Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hard Times — media meltdown

From: David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page

"[Household Words was a] Weekly magazine which Dickens edited along with sub-editor W. H. Wills. Charles' father, John Dickens, also had editorial duties on the magazine. Dickens received a salary and additional payments for his own contributions. The weekly contained topical journalism, essays, short fiction, and poetry by a total of 380 contributors. It was published every Wednesday at a cost of twopence and consisted of 24 pages of double columns without illustration. The magazine proved a financial success with sales reaching 100,000 weekly. Although serial publication was not planned for the journal, Dickens published his novel Hard Times in Household Words in order to bolster sales during a period of reduced profit. Dickens' total contribution to the weekly included 108 full-length essays and articles, co-writing another 45. After quarreling with his publisher, Bradbury and Evans, Dickens discontinued Household Words and the journal was incorporated into a new weekly, All the Year Round. 31 of the articles Dickens wrote for Household Words were published as Reprinted Pieces in 1858. [...]
      Dickens' successor to Household Words took the same format as its predecessor. Dickens contributed less material to All the Year Round than he had for Household Words, although he did serialize A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations in the weekly. Dickens owned 75% of the venture and served as editor until his death in 1870 at which time his son Charley took over as editor until 1888. The magazine ceased publication in 1893. A collection of the sketches Dickens wrote for All the Year Round were later published as The Uncommercial Traveller."
David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page

"Make no mistake: as in every previous IT revolution, there will be (already is) a creative dividend. For instance, the print boom of 1590-1610 liberated Shakespeare and his successors, from Jonson to Donne, and sponsored an explosion of ephemeral publications, the inky compost that would nurture the best of the Jacobeans. Similarly, in Edwardian London, new media shaped the careers of Joseph Conrad, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, and countless others. Heart of Darkness was first published as a magazine serial."
— Robert McCrum, Guardian

"We are all witnessing the sudden dematerialization of our arts and entertainment, their transfer from unique artifact source to universally on-demand screen availability. Walk down Main Street. The video and DVD emporia are gone — it happened in a year or two. The bookstores, if not yet folded, are quickly going the way of record stores. More and more people are persuaded to access their culture through screen portals, ordering up what they need for their Kindle, their iPod, their nightly watching pleasures. And the middle men, the algorithmically nimble purveyors of books and music and film, increasingly access them — us — identifying what they think we want and laying it on our electronic doorstep."
— Sven Birkerts, Los Angeles Review of Books

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