Full Text

7. From Sensation to the Strand

Christopher Pittard


Subject Culture » Popular Culture
Literature » Victorian Literature

Place Europe

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

Key-Topics crime fiction, novel and novella

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405167659.2010.00008.x


Extract

In December 1890, a new monthly periodical appeared on British newsstands, just in time to provide leisurely Christmas reading for an aspirational middle-class market. In the first issue of the Strand Magazine , the publisher-editor George Newnes promised nothing but “cheap, healthful literature,” after he had perceived a gap in the market for a monthly which would include a wide range of fiction, interviews, articles, and illustrations. In practice, however, the Strand rapidly became appreciated for two particular genres. One was popular science writing; the other was crime and detective fiction. In the 1890s the Strand featured crime stories by (among others) Arthur Morrison, Grant Allen, L. T. Meade, Robert Eustace, Dick Donovan, and most famously Arthur Conan Doyle; although the term “detective fiction” had actually first appeared in the Saturday Review in 1886 ( Stewart 1980 : 27), it was arguably the Strand which was the most influential publication in developing and defining this emergent genre. This chapter begins by looking at those earlier crime subgenres to which the detective fiction of the fin de siècle was reacting. In this regard, Newnes's claim to ‘healthful literature ‘is a significant one: just as Newnes wanted his magazine to be an alternative to sporting papers and sensationalist broadsheets such as the Illustrated Police News , so too did its narratives ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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