The Death of Maggie Scott: Blackwood’s, the Scots Magazine and Periodical Eras

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Abstract

Blackwood’s Magazine proudly characterised itself as a radical break with its periodical predecessors, an opinion shared by many historians of periodical literature. Blackwood’s and the many magazines which followed it seem part of a literary culture dominated by markedly new conditions: a much larger audience and a decisively commercial motivation for publishing. Older magazines, notably the Scots and Gentleman’s magazines, seem representatives of a past age in which the relationship between writer and consumer that Blackwood’s mobilised was instead a relationship between writers and readers who could themselves become writers. Yet Blackwood’s, in the very act of claiming its periodical modernity, did so through incessant allusion to these magazines, allusions that seem all the odder given that they are directed towards a reading public that the magazine seems to assume has forgotten magazines like the Scots. This chapter will suggest that this allows us to question the conventional history of periodical culture in the long eighteenth century. It might be that the Blackwood’s writers were repaying a debt to magazines like the Scots which had been before them, fashioning new ways of reaching and commanding the attention of an audience that was dominated by the inundation of print.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBefore Blackwood’s: Scottish Journalism in the Age of Enlightenment
EditorsAlex Benchimol, Rhona Brown, David Shuttleton
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPickering and Chatto
Pages117-128
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781848935501
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameThe Enlightenment World
PublisherPickering and Chatto

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