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Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914–1950$
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Joseph McAleer

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203292.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914–1950

Joseph McAleer

Oxford University Press

This book is concerned with the reading public which Wilkie Collins and George Orwell tried to describe, during the period when Orwell wrote and which Collins would have recognised: from 1914 until 1950. The book examines three publishing houses, noting in particular their complicated editorial policies within the increasingly ‘mass’ market. These are Mills & Boon, D. C. Thomson, and the Religious Tract Society. Mills & Boon and D. C. Thomson were the quintessential publishers of the early 20th century: essentially commercial enterprises, each firm reflected changing social values within its publications while courting their readerships. The Religious Tract Society was less successful: a 19th-century foundation embodying the spirit of Victorian liberalism, it failed to adapt to a changing (and increasingly secular) world, with disastrous results.

Keywords:   Wilkie Collins, George Orwell, publishing houses, editorial policies, mass market, Mills & Boon, D. C. Thomson, Religious Tract Society, Victorian liberalism

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