previous next


Chapter 20: magazines, annuals, and gift-books,

I. Magazines

Of the short-lived literary journals that were founded before and during the American Revolution, none appears to have survived the closing years of that struggle. Hardly had peace been declared, however, before new magazines were undertaken, and throughout the years covered by this chapter much of the literary history of America is bound up with a history of its periodicals. A complete account of American magazines during the early part of this period would be to a great extent a story of literary Chauvinism, of absurd literary ambition on the part of individuals and of communities, of misplaced faith in the literary tastes and interests of the people. The many failures are reminders of the unattained intellectual ambitions of the nation; a few commercially prosperous magazines furnish an index to the taste of the average reader; and a few show the best that was being thought and written. In a brief presentation only the most general tendencies can be considered and a few magazines cited as examples of important types. For convenience the period may be divided roughly into two sub-periods, one extending from the close of the Revolution to the close of the War of 1812, the other from 1815 to 1850.1

1 In this treatment it will be unnecessary to draw any sharp line between ‘literary’ magazines and those that were largely religious or scientific. The distinction between magazines and newspapers is more troublesome. By agreement with the author of the following chapter literary weeklies, except in one or two cases to be noted, will be considered as newspapers rather than as magazines.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1850 AD (1)
1815 AD (1)
1812 AD (1)
1783 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: