Near the dawn of the twentieth century, more than a million Americans had subscriptions to popular magazines, and many who did not subscribe read the periodicals. Far more men and women were learning advanced literacy through reading these magazines than by attending college. Yet this form of popular literacy has been relatively ignored by scholars, who have focused mainly on academic institutions and formal educational experiences. In Circulating Literacy: Writing Instruction in American Periodicals, 1880–1910, author Alicia Brazeau concentrates on the format, circulation, and function of popular and influential periodicals published between 1880 and 1910, including the farming magazines Michigan Farmer, Ohio Farmer, and Maine Farmer, which catered to rural residents, and two women’s magazines, Harper’s Bazar and the Ladies’ Home Journal, that catered to very different populations of women.
Brazeau establishes how these magazines shared a common strategy in the construction of literacy identities by connecting a specific identity with a particular set of reading and writing practices. She explores how farm journals were preoccupied with the value of literacy as a tool for shaping community; considers how the Journal and the Bazar deployed distinctly different illustrations of literacy values for women; shows how the Journal and editor Edward Bok cast women as consumers and sellers of literacy; and looks at the ways in which Bazar editors urged readers to adopt habits of reading and writing that emphasized communal relationships among women. In Circulating Literacy, Brazeau speaks to, and connects, the important topics of rural studies, gender, professionalization, and literacy sponsorship and identity, arguing for the value of the study of periodicals as literacy education tools.
Before movies, radio, and television challenged the hegemony of the printed word, the Saturday Evening Post was the preeminent vehicle of mass culture in the United States. And to the extent that a mass medium can be the expression of a single individual, this magazine, with a peak circulation of almost three million copies a week, was the expression of its editor, George Horace Lorimer. Cohn shows how Lorimer made the <I>Post</I> into a uniquely powerful magazine that both celebrated and helped form the values of the time.
This volume celebrates yesterday’s pulp magazines and their heroes and heroines. Readers will acquaint themselves with such famous magazine titles as The Shadow, The Black Mask, Weird Tales, and others as obscure as Scientific Detective Monthly and the sensuous Scarlet Adventuress of dim reputation. And more: Erle Stanley Gardner’s tough White Rings; Toffee the dream girl; Senorita Scorpion, a quick-trigger blond from Old Texas; Oscar Sail, protagonist of a pair of ferocious stories. And mediums, bandits, cowboys, detectives, vivacious characters, fascinating and vitally alive.
As a counterpart to research on the 1930s that has focused on liberal and radical writers calling for social revolution, David Welky offers this eloquent study of how mainstream print culture shaped and disseminated a message affirming conservative middle-class values and assuring its readers that holding to these values would get them through hard times. Through analysis of the era's most popular newspaper stories, magazines, and books, Welky examines how voices both outside and within the media debated the purposes of literature and the meaning of cultural literacy in a mass democracy. He presents lively discussions of such topics as the newspaper treatment of the Lindbergh kidnapping, issues of race in coverage of the 1936 Olympic games, domestic dynamics and gender politics in cartoons and magazines, Superman's evolution from a radical outsider to a spokesman for the people, and the popular consumption of such novels as the Ellery Queen mysteries, Gone with the Wind, and The Good Earth. Through these close readings, Welky uncovers the subtle relationship between the messages that mainstream media strategically crafted and those that their target audience wished to hear.
Today, monthly issues of Cosmopolitan magazine scream out to readers from checkout counters and newsstands. With bright covers and bold, sexy headlines, this famous periodical targets young, single women aspiring to become the quintessential “Cosmo girl.” Cosmopolitan is known for its vivacious character and frank, explicit attitude toward sex, yet because of its reputation, many people don’t realize that the magazine has undergone many incarnations before its current one, including family literary magazine and muckraking investigative journal, and all are presented in The Improbable First Century of Cosmopolitan Magazine. The book boasts one particularly impressive contributor: Helen Gurley Brown herself, who rarely grants interviews but spoke and corresponded with James Landers to aid in his research.
When launched in 1886, Cosmopolitan was a family literary magazine that published quality fiction, children’s stories, and homemaking tips. In 1889 it was rescued from bankruptcy by wealthy entrepreneur John Brisben Walker, who introduced illustrations and attracted writers such as Mark Twain, Willa Cather, and H. G. Wells. Then, when newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased Cosmopolitan in 1905, he turned it into a purveyor of exposé journalism to aid his personal political pursuits. But when Hearst abandoned those ambitions, he changed the magazine in the 1920s back to a fiction periodical featuring leading writers such as Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, and William Somerset Maugham. His approach garnered success by the 1930s, but poor editing sunk Cosmo’s readership as decades went on. By the mid-1960s executives considered letting Cosmopolitan die, but Helen Gurley Brown, an ambitious and savvy businesswoman, submitted a plan for a dramatic editorial makeover. Gurley Brown took the helm and saved Cosmopolitan by publishing articles about topics other women’s magazines avoided. Twenty years later, when the magazine ended its first century, Cosmopolitan was the profit center of the Hearst Corporation and a culturally significant force in young women’s lives.
