Slow print : literary radicalism and late Victorian print culture

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The conditions ebook Slow print : literary radicalism and late Victorian print of the No. In this angina, coronary certain GLP-1 ligand 1: , is tried at a uroguanylin. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of Stanford University Press.

Radicalism and the press—Great Britain—History—19th century. Journalism—Political aspects—Great Britain—History—19th century.

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Palmegiano on Miller, 'Slow Print: Literary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture'

Press and politics—Great Britain—History—19th century. Printing—Great Britain—History—19th century. English literature—19th century—Political aspects. Reprinted with permission. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Feminist Studies, Inc. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. When one informational medium is superseded by another, the transfer of an archive from the old format to the new usually entails a great deal of lost or rejected material.

In the world of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century periodicals, we are currently witnessing a shift from print and microfilm archives to far more accessible digital archives; yet one wonders what kind of sources will be left out of this digitization boom. The radical newspapers and magazines that are the focus of my study will continue to be, I expect, of lowest priority in digitization projects, because of small circulations and, in many cases, short runs.

This is a project that has required, therefore, a great deal of research in brick and mortar libraries, and I would like to begin by thanking all those custodians of radical print who made this project possible. I would also like to thank the librarians at the University of California, Davis, for tracking down countless books and reels of microfilm through interlibrary loan. I was able to spend so much time in these brick and mortar archives thanks to support from a number of different organizations.

Ryskamp Fellowship enabled crucial research time in Manchester and Leeds and a research year during which I wrote much of Slow Print. Dunlap Fellowship from the William Morris Society in the United States, which helped to fund a research trip to London and a research trip to Amsterdam, respectively.

In addition, I feel very fortunate indeed to have had my research travel supported by my current and former employers, the University of California, Davis and Ohio University, and to have received a publication subsidy from the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies and the Office of Research at the University of California, Davis. I am thankful, too, for my wonderful colleagues in the English Department at UC—Davis, especially Fran Dolan and Margaret Ferguson, who have been exceptionally generous with their guidance and interest in my work.

Kathleen Frederickson, Hsuan Hsu, and John Marx all read portions of this project, and my work is better for their perceptive feedback. I owe extra special thanks to our department chair, Scott Simmon, for his support and kindness. Many thanks to my friend Laura Vroomen, who let me stay with her on a research trip to London, and to my friends Jane Rickard and Richard Meek, who put me up in Leeds. I am deeply grateful to Emily-Jane Cohen and everyone at Stanford University Press for their expert stewardship of my project.

Stanford also chose two exceptional readers whose work I very much admire, Ann Ardis and Matthew Beaumont; they gave invaluable suggestions for improvement and kindly made their identities known to me. I would also like to thank my three wonderfully resourceful graduate student research assistants: Ryan Fong, Greg Giles, and Michael Martel. My last acknowledgments go to my family. I am also grateful to Vickie Simpson and the Stratton family. Saving the most important person for the end: I owe more than I can ever say to Matthew Stratton, and I feel exceptionally fortunate to have his love and intellectual companionship.

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I would also like to thank our imminent twin sons, Ambrose and Giacomo. As I put the finishing touches on Slow Print , they are due to arrive within weeks, and I thank them for staying put long enough for me to finish the book and for livening up my final revisions with all their kicks and rolls!

The narrator, an old man who remembers the capitalist days before the Great Change, describes late Victorian commercial print culture to an audience of postprint socialists, and he emphasizes above all its speed. There is a throbbing of telephones and a clicking of telegraph needles, a rushing of messengers, a running to and fro of heated men, clutching proofs and copy.

Then begins a clatter roar of machinery catching the infection, going faster and faster, and whizzing and banging—engineers, who have never had time to wash since their birth, flying about with oil-cans, while paper runs off its rolls with a shudder of haste. The proprietor you must suppose arriving explosively on a swift motor-car, leaping out before the thing is at a standstill, with letters and documents clutched in his hand, rushing in, resolute to hustle.

You imagine all the parts of this complex lunatic machine working hysterically towards a crescendo of haste and excitement as the night wears on. The passage is a study in velocity. Words such as haste, projectile, swift, speed, rush, fast, and run fly as the narrator exhausts his supply of speedy synonyms. Radical writers sought to counter this development.

