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Date of Award


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Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Ainsworth's Magazine: A Miscellany of Romance, General Literature, and Art made its first appearance in February, 1842. Owned and edited by William Harrison Ainsworth, illustrated by George Cruikshank, published in London by Hugh Cunningham, it was a bargin at eighteen pence. To a greater extent than any of its predecessors, Ainsoworth's was a literary magazine. Previous successful monthlies had been owned by publishing houses, with literary editors at the finanical and ideological mercy of the publishers--according to the literary men. Ainswroth's hope was that a plan, which invests the real property and the real responsibility of a Magaine in literary hands, may give great freedom to writers...and therefore be more favourable to the prosperous exercise of their talents, than is frequently the case under established arrangements.1 This freedom, however, was not to be licence. Although free of a publisher's restrictions, this was to be a family magazine, "addressed not to Mothers only, but to Daughers."2 The necessity to preserve the virture and vacuity of the minds of these young persons was laready beginning to diminate the Victorian literary scene. Ainsworth's Magazine had its initial success assured in the person of its owner-editor, William Harrison Ainsworth. By the time he undertook proprietorship of a magazine, Ainsworth had been a publisher, an editor, a contributor to the popular annuals and monthlies of the day, and had written six best-selling romances.

Historical romances; sporting, domestic, and social novels; travel books; scientific and pseudoscientific studies; and biographies were among the books with wied appeal, and they were given serious consideration in the magazine. Not only the books reviewed, but the reviews themselves, are an important part of the context of the writings of the novelists and prose writers of the era to whom we give our serious consideration today.





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