The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction After the Invention of the News

The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction After the Invention of the News

by Matthew Rubery
     
 

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Arising in the 1800s and soon drawing a million readers a day, the commercial press profoundly influenced the work of Brontë, Braddon, Dickens, Conrad, James, Trollope, and others who mined print journalism for fictional techniques. Five of the most important of these narrative conventions—the shipping intelligence, personal advertisement, leading article

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Overview

Arising in the 1800s and soon drawing a million readers a day, the commercial press profoundly influenced the work of Brontë, Braddon, Dickens, Conrad, James, Trollope, and others who mined print journalism for fictional techniques. Five of the most important of these narrative conventions—the shipping intelligence, personal advertisement, leading article, interview, and foreign correspondence—show how the Victorian novel is best understood alongside the simultaneous development of newspapers. In highly original analyses of Victorian fiction, this study also captures the surprising ways in which public media enabled the expression of private feeling among ordinary readers: from the trauma caused by a lover's reported suicide to the vicarious gratification felt during a celebrity interview; from the distress at finding one's behavior the subject of unflattering editorial commentary to the apprehension of distant cultures through the foreign correspondence. Combining a wealth of historical research with a series of astute close readings, The Novelty of Newspapers breaks down the assumed divide between the epoch's literature and journalism and demonstrates that newsprint was integral to the development of the novel.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In exploring what the nineteenth-century novel learned from the newspapers, Matthew Rubery also uncovers how private lives unfolded in a changing public sphere. Sensitive to feeling, attentive to form, The Novelty of Newspapers exemplifies the study of print culture at its very best."-Amanda Claybaugh, Columbia University

"Matthew Rubery's stylish, lively and richly researched book obliges us to re-examine Walter Benjamin's claim that the rise of the commercial newspaper press, which championed an impoverished utilitarian idea of 'communicable experience,' did lasting damage to the novel. By showing us how complex, inventive, and fraught the crossover between the novel and the press was in the late Victorian period, Rubery not only sheds new light on Braddon, Eliot, James, Thackeray, Stoker, among many others, but he also encourages us to question the rivalry between journalism and literature, which remains as pressing for us today as it was in the1930s." -Peter D. McDonald, St Hugh's College, Oxford

"[A] strong book." —Victorian Studies

"Well-researched and suggestive...Rubery's work will be an important reference point for our continuing attempts to understand the distinctiveness and the internal dynamics of modern print culture. " —RaVoN: Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net

"Groundbreaking and richly informative." —Philogical Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195369274
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/01/2014
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Rubery is a Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the editor or coeditor of Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (Routledge, 2011) and Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism (Broadview, 2012).

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