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Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernism (review)

By David Finkelstein


The period between the emergence in the 1880s in Great Britain of the New Woman and “New Journalism,” and modernism’s high point of cultural influence in the 1920s saw an avalanche of print periodical publications in transatlantic settings. It is estimated that between 1885 and 1905, over seven thousand five hundred new periodicals were launched in the United States alone, with over two hundred fifty little magazines founded and in circulation by century’s end. In Great Britain there was similar print journal growth, and by 1922 the country could boast more than fifty thousand periodicals in circulation, servicing a wide variety of constituents, from general interest readers to specialist trade and professional groups.\ud \ud An essay collection can only hope to scratch the surface of such plethora of print. This volume attempts the challenging task of offering insight into this media avalanche, focusing in particular on undervalued aspects of modernist periodical discourse and production. As the editors point out, however, their goal is to upend traditional discussions of modernist literary production: the issue isn’t that modernist magazine work has not been evaluated in the past, but rather that such studies have been framed in narrow terms of aesthetic, elitist, and high cultural worth. With the advent of interest in print culture studies that seeks to broaden such agendas to encompass mass culture, technological change, capitalist enterprise, and the commodification of text, the time is now ripe for a revaluation of modernism’s place in contemporary media production. The goals are lofty, and this volume partially succeeds in its aim o

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