Nineteenth-century periodicals were the television of their day. They offered riveting serials, lifestyle recommendations, vivid illustrations by leading artists, and the inevitable advertising. They were shared among readers, who discussed their contents avidly and sometimes read them aloud to local audiences.
All the Year Round: Exploring the Nineteenth-Century Periodical tells the story of the rise of the British periodical. The exhibition charts the rapid expansion of periodical publication from the early years of the nineteenth century, when writers like Lord Byron and John Keats were reviewed and reviled, to the last decades of Queen Victoria’s reign, when ‘decadent’ journals caused controversy, the Boy’s Own and Girl’s Own Paper catered to an expanding young readership, and Sherlock Holmes’s appearance in The Strand inspired a devoted following across all classes.
All the Year Round takes its title from Charles Dickens’s weekly journal, which reached tens of thousands of readers and featured many of his now classic novels. The exhibition’s strongest presence comes from the satirical London journal Punch, whose columns and cartoons mocked prominent politicians and celebrities and shaped middle-class attitudes. Colonial spinoffs, like Otago Punch, soon spread across the British Empire.
While the exhibition primarily features holdings from the University of Otago’s Special Collections and the Hocken Library, it also includes works kindly lent from the Dunedin Public Library and the Olga and Marcus Fitchett Collection. Please enjoy.
Exhibition poster (1.4MB)