationally, this article critiques current approaches to digital periodical studies, particularly relating to network analysis, while radically revising existing accounts of fiction reprinting and syndication in nineteenth-century Australia. It challenges the perceived dominance of Tillotson’s Fiction Bureau in this market and the associated ascendancy of syndicated British fiction over local writing. Turning to the critically neglected provincial press, it shows that these newspapers published and reprinted more fiction than their metropolitan counterparts. This material was supplied by an extensive, active, and hitherto essentially unrecognized array of syndication agencies operating within and beyond the colonies.