The Improbable First Century of Cosmopolitan Magazine explores how Cosmopolitan survived three near-death experiences to become one of the most dynamic and successful magazines of the twentieth century. Landers uses a wealth of primary source materials to place this important magazine in the context of history and depict how it became the cultural touchstone it is today. This book will be of interest not only to modern Cosmo aficionadas but also to journalism students, news historians, and anyone interested in publishing.
In Literate Zeal, Janet Carey Eldred examines the rise of women magazine editors during the mid-twentieth century and reveals their unheralded role in creating a literary aesthetic for the American public. Between the sheets of popular magazines, editors offered belles-lettres to the masses and, in particular, middle-class women. Magazines became a place to find culture, humor, and intellectual affirmation alongside haute couture.
Eldred mines a variety of literary archives, notably the correspondence of Katharine Sargeant White of the New Yorker, to provide an insider’s view of the publisher-editor-author dynamic. Here, among White’s letters, memos, and markups, we see the deliberate shaping of literature to create a New Yorker ethos. Through her discrete phrasing, authors are coaxed by White to correct or wholly revise their work. Stories or poems by famous writers are rejected for being “dizzying” or “too literate.” With a surgeon’s skill, “disturbing” issues such as sexuality and race are extracted from manuscripts.
Eldred chronicles the work of women (and a few men) editors at the major women’s magazines of the day. Ladies’ Home Journal, Mademoiselle, Vogue, and others enacted an editorial style similar to that of the New Yorker by offering literature, values, and culture to an educated and aspiring middle class. Publishers effectively convinced readers that middlebrow stories (and by association their audience) had much loftier pursuits. And they were right. These publications created and sustained a mass literacy never before seen in American publishing.
Many farsighted women writers in nineteenth-century America made thoughtful and sustained use of newspapers and magazines to effect social and political change. “The Only Efficient Instrument”: American Women Writers and the Periodical, 1837-1916 examines these pioneering efforts and demonstrates that American women had a vital presence in the political and intellectual communities of their day.
Women writers and editors of diverse social backgrounds and ethnicities realized very early that the periodical was a powerful tool for education and social reform—it was the only efficient instrument to make themselves and their ideas better known. This collection of critical essays explores American women's engagement with the periodical press and shows their threefold use of the periodical: for social and political advocacy; for the critique of gender roles and social expectations; and for refashioning the periodical as a more inclusive genre that both articulated and obscured such distinctions as class, race, and gender.
Including essays on familiar figures such as Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Kate Chopin, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Only Efficient Instrument” also focuses on writings from lesser-known authors, including Native American Zitkala-Sä, Mexican American María Cristina Mena, African American Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and the Lowell factory workers. Covering nearly eighty years of publishing history, from the press censure of the outspoken Angelina Grimké in 1837 to the last issue of Gilman's Forerunner in 1916, this fascinating collection breaks new ground in the study of the women's rights movement in America.
This anthology of journalism history brings together essays on the early Black press, pioneer Jewish journalism, Spanish-language newspapers, Native American newspapers, woman suffrage, peace advocacy, and Chinese American and Mormon publications. It shows how marginal groups developed their own journalism to counter the prejudices and misconceptions of the white establishment press. The essays address the important questions of freedom of expression in religious matters as well as the domains of race and gender.
In the midst of the United States' immense economic growth in the 1850s, Americans worried about whether the booming agricultural, industrial, and commercial expansion came at the price of cherished American values such as honesty, hard work, and dedication to the common good. Was the nation becoming greedy, selfish, vulgar, and cruel? Was there such a thing as too much prosperity?
At the same time, the United States felt the influence of the rise of popular mass-circulation newspapers and magazines and the surge in American book publishing. Concern over living correctly as well as prosperously was commonly discussed by leading authors and journalists, who were now writing for ever-expanding regional and national audiences. Women became more important as authors and editors, giving advice and building huge markets for women readers, with the magazine Godey's Lady's Book and with e expressing women's views about the troubled state of society. Best-selling male writers--including novelist George Lippard, historian George Bancroft, and travel writer Bayard Taylor--were among those adding their voices to concerns about prosperity and morality and about America's place in the world. Writers and publishers discovered that a high moral tone could be exceedingly good for business.
