Copies of the Introduction to this exhibition and catalogues of previous exhibitions are available from the Rare Books Department
An Exhibition of material from the Monash
University Library Collection
Exhibition catalogue by Richard Overell, Rare Books Librarian, with assistance from Paul Tankard.
Books are of course what we expect and what we mainly find in libraries. Indeed, in libraries it has commonly been the practice to turn non-book publications - pamphlets, magazines, paperbacks - into books, by binding them between hard covers. All those journals on the second floor of the Matheson Library stack, whose topicality lasted for only a day, un jour, are now effectively journals no longer. They have become books, in which form, rather than their less durable originals, they 'speak volumes.'
I want to use only two terms in referring to the materials in this exhibition: magazine and periodical. 'Magazine' signifies the type of content - a miscellany. On the face of it, there is no reason why a book may not be a miscellany. We call such books of short-self-contained pieces 'anthologies', and mostly they have a consistency, of author, or theme, or genre: as an anthology or poems, or stories, or the Oxford or Penguin or Faber Book of Death, or Marriage or Essays or Aphorisms, or whatever.
'Periodical' on the other hand signifies the temporal circumstance of publication, which in the case of a book is a once-only event, but in the case of a periodical is a process. The many periodicals of which there was only a single issue, were in fact failures - they never became truly periodical. And of course, in the case of many periodicals, the process is unfinished. From the moment it drops from the press, a book becomes a thing, an historical artifact; a periodical remains an event, something happening.
Magazines are to books what television is to cinema. Both the miscellany aspect and the periodical aspect of magazines suggest this lack of finish or of closure. Magazines surround other discourse, they are the sites of commentary. They are the texts to which we resort to find what people thought at the time. In magazines, books take their place with journeys, assassinations, weddings, balls, awards nights, sporting events, wars and politics, as things that have happened, and which may be reviewed and discussed. Even the most arcane and scholarly journals are published with the implication that each successive volume represents (within its own field) what is yet under discussion, what is happening now.
Even periodicals that are not many-voiced or miscellaneous, such as the single-essay periodicals of the eighteenth century, the Spectators and Ramblers, achieve something of the same effect by the succession of regular pauses in the discourse. It is as if the reader has been given time to frame their own response before taking up the conversation again, when the next instalment is published. The gaps between issues of a magazine may be likened to the pauses between movements in a symphony. They are there, certainly, for practical reasons, but the silent pause is part of the structure, to be employed by the audience.
Magazines are intended to be more casual, less laborious modes of reading than books. Unless one is a scholar, whose business is study, reading is only one activity to be fitted in among a multitude of others. Magazines seem to invite casual reading, for people with less time or more preoccupations, and the succession of changing topics also serves to engage their attention. Bound volumes of periodicals, on the other hand, strike the average reader as unnatural and unapproachable, more intimidating even than a collection of books. Perhaps it is for such reasons that the offices of newspapers have traditionally called their own collections of archived issues the 'morgue.'
The presently burgeoning and converging electronic communication technologies are putting great stresses and strains on literary culture, and it will be interesting to see how it develops, or what remains. So long as some people wish to (and are able to) read connected discourse, books will survive. Magazines being browsable, portable, easily put down and picked up, with text in columns, and/or plenty of pictures, seem more reader-friendly. It is magazines rather than books that we find in the waiting rooms of hairdressers and dentists.
But magazines might more easily be displaced in the reading practices of most users by that huge and unedited, constantly-evolving and freely accessible ephemeral miscellany, the internet. Those magazines that will survive will be those prepared to become frankly and entirely disposable - see what happened a decade ago to the formerly respectable and housewifely Women's Weekly and New Idea, now full of gossip about celebrities' love affairs and surgical procedures - or stylish, upmarket and vaguely pornographic compendia of arty consumerism, like Tank.
In the past decade or so, the daily papers - their place as news vehicles having been assumed by radio and television - have increasingly supplied a daily succession of thematic supplements that tend to displace the magazines, and so the weeklies and monthlies have had to change their character in order to remain economically viable. A great many academic journals have opted, in the face of diminishing circulation and increasing publication costs, to cease paper publication, and become exclusively web presences.
Conversely, cheap photocopying (as opposed to printing) and electronic DIY publishing programs, have combined to make amateur 'publishing' more easy than ever. The 'zines' present in this exhibition are mainly adolescent productions, and are in reality what used to be called 'vanity' publications - produced at the authors' expense, with very small print runs, out of which no one makes any money, and which are read (if at all) only by the author/publisher's immediate circle. Their interest is not literary so much as sociological. But no doubt some of their perpetrators will continue their efforts into adulthood, catering for highly specific tastes, and - a hellish vision for librarians and archivists - possibly creating a vast literary micro-ecology, which will survive like the cockroaches after larger species have died off.
We cannot fail to be impressed by the mighty journals of the nineteenth century, the Blackwoods, Cornhills, and the like. They are the dinosaurs of magazine publication, and seem now to represent an irrecoverable zenith in the diffusion (and indeed, the intellectual level) of popular culture. The imagined readership for these productions is the now seemingly mythical 'educated general public.' Today's media consumers are offered a huge range of choice of considerably more easily processed media - television and the internet - which have not, in the main, fulfilled the noble aims of their originators. Doubters may wish to compare the contents of an issue of the Cornhill, with tonight's viewing on commercial television. The agenda is defiantly vulgar, with no effort to educate, edify or refine the taste of the viewers, safely assuming in its audience an indiscriminate hunger for sensation.
Magazines reside at some intermediate position between the everyday and the permanent, between what goes on the shelves and becomes canonical and what is tossed out with the newspapers for recycling. We feel in an exhibition like this, of such artifacts in (mostly) their original format, that we are approaching more closely the daily experience of the original readers, and seeing beneath the distortions of formal history, to a unofficial readership who are less concerned with, for instance, politics, education or the environment, than with antics of the cast members of Big Brother. It is good that Monash should maintain a collection such as this - in some ways appropriately partial and indiscriminate - to remind us of the gloss and colour, as well as the tawdriness and pathos, of the ephemeral world outside of books, in which we all live.
Paul Tankard wrote his Monash Ph.D on Samuel Johnson, has worked forth Age, and teaches Writing and does other odd jobs in the Monash University School of Literary, Visual and Performance Studies.
The purpose of this exhibition is to display examples of magazines in the Monash Rare Book Collection from the seventeenth century to the present. What you see on display is only a fraction of the titles we hold. For example, we have not included any of our extensive range of children's magazines, reserving them for another exhibition of our "Lindsay Shaw" children's collection in the future.
I have used the word, "magazine" rather loosely, to refer to a publication appearing at intervals. Other terms are "periodical", "serial" or "journal".
Typically each issue has a range of articles of a literary or factual nature with the intention of entertaining or informing.
1. Angliæ ruina, or, Englands ruine : represented in the barbarous, and sacrilegious outrages of the sectaries of this kingdome, committed upon the lives, consciences and estates of all His. Maj. loyal subjects in generall, but more particularly upon the churches, colledges, clergie, and scholars of the same. Containing two briefe catalogues of such heads and fellows of colledges in the University of Cambridge ... Whereunto is added, A chronologie of the time and place of all the battails, sieges, conflicts, and other remarkable passages which have happened betwixt His Majesty and the Parliament, with a catalogue of such persons of quality, as have been slain on either party, from Novemb. 3. 1640 till the 25. of March, 1647. ([London : s.n.], 1647)
This is a reprint of Mercurius Rusticus, a newsbook from the Civil War period. The editor, Bruno Ryves (1596-1677) was one of Charles I's chaplains. Nineteen numbers of Mercurius rusticus appeared, starting in August 1642. The newsbooks of the period were highly political. Ryves's publication being Royalist. George Wither began a Parliamentary Mercurius rusticus in answer to the Royalist one.
contents described in graphic detail the destruction wrought in the
countryside by the Puritan troops.
This publication began as the Oxford gazette on 16th November 1665, becoming the London gazette with no. 24, 6th February 1666. It was the official publication of the Court. The issue on display contains information regarding foreign affairs, the movement of British envoys, shipping news, notices of bankruptcy, and notice of a reward of £50 for the capture of pirates lately returned from the East Indies. There are also advertisements for recent publications, and a horse race.