Hence the final decades of the nineteenth century witnessed not only a flood of print production aimed at mass audiences but also a corresponding surge in small-scale radical periodicals, or slow print. What I call slow print is print that actively opposed literary and journalistic mass production; it was often explicitly political in objective, as socialist, anarchist, and other radical groups came to believe that large-scale mass-oriented print was no way to bring about revolutionary social change.

With the emergence of a mass public came manifold countercurrents, erupting against a broad trend toward the rapid mass production of literature and print for larger and larger audiences. In this book I investigate anticapitalist print and literary countercultures in this key moment of literary, print, and media history. From the onset of the socialist revival around to the early years of the twentieth century, Britain saw a flourishing of radical political activity as well as an explosion of print production.

As circulations became larger and larger, ownership became narrower and narrower; newspaper capitalists such as Lord Northcliffe, Arthur Pearson, and George Newnes built publishing empires by launching and acquiring many periodicals, a mode of ownership that resembled the major forms of ownership in general industrial production.

The methods and attitudes of capitalist business. On the heels of such changes, Britain saw a dramatic rise in the number of printed periodicals: from magazines published in to 1, in , 2, in , and 2, in Keating 32— Literary historians have focused on such numbers as evidence of a new mass market in publishing, but many of the new periodicals were small, specialized, and independent organs oriented toward alternative publics.

For example, hundreds of British radical papers originated in this era, and this microsurge in the radical press paralleled the macrosurge of periodical publishing in general. The print community that emerged in British radical circles during these years directed itself, for better or worse, to a small-scale audience, a political and aesthetic counterculture, a public that defined itself against a mass-oriented, mainstream print culture. Such an orientation developed, in part, from the ideas of John Ruskin, whose critique of modern labor, industry, and information networks is everywhere apparent in the late-century radical press, although his name is not often invoked.

According to Brian Maidment, Ruskin deplored the commercial press and "above all the quantity of Victorian popular journalism because it created a baffling proliferation of information" In Ruskin began to publish his letters to workmen, Fors Clavigera , which were issued in monthly installments for a yearly subscription and continued with some interruptions until He sought to bypass the infrastructure of commercial publication altogether by issuing the pamphlets himself at a fixed and expensive price, with no advertisements or trade discounts.

As he wrote in his December letter: I find it. Some late-century radical writers were more conscious than others of the dangers of coterie authorship, but across radical writing, at the heart of the move toward slow print, was widespread doubt about whether a mass public could exist outside capitalism. Was it possible to imagine a wide, anonymous public outside capitalist ideology? The radical turn away from mass audiences was thus not merely elitist or bourgeois, although it sometimes was that.

It was, at heart, anticapitalist. The duality inherent in the rejection of the mass market—that it seemingly required a degree of elitism or exclusivity, a betrayal of the democratic ideal, in the service of rejecting capitalist networks of production—was the central challenge for radical writers, and it created the literary and cultural dynamic from which literary modernism would emerge. This dynamic little resembled the situation of radical print and radical communities in the first half of the nineteenth century.

The first chapter of E. For Thompson this rule, instituted in the pivotal political moment of the s, is "one of the hinges upon which history turns. The rule of unlimited membership ascribed a democratic sensibility to the notion of limitless scale, evident in discussions of free print in the period Thompson analyzes, — As William St.


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Clair notes, these years saw the last sustained attempt by the British state to control the minds of the British people by controlling the print to which they had access Under such conditions the radical press became, as David Vincent puts it, both the vehicle and the object of political protest There is perhaps no country in the world, Thompson says, in which the contest for the rights of the press was so sharp, so emphatically victorious, and so peculiarly identified with the cause of the artisans and labourers Ian Haywood describes the sense of optimism, self-confidence and ambition which fuelled radical periodicals.

Spreading the gospel of the radical enlightenment could only be achieved by constant proliferation and expansion" Revolution Thus early nineteenth-century radical print culture associated successful class-oriented protest with rapid and large-scale expansion into a potentially limitless print frontier. As Thompson notes, early nineteenth-century radicals thought that the only limit imposed to the diffusion of reason and knowledge was that imposed by the inadequacy of the means. The phrase multiplication of mind, coined by radical journalist Richard Carlile, epitomizes the celebratory tone of a techno-determinist account in early nineteenth-century conceptions of radical print, as Kevin Gilmartin puts it Did print function as a synecdoche for capitalism, wordlessly conveying the values of mass production, homogeneity, and invisible labor?

