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periodical,a publication that is issued regularly. It is distinguished from the newspapernewspaper,
publication issued periodically, usually daily or weekly, to convey information and opinion about current events. Early Newspapers
The earliest recorded effort to inform the public of the news was the Roman Acta diurna,
..... Click the link for more information. in format in that its pages are smaller and are usually bound, and it is published at weekly, monthly, quarterly, or other intervals, rather than daily. Periodicals range from technical and scholarly journals to illustrated magazines for mass circulation.
Evolution of Periodicals
The French Journal des scavans (1665–1792), edited by "Sieur de Hedouville" (Denis de Sallo), is considered to have been the first periodical. A literary, scientific, and art weekly, it was widely imitated in Europe. German periodicals began late in the 18th cent. as information magazines in dialogue form, later evolving into literary and scientific journals. Under Hitler periodicals were primarily vehicles of Nazi propaganda, and the traditional magazines were suppressed or destroyed.
Toward the end of the 17th cent. periodicals patterned after the Journal des scavans began to appear in England. The success of Sir Richard SteeleSteele, Sir Richard,
1672–1729, English essayist and playwright, b. Dublin. After studying at Charterhouse and Oxford, he entered the army in 1694 and rose to the rank of captain by 1700. His first book, a moral tract entitled The Christian Hero, appeared in 1701.
..... Click the link for more information. 's Tatler (1709–11) and its successor, the Spectator (1711–12), written almost entirely by Steele and by Joseph AddisonAddison, Joseph,
1672–1719, English essayist, poet, and statesman. He was educated at Charterhouse, where he was a classmate of Richard Steele, and at Oxford, where he became a distinguished classical scholar.
..... Click the link for more information. , ushered in the great 18th-century English periodical literature. The Rambler (1750–52) virtually made Samuel JohnsonJohnson, Samuel,
1709–84, English author, b. Lichfield. The leading literary scholar and critic of his time, Johnson helped to shape and define the Augustan Age. He was equally celebrated for his brilliant and witty conversation.
..... Click the link for more information. 's reputation; he contributed to all but five of its 208 issues. Tobias SmollettSmollett, Tobias George
, 1721–71, Scottish novelist. After studying at Glasgow he came to London in 1739. Failing to get his tragedy The Regicide produced, he shipped as a surgeon's mate in the British navy the following year.
..... Click the link for more information. and Dr. Johnson wrote for the Tory Critical Review (1756–1817). The monthly Gentleman's Magazine (1731–1868) was the first to use the word magazine in the sense of a periodical for entertainment.
Among the foremost English periodicals of the 19th cent. were the Edinburgh Review (1802–1929), which numbered among its contributors Sir Walter Scott, Thomas Macaulay, Thomas Carlyle, Matthew Arnold, and William Hazlitt; Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (renamed Blackwood's Magazine; 1817–1980), noted for satire; The Spectator (1828–); and the Westminster Review (1824–1914), an organ of Benthamite reform (see BenthamBentham, Jeremy,
1748–1832, English philosopher, jurist, political theorist, and founder of utilitarianism. Educated at Oxford, he was trained as a lawyer and was admitted to the bar, but he never practiced; he devoted himself to the scientific analysis of morals and
..... Click the link for more information. , Jeremy). Nineteenth-century English novels often appeared first as magazine serials. Charles DickensDickens, Charles,
1812–70, English author, b. Portsmouth, one of the world's most popular, prolific, and skilled novelists. Early Life and Works
The son of a naval clerk, Dickens spent his early childhood in London and in Chatham.
..... Click the link for more information. edited Household Words (1850–59) and All the Year Round (1859–95), and many of his novels appeared in them. The Cornhill Magazine (1860–1975), first edited by W. M. ThackerayThackeray, William Makepeace
, 1811–63, English novelist, b. Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. He is important not only as a great novelist but also as a brilliant satirist. In 1830, Thackeray left Cambridge without a degree and later entered the Middle Temple to study law.
..... Click the link for more information. , published his last two novels and some by Mrs. Gaskell and by Anthony Trollope.
The Yellow Book (1894–97), edited by Aubrey BeardsleyBeardsley, Aubrey Vincent
, 1872–98, English illustrator and writer, b. Brighton. Beardsley exemplifies the aesthetic movement in English art of the 1890s (see decadents).