3. The Athenian gazette, or, Casuistical mercury resolving all the most nice and curious questions proposed by the ingenious of either sex. (London : Printed for John Dunton, 1691-97)
We normally display this item because it includes in the "Supplement to the fifth volume", the "Ode to the Athenian Society", the first publication by Jonathan Swift. However this periodical was significant in its own right. It was edited by John Dunton and is an example of a magazine which specialised in summarising learned publications, especially from the continent, to give "satisfaction to all such persons as have neither time nor opportunity to enquire of such things." It also functioned as a forerunner to such useful periodicals as Notes and queries. Readers could send in enquiries on a variety of topics and the editorial staff, in practice, John Dunton, would endeavour to answer them. Such questions were by no means limited to literary and historical matters, for example, in vol. 5, no. 7, (22 December, 1691), a correspondent asks,
Quest. What wind in our body is, whence it proceeds and what are the true remedies for it?
Answ. The moderns have experimentally explain'd the notions of the ancients, viz. That all parts of our bodies are perspirable, and that steams are always reaking in our bodies, is demonstrable on cutting up any animal; these steams are humidities rarifi'd, and inoffensively pervade all parts; but if steams are multiply'd from stagnant humidities beyond the natural degree, and distend the parts beyond what is usual, then 'tis call'd that offensive wind which the question supposes. As this encrease of vapours is extraordinary, so ought a transpiration to be to keep the body in its due state, to remedy which, baths, fomentations, and warm vehicles impregnate with spiritous liquors, clisters, &c. are extraordinary helps; but what agrees most with nature, and is a very easie method to keep the pores open, is a moderate warmth in food, apparel, sleeping &c.
Dunton also engaged in controversy, in particular he maintained a long running dispute with the Anabaptists through the pages of his journal, printing their objections, "antient and modern" to infant baptism "with a full answer to 'em all".
4. Memoirs for the ingenious : containing several curious observations in philosophy, mathematicks, physick, history, philology, and other arts and sciences in miscellaneous letters / by J. de la Crose. (London : printed for H. Rhodes ... and for J. Harris ..., 1693)
This monthly periodical, edited by Jean Cornand de Lacroze (d. ca. 1705), ran from January to December 1693. It follows Lacroze's earlier venture in this field, The works of the learned; or, An historical account and impartial judgement of books newly printed, both foreign and domestick., which ran from August 1691-April 1692.
The Memoirs takes the form of letters between the editor and prominent scientists and mathematicians of the day. It was meant to supplement the Transactions of the Royal Society. It is in keeping with the breadth of seventeenth century debate on the nature of things that Lacroze includes in the table of contents to one issue (July 1693) letters on,
XIV. A new hypothesis on the origin of Springs.
Leslie, Charles, 1650-1722.
The set contains issues of The Rehearsal issued between 1704 (Aug. 5, no. 2) and 1708 (March 26, v.4, no. 48). Philalethes = Charles Leslie (cf. ESTC) t.p. First issue had title.
The Rehearsal, which took its name from the Duke of Buckingham's satirical play, was a high Tory periodical famous for the political and religious controversies in which it was involved with Daniel Defoe's Review, and John Tutchin's Whig Observator.
The Spectator (London, 1711-1712)
This is an example of a "leaf-book", a book published in a limited edition featuring an example of an early or rare publication, accompanied by an essay on the original item. Here we see an issue of Addison and Steele's periodical, The Spectator, for Monday 11 June, 1711.
The early eighteenth-century saw the flowering of the periodical, not merely as a weapon in the political and religious controversies but as an arbiter of manners and morals. The intention of Steele and Addison was to raise the standards of social behaviour and educate pubic taste. The Tatler was the first and most successful of their joint ventures. It ran from April 1709 to January 1711. The Spectator was published daily from 1 March 1711 to 6 December 1712, and was later revived by Addison in 1714.
The issue on display takes the form of a letter from a reader, who begins by congratulating 'Mr. Spectator' on his observations, but adds, "There is one thing in particular which I wonder you have not touched upon, and that is the general of manners in the servants of Great Britain". He adds as a post-script, "Pray do not omit the mention of grooms in particular."
The Spectator partly attributes the problem to the airs the servants take on,
That they are but in a lower degree what their masters themselves are; and usually affect an imitation of their manners: And you have in liveries beaux, fops, and coxcombs in as high perfection , as among people that keep equipages. It is a common humour among the retinue of people of quality, when they are in their revels, that is when they are out of their masters sight, to assume in an humourous way the names and titles of those whose liveries they wear.
7. The Examiner, or, Remarks upon papers and occurrences (London : Printed for J. Morphew, 1710-1716)
Where the Tatler and Spectator were Whig in outlook, insofar as they were political at all, The Examiner was avowedly Tory. Begun by Bolingbroke in August 1710, it was edited by Swift until July 1711, then taken over by Mrs. Manley.
As with the earlier titles, each issue took the form of an essay. The collection of original Examiners we hold begins with no. 11 (5th to 12th October, 1710). In it Swift attacks Addison, for his Tatler of [23rd to] 26th September 1710.
Among all the ill qualities of mankind, I know none that makes a worse figure, than excess of vanitie.
Writers of the first rank, in works design'd for eternity, may be allow'd to have a due sense of their own excellencies: but for a weekly retailer of loose papers, one of which is still dying before the next is born, to assume the same privilege, is perfectly ridiculous.
It was just at this time that Addison began (and ended) his Whig Examiner as a reply to Swift's attacks; it lasted only a month (14 Sept. to 12 Oct. 1710)
8. The Tatler: or, the lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaffe Esq. (London : Printed by Charles Lillie and John Morphew, 1711-1713) 4 v.
Addison's Tatler is open at the issue attacked by Swift, no. 229, (23-26 Sept. 1710). Addison's essay is inoffensive enough. In it he makes the point that he as editor of his Tatler supports a multitude of parasites who make a living from attacking him.
Admittedly the parable which points his moral at the end of the issue is a touch vainglorious,
The owls, bats, and several other birds of night, were one day got together in a thick shade, where they abused their neighbours in a very sociable manner. Their satyr at last fell upon the sun, whom they all agreed to be very troublesome, impertinent and inquisitive. Upon which the sun, who overheard them, spoke to them after this manner: Gentlemen, I wonder how you dare abuse one that you know could in an instant scorch you up, and burn every mother's son of you: But the only answer I shall give you, or the revenge I shall take of you, is to shine on.
The Half-penny London journal. With freshest advices, at home and abroad.
(London [England] : printed by W. Parks and J. Lightbody, in Black and White
Court, in the Old Bailey; where advertisements and letters to the author,
are taken in, 1724-25)
This is an example of an early magazine meant for the less-educated reading public. The volume begins with a serial, "The life of John Sheppard", a highwayman. This was succeeded by "The secret history of the Free-masons." There were advertisements, letters to the editor, a section on "Foreign affairs".
Among the advertisements we find some for medical products, for example, the issue for 5 December 1724 ends with a notice for "The most sure and long experience'd Anti Venereal compound", headed, "For the true cure of fresh CLAPS, (and all the lurking Relicks or Remains of old ones)"
10. The Gentleman's magazine. (London : [s.n.], 1731-1907)
With the Gentleman's magazine we see the first use of the term "magazine" in its current meaning. Edward Cave the editor, wrote in the "Advertisement" to the first issue, January 1731, that the intention in undertaking this new publication was,
to give monthly a view of all the pieces of wit, humour or intelligence daily offer'd to the publick in the News-papers, (which of late are so multiply'd as to render it impossible, unless a man make it his business, to consult them all) ... This Consideration has induced several Gentlemen to promote a Monthly Collection to treasure up, as in a Magazine, the most remarkable Pieces.
The early numbers devoted much space to abridgements of articles from the other periodicals, but gradually more original articles appeared. The magazine is noted for its lists of books published, its obituaries, and the report of the debates in Parliament. It was still against the law to make matters of state public, so these debates had to be reported surreptitiously and written in a form of code. Hence we have the "Debates in the Senate of Lilliput", which for a lengthy period were written by Samuel Johnson.
