The House Of Blackwood: Author-publisher Relations In The Victorian Era

Paperback | October 12, 2012

byDavid Finkelstein

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The Scottish publishing firm of William Blackwood & Sons, founded in 1804, was a major force in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literary history, publishing a diverse group of important authors—including George Eliot, John Galt, Thomas de Quincey, Margaret Oliphant, Anthony Trollope, Joseph Conrad, and John Buchan, among many others—in book form and in its monthly Blackwood’s Magazine. In The House of Blackwood, David Finkelstein exposes for the first time the successes and failures of this onetime publishing powerhouse.

Finkelstein begins with a general history of the Blackwood firm from 1804 to 1920, attending to family dynamics over several generations, to their molding of a particular political and national culture, to the shaping of a Blackwood’s audience, and to the multiple causes for the firm’s decline in the decades before World War I. He then uses six case studies of authors—Conrad, Oliphant, John Hanning Speke, George Tompkyns Chesney, Charles Reade, and E. M. Forster—and their relationships with the publishing house. He mines the voluminous correspondence of the firm with its authors and, eventually, with the authors’ agents. The value of the archive Finkelstein studies is its completeness, the depth of the ledger material (particularly interesting given that the Blackwoods did much of their own printing), and the extraordinary longevity of the firm. A key value of Finkelstein’s account is his attention to the author/publisher/reader circuit that Robert Darnton emphasizes as the central focus of book history.

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The Scottish publishing firm of William Blackwood & Sons, founded in 1804, was a major force in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literary history, publishing a diverse group of important authors—including George Eliot, John Galt, Thomas de Quincey, Margaret Oliphant, Anthony Trollope, Joseph Conrad, and John Buchan, amon...

David Finkelstein is Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of Dundee. He is editor of An Index to "Blackwood's Magazine," 1901–1980 (1995) and coeditor of four recent books, including The Book History Reader (2001) and Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities (2000). He has spent the last few years inves...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.48 inPublished:October 12, 2012Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271058366

ISBN - 13:9780271058368

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

1. Setting the Scene

2. Finding Success: Blackwood’s, 1860–1879

3. Africa Rewritten: The Case of John Hanning Speke

4. Reade Revised: A Woman Hater and the Women’s Medical Movement

5. Shifting Ground: Blackwood’s, 1880–1912

6. Creating House Identities: Nineteenth-Century Publishing

Memoirs and the Annals of a Publishing House

7. “A Grocer’s Business”: William Blackwood III

and the Literary Agents

Conclusion

Appendices 1-3: Introduction

Appendix 1. Blackwood & Sons Publishing Statistics, 1860–1910

Appendix 2. Blackwood’s Magazine Sales, 1856–1915

Appendix 3. Margaret Oliphant Sales, 1860–1897

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Elegantly designed and illustrated, beautifully written, and full of fresh material presented in a lively manner, The House of Blackwood is a notable addition to Victorian publishing history.”

—Solveig C. Robinson, Victorian Periodicals Review