..... Click the link for more information. and Henry HarlandHarland, Henry,
1861–1905, American novelist, b. St. Petersburg, Russia, studied at Harvard. He traveled extensively in Europe during his childhood. His first novels were written under the pseudonym Sidney Luska and dealt with immigrant Jewish life in the United States.
..... Click the link for more information. , was notable for literature, humor, and illustrations. The humorous weekly Punch (1841–1992), remains the most famous of its kind. The Economist (1843–), despite its name, is an international newsweekly with a larger readership in the United States than in Britain. At first, publication of periodicals was hampered by difficulties of distribution. Postage was practically prohibitive; since postmasters could frank (mail without charge) what they sent out, they frequently became publishers.
The United States
Before the American Revolution only about 15 periodicals, with an average life of 10 months, were published. Andrew BradfordBradford, Andrew,
1686–1742, colonial printer of Pennsylvania, b. Philadelphia; son of William Bradford (1663–1752). Andrew learned the trade in his father's shop in New York City and in 1712 went to Philadelphia, where he established his own press and became a
..... Click the link for more information. 's American Magazine; or, A Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies (Philadelphia, 1741), Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine and Historical Chronicle (Philadelphia, 1741), and William BradfordBradford, William,
1722–91, American Revolutionary printer and patriot; grandson of William Bradford (1663–1752). He learned printing from his uncle, Andrew Bradford, in Philadelphia, and in 1742 he set up his own shop.
..... Click the link for more information. 's American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle (Philadelphia, 1757–58) were the most notable. During the Revolution outstanding periodicals included the Pennsylvania Magazine (Philadelphia, 1775–76), edited by Thomas PainePaine, Thomas,
1737–1809, Anglo-American political theorist and writer, b. Thetford, Norfolk, England. The son of a working-class Quaker, he became an excise officer and was dismissed from the service after leading (1772) agitation for higher salaries.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the United States Magazine (Philadelphia, 1779).
After the war periodicals appeared in large numbers. Of more than 70 established before 1800 the most notable were the Columbian Magazine (1786–92); the Massachusetts Magazine (1789–96); and the New York Magazine (1790–97). One of the best-known American magazines of the early 19th cent. was the Port Folio (Philadelphia, 1801–27). The most important review in America was the North American Review (1815–1940). Among its editors were Jared SparksSparks, Jared,
1789–1866, American historian and educator, b. Willington, Conn. He studied theology, mathematics, and natural philosophy at Harvard (1817–19).
..... Click the link for more information. , Edward EverettEverett, Edward
, 1794–1865, American orator and statesman, b. Dorchester, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1811; M.A., 1814). In 1814 he became a Unitarian minister in Boston, but, appointed (1815) professor of Greek literature at Harvard, he went abroad to study at the Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. , E. T. Channing, James Russell LowellLowell, James Russell,
1819–91, American poet, critic, and editor, b. Cambridge, Mass. He was influential in revitalizing the intellectual life of New England in the mid-19th cent. Educated at Harvard (B.A., 1838; LL.B., 1840), he abandoned law for literature.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Henry AdamsAdams, Henry,
1838–1918, American writer and historian, b. Boston; son of Charles Francis Adams (1807–86). He was secretary (1861–68) to his father, then U.S. minister to Great Britain.
..... Click the link for more information. . The New-York Mirror (1823–57) attained eminence for literary reviews and superior typography and illustration. Edgar Allan Poe contributed critical essays.
The period from 1830 to 1850 saw the rise of nationally circulated monthlies. Advertising, a minor factor since its introduction in 1741 in the General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, became a mainstay of publishing. Godey's Lady's Book (Philadelphia, 1830–92; New York, 1892–98), edited from 1837 to 1877 by Sarah Josepha HaleHale, Sarah Josepha (Buell),
1788–1879, American author, editor, and feminist, b. near Newport, N.H. In 1828 she became editor of the Ladies' Magazine, Boston, and in 1837 of Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia, where she remained over 40 years.
..... Click the link for more information. , was among the most famous periodicals for women; its colored fashion plates are valued today by collectors.