We have a full set of the Gentleman's magazine. On display are copies showing the characteristic wood-cut device on the title-page of "St. John's Gate". Another is open to show a fold-out map of Gibraltar (March 1762). This accompanied an article, "The advantages to England from the possession of Gibraltar". The fortress of Gibraltar at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, had been captured from the Spanish by the British in 1704 and has remained continuously in British hands since. At this time, there were however murmurings at the expense of maintaining this outpost,
has indeed been urged, that the use the English have made of this
impregnable post has been in no proportion to the expense of maintaining it;
that it has been made a grave for our men; a drain for our wealth; an
infamous job to a commanding officer; a harbour for Jews and extortioners;
and a place of refuge for all renagadoes and bad men. Tho' complaints of
this kind are often aggravated, yet it is undoubtedly true, that the
advantages that have accrued to Gr. Br. from the possession of Gibraltar,
have been rather negative than positive; arising rather from the mischief
trade might have suffered had the place been in the hands of our enemies,
than from the protection and encouragement it has received by being in the
hands of British soldiers. (p. 104)
The Female Spectator was edited by Eliza Haywood. In the bound set on display we see the editorial committee of four ladies sitting around the table discussing the next issue. The idea of this periodical was based on the Female Tatler of 1709. The earlier title was supposedly edited by "Mrs. Crackenthorpe, a lady that knows everything", in reality the editor was Thomas Baker. Delarivier Manley was however one of the contributors.
Mrs. Haywood's magazine was the first written by women expressly for a female readership. It has a lightness of touch but takes seriously its intention of improving the taste and manners of at least one half of society. The topics range from fashion to politics and theology. There is a long story illustrating the difficulties which arise when a High-Church man marries a Presbyterian; but even more serious matters are discussed and advice dispensed. Here is the Female Spectator on suicide,
It is a very great reflection, and I am sorry to say too just a one, upon the English Nation that we have more suicides among us in a year, than in any other place in an age. Whence can this unnatural crime proceed, but from giving way to a discontent which preys like a vulture upon our very vitals on every accident that displeases us, fills us with black and dismal thoughts, and at length precipitates us into the utmost despair!
Like all other ill habits this must be suppressed in the beginning, or it will grow too mighty for controul, if in the least indulged. To that end we should never put the worst colours on things, but rather deceive ourselves with imagining them better than they are.
Of this I am perfectly convinced, both by observation and experience, that an easy and unruffled mind contributes very much to the preventing many ill accidents, and to extricate us out of those difficulties we are actually involved in: Whereas a person of a fretful and discontented disposition is bewildered, as it were, amidst his troubles. His thoughts are in a maze, and reason has no power to point him out of the path he ought to take for his redress. (Vol. 4, p. 378-379)
This is a bound volume collecting together the six monthly numbers, of The British Librarian which first appeared from January to June, 1737. The editor was William Oldys (1696-1761) the antiquary, book collector and librarian, who later worked with Samuel Johnson on the Harleian Miscellany.
His periodical mainly consists of summaries of rare books and manuscripts, undertaken for the benefit of scholars. In the time before the creation of a national library, researchers were compelled to consult rare or unique items in the private libraries of wealthy collectors. Oldys, both in the British Librarian, and later in the Harleian Miscellany did much to facilitate this process for his fellow scholars.
Oldys includes a lengthy summary of Reginald Scot's Discovery of witchcraft. This work first appeared in 1584, although Oldys is reviewing the edition of 1651. It is a refutation of the belief in witchcraft, "also the delusions of astrology, alchemy, legerdemain, and many other things". Oldys points out that the work "had for a while a very good effect upon the kingdom, in purging those dregs of superstition, to which it seems naturally subject ... but since that time England hath shamefully fallen from the truth, which they began to receive." (no. IV, April 1737, p. 213-4) Oldys puts this down in part to the unfortunate influence of James I's Demonologie in forme of a dialogue (Edinburgh, 1597), an attack on Scot's book,
Wherefore the reader might expect in the body of His Majesty's pamphlet, to find our author notably confuted; but in reading that Dialogue, he shall not find one thing or another answered, but only a bare affirmation of such tenets without ground, or warrant of scripture, which were confuted by Scot. (p. 214)
13. The Rambler (London, 1750-52) [original issues on loan from Paul Tankard]
The Rambler was a single-essay periodical, conducted and (all but five papers) written by Samuel Johnson. It appeared on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 20 March 1750 to 14 March 1752. The pamphlet edition did not circulate widely, but when gathered into volumes the complete work went through 65 editions in the next 70 years.
In the first number he sets out the reasons which prompt an author to undertake journalism of this type, in particular the almost instant gratification he stands to receive from his public,
are indeed many conveniencies almost peculiar to this method of publication,
which may naturally flatter the author, whether he be confident or timorous.
The man to whom the extent of his knowledge, or the sprightliness of his
imagination, has, in his opinion, already secured the praises of the world,
willingly takes that way of displaying his abilities which will soonest give
him an opportunity of hearing the voice of fame; it heightens his alacrity
to think in how many places he shall hear what he is now writing, read with
extasies to-morrow. He will often please himself with reflecting, that the
author of a large treatise must proceed with anxiety, lest, before the
completion of his work, the attention of the publick may have changed its
object; but that he who is confined to no single topick, may follow the
national taste through all its variations, and catch the Aura popularis, the gale of favour, from what point soever it shall
blow. (no. 1, 20 March 1750)
Publication was interrupted by the seizure and suppression of issue no. 45 (Apr. 23, 1763). However, E. Sumpter (T. Peat from no. 182) continued to bring out issues (no. 46, May 28, 1763 to no. 237[?], Dec. 6, 1766). In addition, two issues appeared numbered 46 and dated November 12, 1763, one printed by J. Pridden, the other by J. Williams. A second sequence, numbered 47-218 (May 10, 1768-May 11, 1771), subsequently appeared.
The radical politician John Wilkes's North Briton was the most significant political weekly of its time. No. 45, the issue for 23rd April 1763, was suppressed as a seditious libel on George III. It was, however, circulated in manuscript, and it is a manuscript version which is present in this set. The offensive material Wilkes had written in issue 45 concerned the power of the sovereign. He began with the statement, "The King's speech has always been considered by the Legislature, and by the public at large, as the speech of the Minister." While this may appear self-evident, it was a truth best left unstated, particularly when Wilkes proceeded to criticize the King's speech, even implying he lied to Parliament over foreign policy. This was all by way of attacking Bute as the King's minister, but Wilkes was arrested for sedition and placed in the Tower. The pamphlet, Magna Charta, issued by Wilkes's supporters, is bound into this set after the manuscript no. 45.
15. The critical review, or, Annals of literature / by a Society of gentlemen. (London : W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1756-1817)
The Critical review appeared monthly and had as its intention to review all the most important publications immediately on their appearance. The novelist, Tobias Smollett was the editor. Like many of the more readable reviewers he was rather irascible and as the result of a review in the issue for May 1758 he was fined £100 and sentenced to three months imprisonment in the King's Bench. The publication in question was a pamphlet, The conduct of Admiral Knowles in the late expedition set in a true light. Admiral Sir Charles Knowles was involved in Sir Edward Hawke's abortive expedition against Rochefort, the French port in the bay of Biscay where preparations were being made for an invasion of England. Hawke and Knowles were in charge of the naval force sent to cover the military expedition under Sir John Morduant. It was Morduant who decided against the landing, but the public outcry at the return of the troops and vessels was aimed equally at the army and the navy.
The first half of the review is a rising crescendo of invective against Knowles,
We have heard of a man, who, without birth, interest or fortune, has raised himself from the lowest paths of life to an eminent rank in the service; and if all his friends were put to the strappado, they could not define the quality or qualities to which he owed his elevation. Nay it would be found upon enquiry, that he neither has, or ever had any friend at all; (for we make a wide distinction between a patron and a friend;) and yet for a series of years, has he been enabled to sacrifice the blood, the treasure, and the honour of his country, to his own ridiculous projects. Ask his character of those who know him, they will not scruple to say, he is an admiral without conduct, an engineer without knowledge, an officer without resolution, and a man without veracity. They will tell you he is an ignorant, assuming, officious, fribbling pretender; conceited as a peacock, obstinate as a mule, and mischievous as a monkey; that in every station of life he has played the tyrant of his inferiors, the incendiary among his equals, and commanded a squadron occasionally for twenty years, without having even established his reputation in the article of personal courage (v. 5, May 1758, p. 438-9)
Long after Smollett's time in the editorial chair, the Critical Review was still capable of a brisk demolition job. An example is Southey's opinion of Lyrical Ballads (1798), a review of which appeared in the issue for October 1798. He begins,
The majority of these poems, we are informed in the advertisement, are to be considered as experiments. "They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure" (p. 197-198)
After quoting from "The idiot boy," the poem he takes to be the most important, he observes,
No tale less deserved the labour that appears to have been bestowed upon this. It resembles a Flemish picture in the worthlessness of its design and the excellence of its execution. From Flemish artists we are satisfied with such pieces: who would not have lamented, if Coreggio or Raffaele has wasted their talents in painting Dutch boors or the humours of a Flemish wake? (p. 200)
He then proceeds to dismiss Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner",
In a very different style of poetry, is the Rime of the Ancyent Marinere; a ballad (says the advertisement) "professedly written in imitation of the style, as well as the spirit of the elder poets." We are tolerably conversant with the early English poets; and can discover no resemblance whatever, except in antiquated spelling and a few obsolete words. ... We do not sufficiently understand the story to analyse it. It is a Dutch attempt at German sublimity. Genius has here been employed in producing a poem of little merit. (p. 200-201)
16. The British critic : a new review. (London : F. and C. Rivington, 1793-1826)
William Beloe and Robert Nares were the editors of the British Critic. They were both clergymen who made careers as men of letters. Beloe was the Keeper of Printed Books at the British Museum from 1803-1806, where Nares had been Assistant Librarian in 1795. Each number of their periodical consisted of about twenty-five reviews and several pages listing all recent publications.
Wordsworth's friend Francis Wrangham reviewed Lyrical ballads in the issue for October 1799. He was more charitable than Southey had been. He begins,
The attempt made in this little volume is one that meets our cordial approbation; and it is an attempt by no means unsuccessful. The endeavour of the author is to recall our poetry, from the fantastical excess of refinement, to simplicity and nature. (p. 364)
He then quotes from the introduction and continues,
We fully agree with the author, that the true notion of poetry must be sought among the poets, rather than the critics; and we will add that, unless a critic is a poet also, he will generally make but indifferent work in judging the effusions of genius. (p. 365)
This could be seen as an attack on Southey who had already had three volumes of verse published, the first, a poetic drama, The fall of Robespierre, written in collaboration with Coleridge.
Wrangham proceeds to a detailed critique of Coleridge's major work in Lyrical ballads,
The Poem of "the Ancyent Marinere," with which the collection opens, has many excellencies and many faults; the beginning and the end are striking and well-conducted; but the intermediate part is too long, and has, in some places, a kind of confusion of images, which loses all effect, from not being quite intelligible. The author who is confidently said to be Mr. Coleridge, is not correctly versed in the old language which he undertakes to employ. "Noises of a swound" p. 9, and "broad as a weft," p. 11, are both nonsensical; but the ancient style is so well imitated, while the antiquated words are so very few, that the latter might with advantage be entirely removed without any detriment to the effect of the poem. The opening of the poem is admirably calculated to arrest the Reader's attention, by the well-imagined idea of the Wedding Guest, who is held to hear the tale, in spite of his efforts to escape. The beginning of the second canto, or fit, has much merit, if we except the very unwarrantable comparison of the Sun to that which no man can conceive:- "like God's own head," a simile which makes the Reader shudder. (p. 365)
17. Monthly beauties; or, The cabinet of literary genius. Comprising interesting selections from the most esteemed periodical and other new publications. Embellished with elegant engravings. (London : Printed for and sold by J. Parsons ..., 1793)
This was another short-lived serial which derived at least some of its copy by summarising articles from local and continental sources.
The first issue of this magazine, January 1793 included as its lead article, "Louis XVI. Late King of France, Navarre, &c. &c." with an engraving of the King and also of his execution by guillotine. The King had been executed on the morning of 21st January 1793 so this was very much current news.
There follows an eye witness account of the execution,
Louis pulled off his stock, coat and waistcoat, and, with his neck and breast bare, ascended the scaffold with intrepidity and undaunted fortitude; (it was twenty minutes after ten o'clock); he wore a clean shirt and stock, white waistcoat, black florentine silk breeches, black silk stockings, and his shoes were tied with black silk strings.
Having taken leave of his confessor, who shed a thousand tears, he beckoned with his hand to be heard; the noise of the warlike instruments [i.e. the trumpets and drums] ceased for a moment; but soon after a thousand voices vociferated, "no harangues! - No harangues!" The unfortunate monarch wrung his hands, lifted them up towards heaven, and with agony in his eye and gesture, exclaimed, distinctly enough to be heard by those persons who were next the scaffold, "to thee, O God, I commend my soul! - I forgive all my enemies - I die innocent!" His head was immediately after severed from his body; the people waved their hats in the air, exclaiming, "God save the nation!" and the body was immediately removed in a black coffin.
From the time when he first appeared on the scaffold, till the fatal blow, not five minutes elapsed! Instantly the executioner lifted up the head, and amidst the flourish of trumpets exclaimed, "Thus dies a traitor!" Some of the guards pushed forward to the scaffold, dipped their pikes and their handkerchiefs in the blood, brandishing their swords, and vociferated - "God save the republic! God save the Nation!"
The body was interred six hours after, in the church-yard De la Magdelaine, adjacent to the place of execution, in a grave twelve feet deep, and filled with quick lime and mould. (p. 10-11)
an example of the diversity of this magazine, the next article in the first
issue is "Observations on the ludicrous effects of certain names",
followed by a "Remarkable account of a general breeding place or nursery
of crocodiles", both of which topics could conceivably be found in
magazines of today.
18. The Lady's monthly museum; or, Polite respository of amusement and instruction: Being an assemblage of whatever can tend to please the fancy, interest the mind, or exalt the character of the British fair / By a society of ladies. (London : Vernor and Hood, 1798-1828)
parallel to the, at times, rather pompous periodicals aimed at the
coffee-house pundits, publishers were marketing magazines for women. The
Lady's Monthly Museum was typical of the time. It included
biographical sketches of prominent women of the time, in the fields of
literature or society, a hand-coloured fashion plate showing what people
were wearing each month, fiction, essays, poetry, gossip, recipes and
19. The Edinburgh review. (Edinburgh : A. and C. Black, 1802-1929)
The early nineteenth century saw the development of three major periodicals, the first of which was The Edinburgh Review. The other two titles were Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, and the Quarterly Review. These magazines concentrated particularly on long reviews and serious articles on literary, historical and political matters. The editors saw it as their responsibility to maintain high literary standards. This led most famously to attacks on the romantic poets.
One of the earliest examples of this was the review by Henry Brougham, of Byron's Hours of Idleness, in the January 1808 issue. Brougham strikes his keynote in the first paragraph, saying of Byron,
His effusions are spread over a dead flat, and can no more get above or below the level than if they were so much stagnant water (p. 285)
Byron, or his publisher, had made much of the fact that the poet was a "minor" and even gives the age at which each poem was written. Brougham remarks,
So far from hearing with any degree of surprise, that very poor verses were written by a youth from his leaving school to his leaving college, inclusive, we really believe this to be the most common of all occurrences. (p. 285)
Given the poor opinion the reviewer has of the work, we might ask why give the book so much attention. Brougham replies in a tone of mock irony that this is partly to acknowledge a nobleman appearing as an author, but also, "our desire to counsel him that he do forthwith abandon poetry." (p. 286)
The reviewer adds the advice that, "that a poem in the present day, to be read, must contain at least one thought, either in a little degree different from the ideas of former writers, or differently expressed." (p. 286)
After quoting various poems, the closing paragraph begins,
But whatever judgment may be passed on the poems of this noble minor, it seems we must take them as we find them, and be content; for they are the last we shall ever have from him. He is at best, he says, [quoting from Byron's introduction] but an intruder into the groves of Parnassus; he never lived in a garret, like thorough-bred poets ...... Moreover he expects no profit from his publication; and whether it succeeds or not, "it is highly improbable, from his situation and pursuits hereafter," that he should again condescend to become an author. (p. 289)
However, Byron was stung into reply, writing a long poem, English bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), in response to the Edinburgh Review. This was so successful it ran through several editions, even being pirated, and set the tone for what some would consider Byron's forte, satirical verse.
20. Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824.
21. Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine. (Edinburgh : William Blackwood ; London : T. Cadell and W. Davis, 1817-1905)
22. Quarterly review. (London, England : John Murray, 1809-1967)
Keats was the romantic poet to suffer most heavily at the hands of the major reviews. Here we see the reviews of Endymion (1818) in Blackwood's and the Quarterly.
In Blackwood's it forms part of a series of articles by John Gibson Lockhart, on the "Cockney school of poetry", meaning poetry written by London writers who lacked the advantage of a University education. The opening paragraph to the fourth article in the series reads as follows,
Of all the manias of this mad age, the most incurable as well as the most common, seems to be no other than the Metromanie. The just celebrity of Robert Burns and Miss Baillie has had the melancholy effect of turning the heads of we know not how many farm-servants and unmarried ladies; our very footmen compose tragedies, and there is scarcely a superannuated governess in the island that does not leave a roll of lyrics behind her in her band-box. To witness the disease of any human understanding, however feeble, is distressing; but the spectacle of an able mind reduced to a state of insanity is of course ten times more afflicting. It is with such sorrow as this that we have contemplated the case of Mr. John Keats. This young man appears to have received from nature talents of an excellent, perhaps even of a superior order - talents which. devoted to the purposes of any useful profession, must have rendered him a respectable, if not an eminent citizen. His friends, we understand, destined him for a career of medicine, and he was bound apprentice some years ago to a worthy apothecary in town. But all has been undone by a sudden attack of the malady to which we have alluded. ... This much is certain, he has caught the infection and that thoroughly. For some time we were in hopes, that he might get off with a violent fit or two; but of late the symptoms are terrible. The phrenzy of the "Poems" [his first volume of verse, published in 1817] was bad enough in its way; but it did not alarm us half so seriously as the calm, settled, imperturbable driveling idiocy of "Endymion." We hope, however, that in so young a person, and with a constitution originally so good, even now the disease is not utterly incurable. Time, firm treatment, and rational restraint, do much for many apparently hopeless invalids; and if Mr. Keats should happen, at some interval of reason, to cast his eye upon our pages, he may perhaps be convinced of the existence of his malady, which in such cases, is often all that is necessary to put the patient in a fair way of being cured. (Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine, vol. 3, Aug. 1818, p. 519)
John Wilson Croker begins his review of Endymion with a frank admission,
Reviewers have been sometimes accused of not reading the works which they affected to criticize. On the present occasion we shall anticipate the author's complaint, and honestly confess that we have not read his work. Not that we have been wanting in our duty - far from it - indeed, we have made efforts almost as superhuman as the story itself appears to be, to get through it; but with the fullest stretch of our perseverance. We are forced to confess that we have not been able to struggle beyond the first of the four books of which this Poetic Romance consists.
It is not that Mr. Keats, (if that be his real name, for we almost doubt that any man in his senses would put his real name to such a rhapsody,) it is not, we say, that the author has not powers of language, rays of fancy, and gleams of genius - he has all these; but he is unhappily a disciple of the new school of what has been somewhere called Cockney poetry; which may be defined to consist of the most incongruous ideas in the most uncouth language. (Quarterly review, vol. xix, April 1818, p. 204)
Although the reviewer is only partly serious, he adopts a pose similar to that taken by the Edinburgh review towards Byron, and assumes that it is his duty to impart constructive advice along with his censure. Quoting from Keats's introduction Croker continues,
Mr. Keats. However, deprecates criticism on this "immature and feverish work" in terms which are themselves sufficiently feverish; and we confess that we should have abstained from inflicting upon him any of the tortures of the "fierce hell" of criticism, which terrify his imagination, if he had not begged to be spared in order that he might write more; if we had not observed in him a certain degree of talent which deserves to be put in the right way, or which, at least, ought to be warned of the wrong; and if, finally, he had not told us that he is of an age and temper which imperiously require mental discipline. (p. 205)
Admittedly Keats's early work is much inferior to his later, and it was the next year, 1819, during which he wrote most of his enduring poems including the great odes. Lamia and other poems (1820) was praised by Jeffrey in the Edinburgh review, but by then the poet was seriously ill with consumption, from which he died in Rome, in 1821.
Shelley wrote Adonais: an elegy on the death of John Keats (1821) in which he attacked the reviewers and accused them of hastening Keats's death. Byron also wrote in this vein, in his poem, "John Keats" of 1821,
killed John Keats?
23. The Penny magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. (London : Charles Knight, 1832-1845) 14 v.
This magazine was perhaps the first to tap into the new market of readers which had increased with spread of literacy in the early nineteenth century. The publisher Charles Knight made his career from works such as this with a broad popular appeal. Knight, and his fellow members of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, believed strongly in the importance of the spread of education.
In the "Preface" to the bound set of volume one, we are informed both of the intentions of the editor and of the circulation figures of the magazine.
It was considered by Edmund Burke, about forty years ago, that there were eighty thousand readers in this country. In the present year  it has been shown, by the sale of the "Penny Magazine," that there are two hundred thousand of one periodical work. It may be fairly calculated that the number of readers of that single work amounts to a million.
The magazine was illustrated with detailed wood-cuts and consisted of articles on matters of general knowledge, which, from 1833, began to appear in systematic form as The Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.
24. Bentley's miscellany. [London : Richard Bentley], 1837-1868.
Monash University Library is fortunate to possess large holdings of nineteenth century periodicals by courtesy of the Victorian Parliamentary Library, which passed on its collection to Monash in the 1960s. We have also developed this part of the collection ourselves and continue to do so.
The monthly, Bentley's Miscellany is most famous for its first editor, the young Charles Dickens. Dickens was one of Bentley's authors, and Oliver Twist ran originally in the pages of this magazine during 1837 and 1838. Dickens also wrote articles and the illustrations were provided by Cruikshank and Phiz. It was a much more entertaining and altogether lighter publication than the weighty quarterlies.
After Dickens resigned, citing too much work and too little pay, William Harrison Ainsworth succeeded him as editor. In 1868 the magazine was absorbed by Temple bar.
25. Ainsworth's magazine / edited by William Harrison Ainsworth ; illustrated by George Cruikshank. (London : Hugh Cunningham, 1842-1845)
After Ainsworth left Bentley's Miscellany in 1842, he and Cruikshank began Ainsworth's magazine.
Although this was mainly a miscellany of fiction, it also included poetry, travel accounts and serious articles. Ainsworth's own novel, The miser's daughter ran through the first volume, but among other novelists whose work was included in the magazine we find G. P. R. James, Mrs. Humphrey Ward, and Charles Lever.
26. Household words: a weekly journal /conducted by Charles Dickens. (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1850-1859)
27. All the year round : a weekly journal. (London : Chapman & Hall, 1859-1895)
These are the best-known of the magazines edited by Charles Dickens. They featured a mixture of essays and fiction, but lacked illustrations.
Household words included mostly short sketches, travel, essays and fiction, with much material on contemporary London.
Many significant novels first appeared in the pages of All the Year Round. It began on 30 April 1859 with the first instalment of A Tale of Two Cities. Among other well-known authors of the Victorian period to appear was Anthony Trollope whose novel, Is He Popenjoy? ran in All the Year Round during 1878.
28. The Cornhill magazine. (London : Smith, Elder and Co., 1860-1975)
This miscellany was begun by George Smith of the publishing firm of Smith, Elder & Co. in 1860 with Thackeray as the first editor. Trollope's Framley Parsonage ran through the early numbers. At this time Trollope was one of the most popular novelists in Britain. Thackeray's Lovel, the widower was also serialized in the early issues, appearing with illustrations.
Among the other articles we find one on "The Search for Sir John Franklin: from the private journal of an officer of the Fox, (vol. 1, 1860, p. 96-121), with a map of McClintock's expedition; and another on "Recent discoveries in Australia" (vol. 5, 1862, p. 354-364) which includes an account of Burke and Wills.
