Making Pictorial Print: Media Literacy and Mass Culture in British Magazines, 1885–1918
Published: December 2021© 2021
248 Pages, 6.20 x 9.10 x 1.00 in, 34 b&w illustrations
At the end of the nineteenth century, print media dominated British popular culture, produced in greater variety and on a larger scale than ever before. Within decades, new visual and auditory media had ushered in a mechanized milieu, displacing print from its position at the heart of cultural life. During this period of intense change, illustrated magazines maintained a central position in the media landscape by transforming their letterpress orientation into a visual and multimodal one. Ultimately, this transformation was important for the new media cultures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Making Pictorial Print recovers this chapter in the history of new media, applying concepts from media theory and the digital humanities to analyse four popular late-Victorian magazines – the Illustrated London News, the Graphic, Pearson’s Magazine, and the Strand – and the scrapbook media that appropriated them. Using the concept of media literacy, these case studies demonstrate the ways in which periodical design aesthetics affected the terms of engagement presented to readers, creating opportunities for them to participate in and even contribute to popular culture. Shaped by publishers, advertisers, and readers themselves, the pages of these periodicals document the emergence of modern mass culture as we know it and offer insight into the new media of our digital present.
Introduction: A History of Victorian Print Media Literacy and the Technological Imagination
1. The Illustrated London News, Popular Illustrated Journalism, and the New Media Landscape, 1885–1907
2. Imagining Consumer Culture: Reading Advertisements in the Illustrated London News and the Graphic, 1885–1902
3. Imagining Political Subjectivity: Reading Data Visualizations in Pearson’s Magazine, 1896–1902
4. Imagining Print Production: Making Scrapbook Media, c.1830–1918
5. Imagining New Media Platforms: Taking Snapshots for the Strand, 1896–1918
Conclusion: Victorian Media Literacies and the Genealogy of the Present
"Alison Hedley offers detailed, wide-ranging, and subtle case studies of the materiality and intermediality of popular illustrated magazines in fin-de-siècle London. Refreshingly she places media-literate readers and their reshaping of print via scrapbooks and snapshots at the centre of her account. Situated at a moment when print was entangled in new technologies including cinema, photography, and the gramophone, the book outlines a landscape that shaped subsequent mass media."Gerry Beegan, Professor of Art and Design, Rutgers University
"A stimulating and innovative analysis of the illustrated journalism of the late Victorian era and its legacy for present day print media literacy. In a series of illuminating case studies from the Illustrated London News, the Graphic, Pearson’s Magazine, and the Strand, Alison Hedley demonstrates how the mass readership of popular illustrated newspapers and magazines anticipated the engagement and agency of today’s consumers of both print and social media."Joanne Shattock, Emeritus Professor of Victorian Literature, University of Leicester
"This vivid account of the many different ways readers engaged with Victorian media culture in popular illustrated periodicals at the end of the nineteenth century ranges over many important topics, including advertising, statistical visualization, scrapbooks, and reader contributions. Alison Hedley’s theorization of the print technological imagination addresses the complex new visual literacies and interpretive horizons developing within and alongside print culture as nineteenth-century readers negotiated a culture of rapid technological and social change."Natalie M. Houston, Associate Professor of English, University of Massachusetts Lowell
"In Making Pictorial Print, Alison Hedley argues that late nineteenth-century popular periodicals not only embraced the possibilities afforded by new imaging technologies but also drew attention to their use. Through illuminating readings of text and image, she provides a compelling account of how these publications cultivated the print media literacy of their readers. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in how readers navigated the changing media landscape of the late nineteenth century."James Mussell, Associate Professor of Victorian Literature, University of Leeds