Among the notable American periodicals with long histories are the Atlantic Monthly (Boston, 1857–), edited for 10 years (1871–81) by William Dean HowellsHowells, William Dean,
1837–1920, American novelist, critic, and editor, b. Martins Ferry, Ohio. Both in his own novels and in his critical writing, Howells was a champion of realism in American literature.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Harper's Magazine (New York, 1850–), which, fully illustrated with woodcuts and carrying serial installments of English novels, achieved new heights of popularity; and the weekly Saturday Evening Post (Philadelphia, 1821–1971). Scribner's Monthly was renamed the Century Illustrated Magazine (1881) and the Century Monthly (1925) and united (1929) with the Forum to form the Forum and Century (1930–40).
Noted American weeklies included Harper's Weekly (New York, 1857–1916), for which George W. Curtis wrote famous editorials and Thomas NastNast, Thomas,
1840–1902, American caricaturist, illustrator, and painter, b. Landau, Germany. He was brought to the United States in 1846. He began his career as a draftsman for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly.
..... Click the link for more information. drew cartoons; and the Independent (New York and Boston, 1848–1928), at first Congregationalist under Henry Ward BeecherBeecher, Henry Ward,
1813–87, American Congregational preacher, orator, and lecturer, b. Litchfield, Conn.; son of Lyman Beecher and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe. He graduated from Amherst in 1834 and attended Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati.
..... Click the link for more information. (1861–63) and Theodore TiltonTilton, Theodore,
1835–1907, American journalist, b. New York City. After working for the New York Observer he was (1863–71) editor in chief of the Independent, a Congregationalist weekly.
..... Click the link for more information. (1863–70) but later a nonsectarian, crusading publication. The Overland Monthly (San Francisco, 1868–1935) had many distinguished contributors and was edited (1868–70) by Bret HarteHarte, Bret
(Francis Brett Harte) , 1836–1902, American writer of short stories and humorous verse, b. Albany, N.Y. At 19 he went to California, where he tried his hand at teaching, clerking, and mining.
..... Click the link for more information. . The sensational exposés by the muckrakersmuckrakers,
name applied to American journalists, novelists, and critics who in the first decade of the 20th cent. attempted to expose the abuses of business and the corruption in politics.
..... Click the link for more information. of political, social, and economic injustices brought fame to McClure's (New York, 1893–1928); Hampton's Magazine (New York, 1898–1912); Cosmopolitan (New York, 1886–, greatly altered in 1965); Collier's (New York, 1880–1957); and others.
The New Yorker (1925–) is known for urbane humor and high literary standards. Reader's Digest (1922–), a small-format monthly, first offered condensations of books and magazine articles, and now prints original reports as well. It has built a vast circulation and issues many foreign-language editions. News is summarized, analyzed, and categorized according to topics each week in Time (New York, 1923–); Newsweek (New York, in print 1933–2012, 2014–; online only 2013–14), which formerly competed more directly with Time, now emphasizes opinion and commentary. The great picture weeklies Life (1936) and Look (1937), despite their enormous circulations, succumbed in the late 1960s and early 70s to the pressure of rising production costs and television competition that profoundly injured all but special-interest magazine publishing. Life was revived from 1978 to 2000 as a monthly and has since been reissued in occasional special editions and as a newspaper insert (2004–7).
During the 18th cent. periodicals intended for special-interest groups were developed, and magazines for lawyers, musicians, artisans, and for women appeared. By the late 19th cent. magazines were reaching an audience of mass consumers; they were produced by new and faster printing processes, and they were supported by advertising. The new social critics joined literary innovators to create a number of specialized periodicals. The minority appeal of these journals limited their circulation and dictated modest formats; hence they were dubbed the little magazineslittle magazine,
term used to designate certain magazines that have as their purpose the publication of art, literature, or social theory by comparatively little-known writers.
..... Click the link for more information. . Many were short-lived; others survived because contributions of readers or philanthropists met their deficits. Yet because their readership comprised intellectuals and public figures, their influence far exceeded their circulation.