29. Saint Paul's: a monthly magazine (London, Virtue, 1867-1874)
Saint Paul's is famous for having Trollope as its editor. His political novel, Phineas Finn ran in the first volume with John Everett Millais as the illustrator. It was typical of the mid-Victorian serious magazine, including articles on such diverse topics as hunting and alpine climbing, two of Trollope's interests; "England's place in Europe", "Armaments of the five great powers"; "The uncontrolled ruffianism of London", and "The present condition and prospects of the turf".
30. The Englishwoman's domestic magazine: an illustrated journal, combining practical information, instruction, and amusement. (London: S.O. Beeton, 1852-1879)
the Ladies Monthly Museum, the Englishwoman and domestic magazine
presented its readers with fiction, recipes, domestic advice and coloured
fashion plates. One innovation was the quiz. This was a section entitled, "The Sybilline interpreter". The readers were encouraged to write in
with their own answers to such questions as "During my absence, will my
lover prove true?"
Punch. (London : Punch Publications Ltd., 1841- )
Punch is the most successful of the many humorous magazines produced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was founded by Mark Lemon and Henry Mayhew. Originally it had a strong reforming intention and specialised in cartoons and articles which as well as being political and social in their subject matter, revealed the plight of the poor of London.
However, Punch has long been known for its light and amusing comic touch in dealing with typical characters and their foibles. One of the Punch cartoons which has passed into the language appeared in the issue of 9th November 1895 (p. 222) The cartoon letterpress is headed, "True humility". We see a curate at lunch with his bishop,
Reverend Host. "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg Mr. Jones!"
was born the term "the Curate's egg". The fact that it could become
such a by-word, for anything 'good in parts,' says much for the
widespread popularity of Punch.
Because of the popularity of Punch, many magazines based on its format came into existence as editors attempted to tap into the same market. Judy was one of the most bare-faced, yet one of the most successful. It was essentially a satire of contemporary politics with Gladstone and Disraeli, and their ministers featuring in the cartoons.
copy on display is open at the Christmas number for 16th December
Melbourne punch. (East Melbourne : Melbourne Punch, 1855-1900)
Adelaide punch. (Adelaide : William Godfrey Roberts 1868-1884)
Sydney punch. (Sydney, N.S.W. : Edgar Ray, 1864-)
Punch spawned a number of colonial copies. In Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide all had their own local Punches, and so did provincial centres such as Ballarat.
36. Duffy's fireside magazine: A monthly miscellany containing original tales and legends by the most esteemed writers, reviews of popular works, selections from the works of the most eminent authors, narratives furnished by the tourist and the traveller, original poetry. (Dublin : James Duffy, 1850-1854)
This is an example of a magazine pitched at a somewhat lower level of educated readership than most of the other titles we have been describing. The serial fiction was the Adventures of an Irish Giant, by "the late Gerald Griffin". The issue for September 1851 included an article on "Plagiarisms and affected originality", by Leumas Derfla. It treated especially of plagiarism in poetry which Mr. Derfla describes as "something like hypocrisy in life - a sin, namely, of the most frequent occurrence, yet one so easily concealed that he must be a very clumsy fellow indeed to suffer it to appear in glaring colours." (vol. 1, no. xi, p. 242)
37. The Germ : thoughts towards nature in poetry, literature, and art. (London: Aylott & Jones, 1850)
38. Art and poetry : being thoughts towards nature, conducted principally by artists. (London: Aylott & Jones, 1850)
This was the organ of the artists and poets of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It was edited by William Michael Rossetti, who with his brother the poet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote most of the material. There were four numbers in all. The Germ appeared in January and February 1850, after which the name was changed to Art and Poetry which appeared twice, in March and May 1850. It included criticism of literature and art, as well as original verse. For the second issue of The Germ, Ford Madox Brown wrote, "On the mechanism of a historical picture" (no. 2, p. 70-73). This was part one only, "The design", and was unfortunately not continued. F. G. Stephens wrote an article on one of the central concerns of the Pre-Raphaelites, "The purpose and tendency of early Italian art" (no. 2, p. 58-64).
Each issue included an etching by such artists as Holman Hunt and Ford Madox Brown.
39. The Strand magazine : an illustrated monthly. (London : George Newnes, 1891-1950)
The Strand magazine is best-known for the first appearance in print of Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" stories. "A scandal in Bohemia" was the first of these, published in July 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget.
issue for March 1913 on display, as well as featuring fiction by Rider
Haggard, includes articles on seances, egg-shell carving, "Feeding baby by
hand", and "My billiards, and the strokes that made it", by John
Roberts. All are copiously illustrated.
is a magazine which specialises in detailing the deeds of the wealthy and
influential. In its early period it is best known for the full page colour
engraving of a prominent personality, usually a politician, clergyman,
sportsman, artist, writer, judge or lawyer. "Spy" was the artist who did
most of these, but the example on display, "Signor Pietro Mascagni" was
by "Lib". Mascagni, although best-known as an opera composer is seen
here in the act of conducting one of his works.
Annie Swan was a popular Scottish novelist. Her ladies magazine included some items of Australian interest. The volume on display features an article, "All about Madame Melba", by One Who Knows Her. (vol. V, p. 377-380) and "Ladies of Sydney" by Frederick Dolman (p. 435-446). The latter article, which includes many portrait photographs, features the novelists Lillian and Ethel Turner, with a photo of "Miss Turner's study".
The Yellow book : an illustrated quarterly. (London : Elkin Mathews
& John Lane ; Boston : Copeland & Day , 1894-1897)
The Yellow Book and The Savoy were the two most attractive literary and artistic magazines from the 1890s. With their art nouveau graphics by Aubrey Beardsley, they still epitomise for most the fin-de-siecle style.
The Yellow Book ran from April 1894 to April 1897. It was edited by Beardsley and Henry Harland and included all of the major authors of the period, Max Beerbohm, Richard Le Gallienne, Ernest Dowson, and Lionel Johnson. But also in evidence are mainstream writers such as Henry James, Edmund Gosse and John Buchan. Even Kenneth Grahame, later to win fame as the author of The Wind in the Willows was a Yellow Book writer.
ran from No. 1 (Jan. 1896) to no. 8 (Dec. 1896). Arthur Symons. Was the
editor and Aubrey Beardsley one of the main illustrators. The copies on
display feature Beardsley's covers and title pages. Much the same authors
contributed to The Savoy as to The Yellow Book: Ernest Dowson,
Edmund Gosse, Symons himself. Beardsley's unfinished novel, Under the
Hill was serialised in its pages. Other authors included, W. B. Yeats
and Havelock Ellis.
Nineteenth-Century Australian Magazines
44. The Australian magazine. [Sydney] : Printed by A. Cohen, "Australian" Office, 1838-1838. Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1838) to v. 1, no. 3 (Mar. 1838)
This magazine was a mixture of politics and literature. It included articles and engravings from England as well as local material. Issues one and two carried a long piece on "The Administration of Sir Richard Bourke", the former Governor of New South Wales, and issue three began with a brief article welcoming the new Governor, Sir George Gipps.
45. The Illustrated Sydney news. (Sydney : Walter George Mason, 1853-1894)
This is an example of an illustrated newspaper. Each colony had one or more of these. These were modeled on the Illustrated London News.
46. The News letter of Australasia : or narrative of events : a letter to send to friends. (Melbourne ; Sandhurst [Kent] : George Slater, - )
is a variation on the illustrated newspaper. It was generally a single leaf,
folded with an engraving on the front and a local news story, with blank
pages inside to allow the correspondent in the colonies to write back to
friends at home in England.
47. The Sydney magazine of science and art : containing, by authority, the Proceedings of the Australian Horticultural and Agricultural Society and the Philosophical Society of New South Wales / edited by Joseph Dyer. (Sydney : James W. Waugh, 1858-1859)
As well as articles on various aspects of natural history, the applications of science and new inventions we find material on such topics as "The exploration of the interior" (October 1857, p. 97), "Sanitary reform" (February 1858, p. 193), and "Music for the people", (Nov. 1858, p. 109), and, among the advertisements, a fold-out page of the sheet-music titles available from J. W. Waugh, Bookseller, Sydney (July 1858).
48. The Melbourne monthly magazine of original colonial literature. (Melbourne, 1855)
This short-lived publication (no. 1, May 1855, to no. 7 ,Nov. 1855) began with the intention of offering to the inhabitants of gold-rush Victoria their own version "of the first-class magazine literature of London, the class of which Blackwoods may be considered the type". As is often the case however, it ceased suddenly without any reference to its demise in the last issue.
