Victorian Print Culture, Journalism and the Novel

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Rubery, Matthew. “Victorian Print Culture, Journalism and the Novel.” Literature Compass. 7.4 (2010): 290-300. Web.

Matthew Rubery’s essay observes that researchers who study print culture encounter two methodological difficulties when examining Victorian periodicals. Rubery argues that scholars, on the one hand, have a tendency to evaluate the periodical in the same way they would with a literary text. The periodical’s “polyvocal and open-ended nature” (292) challenges the notion of authorship differently from that of literary texts. The second problem arises when scholars prioritize the periodical as the principal source of information for the historical context of the era’s print culture. Rubery notes that the emergence of digital archives offers a remediation of these two methodological concerns, and cites 19th Century British Library Newspapers, 19th Century UK Periodicals, Proquest’s British Periodicals collections, and Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition as examples of the growing accessibility to useful periodical resources. Digital archives, Rubery concludes, offer a new comprehension of Victorian print culture in a way that considers journalism alongside literary tradition.