The Nation (1865–), was a forerunner of this movement. Another liberal journal, the New Republic (1909–), has had among its editors Walter LippmannLippmann, Walter,
1889–1974, American essayist and editor, b. New York City. He was associate editor of the New Republic in its early days (1914–17), but at the outbreak of World War I he left to become Assistant Secretary of War, later helping to prepare data
..... Click the link for more information. (1914–17) and Henry A. WallaceWallace, Henry Agard,
1888–1965, vice president of the United States (1941–45), b. Adair co., Iowa; grad. Iowa State Univ. He was (1910–24) associate editor of Wallaces' Farmer,
..... Click the link for more information. (1946–48). The American Mercury (1924–50) was founded by H. L. MenckenMencken, H. L.
(Henry Louis Mencken) , 1880–1956, American editor, author, and critic, b. Baltimore, studied at the Baltimore Polytechnic. Probably America's most influential journalist, he began his career on the Baltimore Morning Herald
..... Click the link for more information. , its editor until 1933; it opposed orthodoxy in general. The Saturday Review (1924–86), formerly the Saturday Review of Literature, was a significant journal of literary and art criticism. The Partisan Review (1933–83), a liberal quarterly, became celebrated for its literary and political articles, as did the New Leader (1924–). Conservative magazines, arising in response to the liberal ones, include Common Sense (1932–46) and the National Review (1955–), founded by William F. BuckleyBuckley, William Frank, Jr.,
1925–2008, American editor, author, and lecturer, b. New York City, grad. Yale, 1946. A popular, eloquent, and witty spokesman for the conservative point of view, Buckley helped found the modern conservative movement and played an important
..... Click the link for more information. , Jr.
By 1900 the number of American monthlies had expanded to about 1,800, reaching nearly 1 million families. Magazines for women came to dominate magazine circulation. The most important of these were the Ladies' Home Journal (1883–), the Woman's Home Companion (1873–1955), McCall's Magazine (1870–2001) and Vogue (1892–). Vanity Fair (1913–36), devoted to literature and the arts, was superbly edited (by Frank Crowninshield) and designed. It was revived in 1981 as a glossy mixture of profiles of celebrities and more serious articles.
Specialized periodicals serve most professions, industries, and organizations. The oldest American scientific periodicals include the American Journal of Science (New Haven, 1818–), the Franklin Journal (Philadelphia, 1826–1828), and the Scientific American (1845–). National Geographic Magazine (1888–), devoted to natural history, travel, and anthropological subjects, was one of the first periodicals to use color photographs. The proliferation of special-interest magazines in the 1980s was aimed at audiences interested in certain subjects, such as parenting, travel, or music.
Other specialized magazines of interest include Ms. (1972–), a forum for the women's liberation movement; Publishers Weekly, a trade journal of book publishing; Sports Illustrated (1954–); Ebony (1946–), a picture weekly directed toward African-American readership; and the satirical National Lampoon (1970–92). In addition, a tremendous circulation exists for the cruder magazine forms: comic books; fan magazines of the entertainment media; true romance, confession, soap opera, and police magazines; and the various periodicals devoted to sex or sexuality, including Playboy (1953–) and Penthouse (first U.S. publication, 1969). Magazines of this last group constitute a publishing phenomenon and are widely imitated.
Toward the end of the 20th cent. advances in computer technology and its wider availability to the public have made possible the delivery of magazine articles through on-line services. In addition, in the 1990s the computer revolution began to spawn entirely electronic periodicals, such as The Online Journal of Current Critical Trials, a professional medical journal that began publishing in 1992. Although it and others failed, by 2000 there were more than 8,000 electronic journals and other periodicals. Subsequently, the developed of e-readers and e-reader software for electronic tablets has created a new and thriving market for periodicals. For indexes to periodicals, see indexindex,
of a book or periodical, a list, nearly always alphabetical, of the topics treated. This list is usually at the back of a book, and the table of contents is in the front. The index seeks to direct the reader to all names and subjects on which the book has information.
..... Click the link for more information. .
See G. S. Marr, Periodical Essayists of the Eighteenth Century (1924); R. P. Bond, Studies in the Early English Periodical (1957). For periodicals in the United States, see T. B. Peterson, Magazines in the Twentieth Century (2d ed. 1964); F. L. Mott, A History of American Magazines (5 vol., 1957–68); B. Gill, Here at The New Yorker (1975); J. Tebbel, The Magazine in America (1991); A. Janello, The American Magazine (1991); W. Ayer & Son, Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals (pub. yearly).