This was unfortunate partly because it left unfinished a history of the Eureka Stockade by Frederick Vern, a German demagogue who took a prominent part. Orion Horne's "Notes on the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Gold-fields" (May 1855, p. 58-64) is also important. There was a definite attempt to include more literary material than political, and among the well-turned essays we find Sir William a'Beckett's account of his continental tour and James Smith's Italian sketches.
49. The Journal of Australasia. Continued by: Illustrated journal of Australasia (Melbourne : W. H. Williams; George Slater, 1856-1858)
This magazine was yet another mixture of literature and matters of general interest. It began with the publication of Batman's journal as the first article in the first issue, "The settlement of John Batman in Port Phillip. From his own journal" (July 1856, p. 1-10; August 1856, p. 52-59) Daniel Bunce's "Reminiscences of twenty-three years wanderings in the Australian colonies" also ran through two numbers (July p. 16-21; and September 1856, p. 109-112)
it is best remembered as the magazine in which "The fiction fields of
Australia", by Frederick Sinnett, first appeared (Sept. 1856, p. -105,
Nov. 1856, p. 199-208) This was the earliest critical assessment of
Australian fiction. We have on display Daniel Bunce's own copy of the
September 1856 issue.
was another magazine which promised to provide serious periodical fare for
the Australian public. It contained Marcus Clarke's earliest publications;
these were under the nom de plume of "Mark Scrivener". The series
of articles on "Australian bibliography" the Rev. J. E. Tenison Woods
gives a wealth of information on ephemeral Australian publications.
When the Australian Monthly Magazine folded for financial reasons, many of the same writers joined forces to start the Colonial monthly. The editor was George Walstab and among the serials which appeared was Marcus Clarke's novel, Long Odds.
52. Colonial society : a weekly journal of satire, fun and humor. (Sydney : Walter J. Greenup, 1868-)
title was part of the Punch sub-genre, presenting satirical articles
and verse, with political caricatures. As referred to above, each colony had
its own, localised version of Punch. There were other satirical
magazines such as Touchstone and Humbug, which appeared in
This magazine ran from January 1876 to October 1885. It was in the tradition of the serious essay periodical modeled on the Edinburgh Review, Blackwoods, or the Quarterly. It was begun by Henry Gyles Turner and some of his friends, including Alexander Sutherland, and H. K Rusden, with the express intention "to afford thoughtful men and women holding original and suggestive opinions an opportunity to express them more fully and with more prospect of permanence, than could be afforded in the daily press" It one of the most successful of the nineteenth century Australian magazines and carried papers by such notable figures as David Syme, James Smith, Thomas a'Beckett, Charles Strong, and Walter Balls Headley. Among the literary contributions we find material by Tasma, Catherine Helen Spence, including a long piece on George Eliot, and Marcus Clarke.
It was an article by Marcus Clarke which embroiled the Melbourne review in controversy in 1880. The rival periodical, Victorian review had carried one of Clarke's more belligerent pieces, "Civilization without delusion", an attack on the basis of Christian belief. The Bishop of Melbourne, Dr. Moorhouse replied, and when Clarke wrote a rebuttal of Moorhouse's reply, the Victorian review refused to publish it. Clarke then prevailed upon his friends on the editorial committee of the Melbourne review to publish it, which they did in the issue of January 1880. However, most copies were recalled and the article suppressed.
The magazine ceased publication in 1885, according to Turner, because, "as a quarterly it could command no assistance from advertisements, and the subscriptions barely paid its way."
It carried reviews of all the major publications in Australia during this period. The books noticed included literary works by colonial authors such as Marcus Clarke, Charles Harpur, and Garnet Walch, and significant works of contemporary and near-contemporary history such as the Vagabond Papers and Bonwick's Port Phillip Settlement.
54. The Victorian review / edited by H. Mortimer Franklyn. (Melbourne : The Victorian Review Publishing Co. Ltd., 1879-1886)
The Victorian review set itself up as a direct rival to the Melbourne Review, and as it had the advantage of being able to pay its contributors much better rates, soon captured many of the earlier magazine's authors.
It appeared each month and carried many substantial essays on contemporary economic and political matters, by such notable men of letters as James Smith, David Blair, Professor C. H. Pearson and James Hingston. The issue on display, Dec. 1879) includes Bishop Moorhouse's reply to Marcus Clarke as well as an article on "The Melbourne Cup for 1879", written perhaps by Franklyn himself, a devotee of the turf.
Franklyn was an American who arrived in the colony in 1879 after losing his wife's fortune, being divorced by her and, in 1878, declaring himself insolvent. He was able to convince backers in Victoria to finance not only his Victorian Review Publishing Co., but also a weekly newspaper, the Federal Australian, and an evening newspaper, the World. He used all these publications to promote his vision of a federated, free-trade Australia. However, he lost substantially on the venture and declared himself bankrupt in February 1886, with debts of £70,000.
55. Once a month : a magazine for Australasia / conducted by Peter Mercer. (Melbourne : William Inglis, 1884-1886)
As Turner remarks, "it was not very wise to introduce a third competitor while Melbourne enjoyed the unwonted luxury of two established local magazines of a higher class than anything that had gone before." All three failed at about the same time.
was somewhat lighter in tone than the other two, and included much imported
material from the English magazines. Perhaps the most lasting contribution
made by this publication was the series of "Gallery of eminent
Australasians". This consisted of portrait engravings and biographical
accounts of such personalities as James Service, Graham Berry, Henry
Clarence Kendall, Marcus Clarke, John Dunmore Lang and Samuel Marsden.
The Bulletin began on 31st January 1880. Except for a period from 1882 to 1886 when W. H. Triall sat in the editorial chair, Archibald was the editor. He gathered round him all the major literary figures of the day, such as Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, Louis Becke, and Steel Rudd. He encouraged ordinary people to contribute and was later to assert that the Bulletin "was written by half Australia and read by the whole of Australia." It soon became known as the "bushman's Bible". It was most notable in its early years for its aggressive Australian nationalism, and was the main force behind the "spirit of the nineties".
However it began a long decline in the twentieth century, and when Sidney Baker remarked on the Bulletin in his book, The Australian language (Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1945) that,
We who see that journal today as a minor weekly can have little inkling of its once immense influence, not only upon the writers and would-be writers of Australia, but upon the nation's politics. (p. 295)
The Bulletin's publishers threatened court action. Angus & Robertson agreed to withdraw all copies, substituting another page from which the offending sentence had been deleted.
57. The Lone hand. (Sydney : W. McLeod, 1907-1921)
was a monthly begun by the Sydney Bulletin publishers in May 1907.
Archibald was the driving force behind it. It usually included a colour
cover designed by one of the prominent artists of the day, most notably, by
one or other of the Lindsays. The September 1914 issue with May Gibb's
flowers" on the cover is much-sought after. There were literary pieces,
travel and politics also featured in the pages as did critical articles on
the contemporary art scene.
This was essentially a Melbourne society magazine. It featured lots of illustrations, usually of the social set of the time. In 1925 it absorbed Melbourne Punch.
59. The art-journal. [London : George Virtue, 1849-1912]
This was a monthly journal edited by Samuel Carter Hall, and provides the best source of information on Victorian artists. It also carried publications on architecture, design and the various artistic crafts. It is noted for its coverage of the fine arts at the 1851 Exhibition. The journal was heavily illustrated, Hall having been given permission by galleries and collectors to engrave works in their possession. The Queen and Prince Albert were among those who granted permission.
60. The studio : an illustrated magazine of fine and applied art. (London : Studio International Publications, 1893-1964)
The studio was one of the most influential art magazines in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It included much information on English as well as Continental artists, and on the arts and crafts movement. It was a beautifully designed publication which influenced other similar ventures such as Art in Australia.
The publishers not only issued the magazine, but also a variety of monographs.
61. Art in Australia. (Sydney, N.S.W. : Sydney Ure Smith, B. Stevens and C.L. Jones, 1916-1942)
main inspiration behind Art in Australia was Sydney Ure Smith, a
notable artist in his own right. The magazine was a beautiful production
with many tipped-in colour illustrations. It promoted many local artists
such as Thea Proctor and Margaret Preston. It was an influential publication
not only in the arts but also in contemporary style, for example in
ornamentation and interior design.