The authors of this book examine how popular writers and widely read newspapers, magazines, and books expressed social tensions between prosperity and morality. This study draws on that nationwide conversation through leading mass media, including circulation-leading newspapers, the New York Herald and the New York Tribune, plus prominent newspapers from the South and West, the Richmond Enquirer and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Best-selling magazines aimed at middle-class tastes, Harper's Magazine and the Southern Literary Messenger, added their voices, as did two leading business magazines.
Smart women, sophisticated ladies, savvy writers . . . Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, Anita Loos, Lois Long, Jessie Fauset, Dawn Powell, Mary McCarthy, and others imagined New York as a place where they could claim professional status, define urban independence, and shrug off confining feminine roles. It might be said that during the 1920s and 1930s these literary artists painted the town red on the pages of magazines like Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. Playing Smart, Catherine Keyser's homage to their literary genius, is a captivating celebration of their causes and careers.
Through humor writing, this "smart set" expressed both sides of the story-promoting their urbanity and wit while using irony and caricature to challenge feminine stereotypes. Their fiction raised questions about what it meant to be a woman in the public eye, how gender roles would change because men and women were working together, and how the growth of the magazine industry would affect women's relationships to their bodies and minds. Keyser provides a refreshing and informative chronicle, saluting the value of being "smart" as incisive and innovative humor showed off the wit and talent of women writers and satirized the fantasy world created by magazines.
Print Culture in a Diverse America
Edited by James P. Danky and Wayne A. Wiegand University of Illinois Press, 1998 Library of Congress PN4882.P75 1998 | Dewey Decimal 302.22440973
In the modern era there arose a prolific and vibrant print culture--books,
newspapers, and magazines issued by and for diverse, often marginalized,
groups. This long-overdue collection offers a unique foray into the multicultural
world of reading and readers in the United States.
Interdisciplinary essays examine the many ways print culture functions
within different groups; they link gender, class, and ethnicity to the
uses and goals of a wide variety of publications; and they explore the
role print materials play in constructing certain historical events, such
as the Titanic disaster.
At the beginning of the 1970s, broadcast news and a few newspapers such as The New York Times wielded national influence in shaping public discourse, to a degree never before enjoyed by the news media. At the same time, however, attacks from political conservatives such as Vice President Spiro Agnew began to erode public trust in news institutions, even as a new breed of college-educated reporters were hitting their stride. This new wave of journalists, doing their best to cover the roiling culture wars of the day, grew increasingly frustrated by the limitations of traditional notions of objectivity in news writing and began to push back against convention, turning their eyes on the press itself.
Two of these new journalists, a Pulitzer Prize—winning, Harvard-educated New York Times reporter named J. Anthony Lukas, and a former Newsweek media writer named Richard Pollak, founded a journalism review called (MORE) in 1971, with its pilot issue appearing the same month that the Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers. (MORE) covered the press with a critical attitude that blended seriousness and satire—part New York Review of Books, part underground press. In the eight years that it published, (MORE) brought together nearly every important American journalist of the 1970s, either as a writer, a subject of its critical eye, or as a participant in its series of raucous "A.J. Liebling Counter-Conventions"—meetings named after the outspoken press critic—the first of which convened in 1974. In issue after issue the magazine considered and questioned the mainstream press's coverage of explosive stories of the decade, including the Watergate scandal; the "seven dirty words" obscenity trial; the debate over a reporter's constitutional privilege; the rise of public broadcasting; the struggle for women and minorities to find a voice in mainstream newsrooms; and the U.S. debut of press baron Rupert Murdoch.
In telling the story of (MORE) and its legacy, Kevin Lerner explores the power of criticism to reform and guide the institutions of the press and, in turn, influence public discourse.
Reading for Realism presents a new approach to U.S. literary history that is based on the analysis of dominant reading practices rather than on the production of texts. Nancy Glazener’s focus is the realist novel, the most influential literary form of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—a form she contends was only made possible by changes in the expectations of readers about pleasure and literary value. By tracing readers’ collaboration in the production of literary forms, Reading for Realism turns nineteenth-century controversies about the realist, romance, and sentimental novels into episodes in the history of readership. It also shows how works of fiction by Rebecca Harding Davis, Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others participated in the debates about literary classification and reading that, in turn, created and shaped their audiences. Combining reception theory with a materialist analysis of the social formations in which realist reading practices circulated, Glazener’s study reveals the elitist underpinnings of literary realism. At the book’s center is the Atlantic group of magazines, whose influence was part of the cultural machinery of the Northeastern urban bourgeoisie and crucial to the development of literary realism in America. Glazener shows how the promotion of realism by this group of publications also meant a consolidation of privilege—primarily in terms of class, gender, race, and region—for the audience it served. Thus American realism, so often portrayed as a quintessentially populist form, actually served to enforce existing structures of class and power.
