Even during this its greatest period, however, Romanticism had for a time a hard battle to fight, and a chief literary fact of the period was the founding and continued success of the first two important English literary and political quarterlies, 'The Edinburgh Review
' and 'The Quarterly Review,' which in general stood in literature for the conservative eighteenth century tradition and violently attacked all, or almost all, the Romantic poets.
Chesterton jibes in one of his Father Brown narratives, "One of his hobbies was to wait for the American Shakespeare--a hobby more patient than angling," and Sydney Smith asks in a January 1820 issue of the Edinburgh Review
, "In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?" Novels from America were largely dismissed by British critics as sentimental and lacking in literary quality; Russian works of fiction were seen as curiosities.
Lockhart's partisan attack (in Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk, 1819) on David Hume and his contemporaries as proxies for the Whig literati of the Edinburgh Review
: the arid cosmopolitan rationalism of Enlightenment thought, Lockhart claimed, stifled an authentically national literature rooted in local feelings and associations.
Cross's 1885 biography of Eliot (Edinburgh Review
), but Eliot, like Austen, was a touchstone for Oliphant, often appearing in her critical pieces on other writers.
Leading the charge was the Edinburgh Review
, which in July 1808 reinforced Samuel Whitbread's warning against "being romantic in the cause of [Spanish] liberty." (7) The journal's commitment to an anti-romantic and pro-peace Whig portrayal of the conflict turned on two practically minded questions: "whether or not the Spaniards are likely to succeed" and "how are they to seek success." (8) Attempting to "preach reason in a conflict of passions," the author, Henry Brougham, concluded that despite their noble efforts, the superiority of Napoleon's army almost guaranteed "that the Spaniards [would] be defeated.
Nowadays few are those (even academic specialists) who read or have read the Edinburgh Review
. This distinguished and influential quarterly was published from 1802 to 1929, but its high point was the early nineteenth century.
The essays include such topics as revaluing nineteenth-century Scottish literature, the national literatures of Scotland and the USA, the Edinburgh Review
and the outside world, hero ballads as a form of resistance, lateral biography, the iconography of the nineteenth-century soldier, Scottish orientalism, missionary tales of Africa, Scottish/Germanic literary tradition in the Romantic period, Nietzsche in Glasgow, Stevenson's journeys, and the enchanted worlds of Scott, Scotland, and the Grimm.
At stake was the definition of and claim on national culture, and at the center of this cultural warfare stood two rival journals: the neo-Enlightenment, liberal Edinburgh Review
and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, the main architect of the counter-Enlightenment Romantic ideology.
Longmans also published periodicals including the Edinburgh Review
, the Annual Register, and the English Historical Review.
With Archibald Constable, Longman also published The Edinburgh Review
"The first association known to me between the words amateur and astronomer appeared in the July, 1807, Edinburgh Review