62. The New idea : a women's home journal for Australasia. (Melbourne : T.S. Fitchett, 1902-1911)
This was continued by Everylady's journal, and in 1928 the title reverted to New Idea, under which title it still appears.
original magazine was much more political than it later became, even
featuring an article on "The advance of women", by Vida Goldstein. Women's
magazines in the early twentieth-century tended to carry much material on
issues such as female suffrage and women's rights.
This version of the periodical is the direct ancestor of today's New Idea. From the first it carried a mixture of light fiction, patterns, gossip, household tips and recipes; with articles such as "Why a wife grows older first" (30 August 1929) and "Fourteen valuable feminine assets. How many of them have you got?" (11 October 1935).
The Australian woman's mirror. (Sydney : The Bulletin Newspaper,
The Australian women's weekly. (Sydney : Australian Consolidated Press,
66. Woman's day. (Melbourne : Colorgravure Publications, 1949-1950)
Woman's day and home. (Melbourne : Herald Gravure Pty. Ltd., 1950-1953)
(Melbourne : Herald and Weekly Times, 1953- )
These were the top three Australian women's magazines until the end of the 1950s. They all published material similar to that described above for the New Idea.
These magazines are important sources for Australian popular culture, fashion, and personalities. The covers form a history of Australian pre-occupations, featuring various members of the Royal Family, political wives such as Jackie Kennedy, and Susan Peacock, and various film and TV stars, as well as Australian scenes, and thematic illustrations, particularly from the war years. Barry Humphries claims that he keeps up with Australia when he is overseas by reading the Women's Weekly.
67. The Saturday evening post. (Philadelphia : G. Graham, 1839- )
the twentieth century, the Saturday Evening Post is most famous for
its Norman Rockwell covers. He was one of its major cover artists from 1916
to 1971. His images of everyday American life trace the social history of an
Picture Postis an English example of the magazine built on news photographs. It is most famous for its images of Britain at war.
69. Playboy : entertainment for men. (Chicago, Playboy, 1953- )
is the classic "Men's" magazine. It began publication in December 1953
and is still appearing. Its files are important for the insight they provide
on contemporary society standards in sexual matters. Among copies on display
we find the issue for April 1971 which included a panel discussion on
homosexuality. The issue for October 1971 featured the first black "playmate".
The third issue on display, that for September 1970, was a special on campus
life and featured a typical student of the period on the cover; it includes
an interview with Peter Fonda, the star of the cult movie, Easy Rider.
Others to be interviewed by Playboy included John Lennon, and
We have a collection of these from the period between the wars. Our holdings are strongest in the field of "Science-Fiction" and we held an exhibition of them in 1999-2000, which can still be seen on our home page.
Westerns, horror and detective titles also appeared as "pulp" magazines. A selection of these are on display.
70. American detective magazine. (Sydney : Jatkins Publishing, [194-? - 195-?])
71. Invincible detective magazine. (Sydney : Invincible Press, 1949-[195-?])
are examples of Australian pulp magazines. Their content tended to be
syndicated American stories. They are typical of the late 1940s , early
72. Man : the Australian magazine for men. (Sydney, N.S.W. : Kenneth G. Murray, 1936-1974)
Man was based to some degree on the American magazine, Esquire. It lacked the element of serious fiction which always redeemed its US counterpart, and relied more on risqué cartoons. There was some attempt to cover serious issues. In March 1938 they carried a two-page photo-spread on the Aboriginal Day of Mourning held on 26 January 1938, while the rest of Australia was celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first settlement. The accompanying article is headed, "Aborigines meet, mourn while white-man nation celebrates". It begins,
following pictures, the press was told, "Could not be got." White-man
photographers and reporters were politely refused admission to the meeting.
MAN only, made the meeting, got pictures. Man, (March 1938), p. 84.
Salt was issued free to all members of the Australian armed forces during the war. The title used to take advantage of the common request to "pass the salt", a motto which appeared on the cover of the earliest issues. Writers and artists such as Frank hardy and Ambrose Dyson worked on the staff of Salt, but many of the contributions came form the men in the field.
There was a definite attempt to educate the troops, and in the later issues much space was devoted to helping them adjust back to civilian life.
74. Australasian post. (Melbourne : Argus and Australasian Limited, 1946-1996)
The Australasian Post was a continuation of the Australasian newspaper, although it was published in magazine format and really had nothing in common with its parent. The first issue appeared on 11th April 1946, and it ceased publication on 12th October 1996.
75. Pix. (Sydney, N.S.W. : Associated Newspapers Limited, 1938-1972)
This magazine was a mixture of heavily illustrated current news stories and girlie "pix". Part of its significance for Australian historical researchers is that it gave much coverage to the war effort and particularly life on the home front.
In 1990 Picture magazine was begun, by the same publishers, as an attempt to update Pix's appeal. It too has now ceased publication.
76. Oz. (Sydney, N.S.W. : Oz Publications Ink Ltd., 1963-1969)
Oz magazine. (Sydney : OZ Publications Ink Pty. Ltd., -1970)
(London, H. Bunch Associates 1967-1973)
Oz was a satirical magazine begun by Richard Neville and Richard Walsh. Martin Sharp did many of the graphics. The first issue appeared on April Fool's Day 1963. Issue no. 6 (Feb. 1964) fell foul of the censors and Neville, Walsh and Sharp were found guilty under the Obscene and Indecent Publications Act. They were sentenced to jail terms with hard labour, a decision quashed on appeal.
and Sharp left for England where they established the London Oz, a
much better-produced and altogether more colourful publication, but this
also had its problems with the authorities.
77. Tank. (London : Tank Publications, 1998- )
This is offered as an example of the latest in fashion magazines. There are many similar titles on the newsstands now, Purple, and Spoon are others.
specialize in photographs of models posing provocatively. Such magazines are
designed to appeal to the coolest modern readership. They convey a sense of
contemporary style, and feature work by the most up-to-date designers and
The term "'zines" to refer to small, privately produced magazines, or "fanzines" began to appear in the early 1990s. With the growth of computer technology most people have access to the means of producing their own publications. 'Zines are usually a mixture of poetry, short stories, articles, and graphics, often written by one person or by a group of people, but the lack of any need for commercial viability allows people to indulge themselves in ways that may not be possible through more mainstream magazines.
Purple monkey dishwasher. (Modbury North, S.A. : Purple Monkey
80. Biblio eroticus. (Moe, Vic. : Leah Bryan, 1999-2001?)
three 'zines were produced by Leah Bryan and her friends. These
publications have a strong sexual element, so much so that Polyester Books,
one of the main 'zine outlets in Melbourne, was raided by the Police when Biblio
eroticus first appeared. After the raid, the 'zine was sold in a
plastic bag, with a free condom. From issue no. 5 onwards, the editor, Leah
Bryan, changed her name to Leah Baroque.
82. I can't use chopsticks : an Asian-Australian zine / by Lisa Pham. ([Melbourne] : L. Pham, 2002- )
Citric tangent. ([Melbourne] : MacRobertson Girls' High School Student
Writers' Group, 1999- )
'Zines are quite local in their production and circulation. They are produced in limited numbers, often on photocopying machines in Officeworks. On display are examples of productions from students at Monash University and MacRobertson Girls' High School; they were edited by Lisa Pham and Rosemary Overell.
 Henry Gyles Turner, "A final batch of Victorian magazines", Library record of Australasia, v. 1, no. 4 (Dec, 1901), p. 130. A sequel to "Some magazines of early Victoria", which appeared in the same periodical, v. 1, no. 2 (July 1901), p. 49-52; and "Some more Victorian magazines", v. 1, no. 3 (Oct. 1901) p. 87-92.
 Marcus Clarke, "Civilisation without delusion", Victorian review, no. 1, (Nov. 1879), p. 65-75.
 James Moorhouse, "Civilisation without delusion: a reply", Victorian review, no. 2 (Dec. 1879) p. 242-259.
 Turner, p. 131
 Turner, p. 132.
Exhibition and catalogue by Richard Overell, Rare Books Librarian,