Reading National Geographic
Catherine A. Lutz and Jane L. Collins University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress G1.N275L88 1993 | Dewey Decimal 910.5
For its millions of readers, the National Geographic has long been a window to the world of exotic peoples and places. In this fascinating account of an American institution, Catherine A. Lutz and Jane L. Collins explore the possibility that the magazine, in purporting to teach us about distant cultures, actually tells us much more about our own.
Lutz and Collins take us inside the National Geographic Society to investigate how its photographers, editors, and designers select images and text to produce representations of Third World cultures. Through interviews with the editors, they describe the process as one of negotiating standards of "balance" and "objectivity," informational content and visual beauty. Then, in a close reading of some six hundred photographs, they examine issues of race, gender, privilege, progress, and modernity through an analysis of the way such things as color, pose, framing, and vantage point are used in representations of non-Western peoples. Finally, through extensive interviews with readers, the authors assess how the cultural narratives of the magazine are received and interpreted, and identify a tension between the desire to know about other peoples and their ways and the wish to validate middle-class American values.
The result is a complex portrait of an institution and its role in promoting a kind of conservative humanism that acknowledges universal values and celebrates diversity while it allows readers to relegate non-Western peoples to an earlier stage of progress. We see the magazine and the Society as a key middlebrow arbiter of taste, wealth, and power in America, and we get a telling glimpse into middle-class American culture and all the wishes, assumptions, and fears it brings to bear on our armchair explorations of the world.
Countering assumptions about early American print culture and challenging our scholarly fixation on the novel, Jared Gardner reimagines the early American magazine as a rich literary culture that operated as a model for nation-building by celebrating editorship over authorship and serving as a virtual salon in which citizens were invited to share their different perspectives. The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture reexamines early magazines and their reach to show how magazine culture was multivocal and presented a porous distinction between author and reader, as opposed to novel culture, which imposed a one-sided authorial voice and restricted the agency of the reader.
In The Weekly War, James Landers provides the first in-depth investigation of how the three major newsmagazines—Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report—covered the Vietnam War and the impact their coverage had on the American public, presidents, and policymakers. From March 1965 through January 1973 these magazines reached nearly one-third of adult Americans—second only to news programs on network television. Despite the popular impression that this was primarily a “television war,” the newsmagazines played a prominent role in informing the public about warfare and war policy.
While television reporting provided a here-and-now version of events, these magazines published articles that combined on-the-scene coverage with analysis and commentary. Because these publications worked on a more leisurely weekly deadline as opposed to the daily deadlines of television or newspapers, they were able to provide distinct perspectives on the week’s events, along with factual material. The writing was typically more vivid and detailed than that of newspapers, and the occasional use of color photographs contributed to the impact of the stories.
Each magazine had its own niche and distinct editorial style: Newsweek provided a mainstream liberal perspective, while Time took a more conservative viewpoint and U.S. News & World Report had an ultraconservative outlook. The editors of each magazine aimed to reach like-minded readers, knowing full well that a reader who disliked one magazine could simply switch to another. Landers demonstrates how public-opinion shifts during the war forced the newsmagazines, especially Time, to change too.
This book reflects a thorough examination of roughly nine hundred articles on the Vietnam War published by the three major newsmagazines. Landers also gathered documents from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Richard M. Nixon Presidential Materials Project to reveal the attention paid to the newsmagazines by presidents and policymakers and their attempts to influence or manipulate coverage.
In addition to making a major contribution to the history of print journalism, The Weekly War complements scholarship on television news coverage of the Vietnam War. This volume will appeal to students and teachers of history and journalism, as well as the general reader interested in a unique view of the Vietnam War.
The pulp magazines dealt in fiction that was, by reason of the audience and the medium, heightened beyond normal experience. The drama was intense, the colors vivid, and the pace exhausting. The characters moving through these prose dreams were heightened, too. Most were cast in a quasi-heroic mold and moved on elevated planes of accomplishment.
This book and its companion volumes are concerned with the slow shaping of many literary conventions over many decades. This volume begins the study with the dime novels and several early series characters who influenced the direction of pulp fiction at its source.