Complex networks: Author-editor relations and cultural change in the golden age of Victorian periodicals--Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens; Anthony Trollope and William Makepeace Thackeray; George Eliot and John Blackwood



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This thesis examines three pairs of author-editor relationships, whose authors published one of their major works through a form of serialization in the Victorian periodical press. The three pairs, their works, and their respective periodicals are Elizabeth Gaskell, author of North and South, and Charles Dickens, editor of Household Words; Anthony Trollope, author of Framley Parsonage, and William Makepeace Thackeray, editor of The Cornhill Magazine; and, George Eliot, author of Middlemarch, and John Blackwood, editor of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. For each of these relationships, I analyze one-to-one correspondence and other primary sources, concluding that in tandem these pairs of authors and editors contribute to the ever-changing cultural growth occurring in the nineteenth century. Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens notoriously had a tempestuous relationship, but, in spite of their difficulties in serializing North and South, their shared legacy should be as the twin social commentators of their time. By contrast, Anthony Trollope and W. M. Thackeray maintained a businesslike relationship, with Trollope offering Framley Parsonage as the quintessential English novel to the fledgling Cornhill Magazine. In parallel fashion, Thackeray and Trollope worked to promote the new gentlemanly ideal to their middle-class public. Finally, George Eliot maintained a long and robust correspondence with her editor, John Blackwood, relying on him for encouragement to keep writing. With his consistent and abundant affirmation of her true-to-life writing style that is most fully represented in Middlemarch, Eliot and Blackwood contributed to the establishment of literary realism that was developing towards the end of the nineteenth century. Each of these authors, editors, novels, and periodicals has a story to tell, and, in combination, they helped to create a publishing culture that reflected the dynamic social and literary transformations arising in nineteenth-century Britain.



Victorian periodicals, Authors, Editors, Gaskell, Dickens, Trollope, Thackeray, John Blackwood, George Eliot, Relationships