As this essay aims to show, explicit self-reflection in early illustrated journals cannot be trusted: They underlie discursive constraints and may therefore (also) obscure the aims of such periodicals instead of exposing them. The illustration practice of texts (in which these statements are included), however, frequently offers, such is the working hypothesis, an implicit self-reflection which moves in a different direction: in the example presented in this article, one that refutes an explicit self-description by employing paratextual aspects such as the use of a layout plan (or lack thereof), paper quality, page numbering, placement of illustrations, and intertextual references. With the reconstruction of this implicit self-disclosure, the close reading of Magasin Pittoresque and Penny Magazine in the following case study intends to blaze a trail for an adequate analysis of illustrated journals of the 1830s – a trail that sheds particular light on the surprising complexity of verbal-visual forms of communication.
In modern media history, newspapers, radio stations, and news platforms on the Internet are viewed as agents with their own agenda in an area of tension between politics, economy, culture, science, and the public. Thus, a new way of thinking has arisen in this discipline. The past media historiography had often tended to view historic events through a “mirror of the media.” This assigned the media the passive role of spectators of current events. In addition to this, internal operations of the media were rarely contextualized historically, and the editorial department was often viewed as a black box that functions independently from external influences. However, said discipline has abandoned this perspective over the past several years.
Currently, modern media history makes use of interdisciplinary approaches such as basic concepts of system theory according to Niklas Luhmann, the medializing theory, and the agenda-setting research, which enable the examination of the interrelation between media and their social environment. A further component of modern media history is a heuristic multiperspectivity which frees itself from press coverage as the only source and includes internal editorial documents as well as sources from archives of interaction partners. The third aspect are methodological tools, the use of which is enabled by the digital access to source material and leads to new questions and findings.
In this article, these approaches are outlined and illustrated using the history of the economics department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The goal is to present components for a stringent examination of media as productive societal agents which can be used for further research.
Independent magazines play a special role in the magazine world, and particularly in our considerations of the magazine corpus. They explicitly deviate from mainstream, glossy magazines and are dedicated to the print medium with its aesthetic and haptic capabilities. In summer 2018, issue one of a Dance Mag, an international independent dance magazine, was launched in Beirut, Lebanon. Through personal email correspondence, editor in chief Jana Al-Obeidyine elucidated details such as the magazine’s unique slender form, this issue’s bright yellow-orange color, and its visual identity – circular elements inspired by Rudolf Laban’s kinesphere which denote movement and human connectedness. A condensed version of the email correspondence in part one highlights the fruitfulness of interview methods for the analysis of indies and understanding visual identity in general. Furthermore, the chapter examines visual identity in a Dance Mag in closer detail: as a metamode, it functions like an architectural ‘dotted line,’ providing design structure and coherency across page layout, content, and composition. Understanding the metafunction of visual identity in indie magazines will contribute to methodologies aimed at developing multimodal analyses of periodicals.
Magazine reading and magazine feeling overlap. To contribute to efforts capturing the complexity of the medium, I propose to consider magazines through approaches that deploy affect and atmosphere as critical terms to reorganize literary and cultural studies. From this perspective, magazines may be conceived as ‘affect generators’ (Reckwitz), that is, as circulating discourses on emotions, moods, and atmospheres in specific genres, and as participating in practices that are imbricated with particular, magazine-specific affects. The approach can draw together issues in magazine design, reading, and materiality that have already garnered attention but deserve a more central position in investigations of contemporary mainstream and independent titles. To elucidate how contemporary lifestyle magazines work, amalgamate loyal readerships, and remain largely viable despite competition from digital outlets, affect may serve as a way to look beyond magazines as vehicles for entertainment and information.
Late nineteenth-century popular London periodicals positioned themselves as culture institutions embedded into the wider metropolitan mediascape. This essay examines oral performances at lecture institutions and their representation in popular periodicals, emphasizing the shared temporalities of these print and oral media: the sensational moment, and the weekly rhythm. My case studies are popular London weeklies that targeted upwardly mobile (female) working-class and lower-middle-class readers: Bow Bells (1862–1897), the London Reader (1863–1893; 1896–1903), and Judy (1867–1910) – mass products designed for quick consumption and neglected by prestige culture until today. I focus on specific feature materials that situated these cheap periodicals in productive rivalry with nineteenth-century popular lecture culture. Through sensationalist evocations of lecturers’ presence, the weeklies appropriated the aspirational scene of lecture institutions for their celebration of the ‘thrill’; through representations of the institutes’ weekly lecturing rotas in the experiential mode of simulated printed ‘letters’ or ‘diaries,’ they invited cultural participation, assuming and thereby creating a familiarity with the metropolitan cultural sphere on the part of their readers. The interactive dynamics of serial publishing – each periodical installment gesturing towards a moment that still unfolds – thus created a sense of (cross-class) belonging while employing, and self-consciously revealing, techniques of producing sensation, private interpellation, and ‘currentness.’ The weeklies were supremely aware of how symbolic capital was produced, and their periodicity was conducive to creating communities and participatory practices. Insistent about their competitive stance toward elite journals and high-cultural public performances, they were also capable of playful distance. Participating in the discourse of weekly periodicals that reemphasized, with every installment, their own incremental open-endedness, readers constructed their own place within the metropolitan cultural sphere, and the material and socioeconomic networks that conditioned it, as both consumers and producers of knowledge-in-the-making.
Robert M. Budd, known as Back Number Budd, was an African American newsdealer who redefined old newspapers: they were not just paper to turn into trunk linings and pulp, but rather a vehicle for information and history to access and organize. He pioneered in a business of buying and selling old newspapers, starting in the 1880s. Budd’s redefinition was a crucial step in understanding and using newspapers as a source of data. His clients recognized that they could buy either the physical paper or the movable text. Because he dealt in used newspapers, a low status material, and because he was black, news coverage about him was often ambivalent or disrespectful, even though the fact that he saved and sold old newspapers was flattering to reporters. Budd’s understanding of newspapers undergirds our current digital practices.