This article begins with an analysis of how nineteenth-century print journalism was produced to become a basic constituent of the public sphere of its day, and how it tackled the problems of survival beyond its date of issue. I then turn to the current flurry of remediation of the nineteenth-century press in the last five years and how digitisation of print now addresses similar tasks of optimising readership, distribution, and durability. This involves consideration of one of the current central questions, the roles of public and private platforms of delivery and their relation to access. In conclusion, I explore the impact of the digitisation of nineteenth-century journalism, and digitisation more generally, on Victorian studies and its publics. I focus on two aspects of impact: how meaning in literature and history is invigorated by digital access to their representation in historical and material context, and how the proliferation of illustration in new digital media, enabled by freedom from the limitations attached to print formats, addresses twenty-first century visually-literate readers directly, helping the transmission of Victorian Studies to the imagination of contemporary readers, across social class and internationally.
Laurel Brake is Professor Emerita of Literature and Print Culture, at Birkbeck, University of London. She works on nineteenth-century media history, nineteenth-century literature, notably Walter Pater, and gender. She co-edited with Marysa Demoor the print and digital DNCJ/ the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (2009), and directed the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition 2008 (www.ncse.ac.uk). Books on the press include Print in Transition, Studies in Media and Book History (2001), Subjugated Knowledges (1994), The Lure of Illustration in the Nineteenth Century: Picture and Press, co-edited with Marysa Demoor (2009), and Encounters in the Victorian Press: Editors, Authors, Readers, co-edited with Julie Codell (2005). Articles on Scottish periodicals –Blackwood’s and Chambers’s—appeared in 2006 and 2007, on W. T. Stead’s Newspaper Fiction (2007), and on obituaries in Life Writing and Victorian Culture, ed. David Amigoni (2007). More recent pieces include two on the press: on Stead and Modernism in Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880-1940, edited by Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier (2008) and on 1890s journals in The Oxford Critical History of Modernist Magazines, Vol. I, edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker (2009). She is about to restart her biography of the Paters, Ink Work.
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