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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Publishing Victorian Novels” looks to the methods of book history and literary criticism to ask how we might understand the ways Victorian publishers and authors (alongside editors, publishers’ readers, librarians, and booksellers) worked together to make novels. Paying attention to both the material and literary aspects of this making, the essay examines a few different scenes of novel publication with a particular focus on the way Victorian novelists, publishers, and reading publics understood aspects of the publication process like the serialization of novels, the three-volume novel, and the authority of the novelist and publisher. In an attempt to capture a sense of Victorian publishing as usual (rather than exceptional cases based on narratives about bestselling novels or now-canonical novelists), this essay examine three cases involving less than canonical novelists or less than canonical novels (the serialization of Caroline Norton’s Old Sir Douglas in Macmillan’s Magazine, the relationship between Anthony Trollope’s financial involvement with Chapman and Hall and his publication of The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson, and the preparation for the publication of Mary Elizabeth Hawker’s Mademoiselle Ixe), contextualizing them with briefer references to better-known stories of Victorian publishing (the part-publication of Pickwick Papers and Middlemarch, the decline of the three-volume novel). Both literary critics and publishing historians could benefit from a stronger sense of the cultural meanings of print forms and a clearer view of the Victorian category of collective and corporate authorship.

Keywords: Publishing, Book History, Authorship, Collective, Corporate, Individual, Three-Volume Novel, Part Publication, Serialization, Archive

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