Could this capitalist technology—which in its very form implies standardization and the mechanization of manual labor handwriting —be used to produce anticapitalist political effects? These were the questions of the day for radical writers at the end of the nineteenth century, and the answer, for many of them, involved purposefully reducing the scale of print by appealing to a small, countercultural audience.

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By redirecting independent small-scale print toward a limited community, these writers hoped to resist the political failings of a mass-produced medium. By focusing on the literary culture of the radical press—the literature published within and around radical periodicals—I suggest that literature was a crucial means by which the turn-of-the-century radical counterpublic defined itself against capitalist mass print culture.

In a wide survey of radical journals of the era, I have found that all of them included literature, to varying extents: poetry, serialized novels, short fiction, drama, and dialogues in addition to reviews and criticism of contemporary theater, fiction, and literary culture. As Peter Kropotkin remarks in his Memoirs of a Revolutionist , the socialist cause has never been rich in books. Its main force lies in its small pamphlets and its newspapers The same is true of its literary culture.

Within this radical sphere, we find a series of debates concerning how to use literature as an agent of radical change, how to make and distribute print literature without compromising anticapitalist values, and how to situate radical values within an evolving media ecology—a nascent mass media sphere characterized by New Journalism, ghostwriting, celebrity authorship, and other shifts in the modern author function. Working within the radical print sphere, these writers sought to explore medium as a conveyor of meaning, and they struggled with the common challenge of how to start a mass movement without using what they understood to be aesthetically and politically compromised mass media.

Despite a shared aversion to literary mass production, they rarely agreed on how best to use literature or print to effect radical change, and their work exhibits a considerable variety of media strategies and literary modes. William Morris, for example, would produce artisanal, handcrafted books through the Kelmscott Press, while George Bernard Shaw sought to vivify the radical public by merging radical print with the radical stage. At the same time, such writers were participating in major literary and aesthetic debates raging outside the radical sphere: aestheticism and the autonomy of art, naturalism, the decline of the Victorian novel, the dramatic revival, and the protomodernist rejection of Victorian literary convention.

The literary culture that emerged from turn-of-the-century radical print complicates and contextualizes critical understandings of a modernist rupture from Victorian literary sensibilities. Although critics such as Jonathan Rose have argued that the fundamental motive behind the modernist movement was a corrosive hostility toward the common reader and that modernist writers strove to maintain social distinctions in an increasingly democratic and educated society because they felt threatened by the prospect of a more equal distribution of culture , literature of the late-century radical press reminds us that the protomodernist backlash against mass print culture was also anticapitalist, an expression of class critique.

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The term radical , which I use throughout this book, denoted in the early nineteenth century an anti-government or limited-government perspective. Class-oriented social protest literature at the end of the century does not sit easily under the term radical , both because of internal conflict over the role of state structures in achieving classlessness e. And there can be no radical reform of the present hateful condition of society without advancing Social Democracy 25 November 1. This focus on attacking the root of social dysfunction was characteristic of turn-of-the-century class radicalism.

The term radical is not a perfect terminological solution, but neither are other potential descriptors such as socialist which would exclude anarchist and labor groups that actively rejected that label , labor or working-class which would include some apolitical or politically tepid print organs and would exclude middle-class groups such as the Fabians or the Fellowship of the New Life that shared the objective of a classless society , or left-wing which might include left-wing Liberals who did not advocate thoroughgoing economic change.


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The commodious term radical suits a print community that defined itself against mainstream culture yet left ideological divisions among groups loose and unenforced. Indeed, although much has been written about hair-splitting over doctrine in the late Victorian left MacKenzie and MacKenzie 71 —rifts emerged, for example, between reformist and revolutionary, nationalist and internationalist approaches—a strong collective spirit also led diverse groups to work together.

For example, Charlotte Wilson edited the most important British anarchist paper of the era, Freedom , but in the s she was a member of the Fabian Society, a group that advocated incremental reform on the path to state socialism. Shaw, a fellow Fabian, collegially wrote an anarchist essay for her to publish in Freedom , more to shew Mrs Wilson my idea of the line an anarchist paper should take in England than as an expression of my own convictions Collected Letters 1: