Cover Stars and Covert Addresses: Strategies for Reading Magazines Across the 'Great Divide'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


This essay questions how and why we read periodicals as literary historians. In 'What is Modern Periodical Studies?' (2015), Patrick Collier took issue with scholars who have mined periodicals for information about modernism or modernity, arguing that if the field of periodical studies is to move forward, critics need to make the periodicals themselves the 'object of knowledge' of their scholarship. Inspired by Collier's entreaty, this essay attempts to develop a comparative approach to periodical studies, one which places the emphasis on the periodical as a literary text. Through a comparative close reading of Wyndham Lewis's modernist 'little' magazine The Tyro (1921-22) and the popular fiction magazine The Royal, edited by Francis Baily from 1912-27, I argue that viewing magazines across the cultural spectrum together forces us to reconsider our own critical practices, compelling us to improvise new approaches that can interpret this varied material. Over two sections, I examine how The Tyro and The Royal implicitly and explicitly addressed their readers through their cover designs and editorials, arguing that this comparative approach enables us to examine the diverse ways in which a magazine and its producers attempted to attract an 'ideal reader.'


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWriting Literary History
EditorsBram Lambrecht, Matthias Somers
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Magazines, Periodicals, Modernism, Modernity, Literary History, Literary theory, Wyndham Lewis, Popular Culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas