Herman Melville Among the Magazines Book Cover

Graham Thompson, Herman Melville Among the Magazines

The book details the practices and priorities of an evolving US periodical culture by elaborating Melville’s “embeddedness” (8–13) within it. The method foregrounds Thompson’s expert command of the author’s correspondence, publishing relationships, and bibliography. The book takes a “writer’s eye” (7) view with accounts of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and Putnam’s Monthly focalized through Melville’s transactions with the attendant circle of publishers, editors, and printers.

Cover for On Company Time

Donal Harris, On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines

On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines provides a valuable addition to the history of American literary modernism by highlighting the ways it “evolve[d] within rather than against the mass print culture of its moment” (8). Using a “literary-historical interpretation” that seeks to transcend traditional periodical genres, Harris convincingly demonstrates the interrelationship between a subset of commercial periodicals he identifies as distinct for their focus on textual and visual style above content (which he labels “big magazines”) and stylistic innovations and cultural understandings of American modernism in the first half of the twentieth century.

Howard Cox and Simon Mowatt, Revolutions from Grub Street: A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain

Covering magazine publishing from Grub Street until the recent past, Howard Cox and Simon Mowatt have produced a magisterial account of the industry. Throughout this study, the focus is on consumer magazines and the publishing companies that bring them to market. The result is a book that manages to weave together the various technical innovations, magazine launches, labour disputes, and corporate takeovers into an enthralling narrative that takes readers from the small print shops and jobbing journalists of the hand-press era right up to the emergence of the iPad.