Radical poetry and the Literary Magazine: Stalking Leigh Hunt in the Republic of Letters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In his influential study Literary Magazines and British Romanticism, Mark Parker argues that the literary magazine became the ‘preeminent literary form’ of the 1820s and 1830s , and that the study of literary magazines is especially important to the study of the literature of the period because of the way in which each individual magazine projected what he calls ‘a different version of Romanticism’ , thus further complicating what is already a problematic and highly contested term. A particularly important part of his argument is that during the 1820s, literary magazines assumed an increasingly apolitical stance in their treatment of literature, the most notable example being The New Monthly, which is described by Parker as ‘a timid, socially ambiguous exploration of domestic comfort and private feeling’ . However, elsewhere in his study Parker identifies two literary magazines which alternate between political discussion and literary criticism, namely the London Magazine, and Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. If viewed in those terms, these publications appear to highlight a transition towards less overt political discussions within the literary magazine by the 1820s. However, Blackwood’s treatment of Leigh Hunt, when considered in detail, throws new light upon the extent to which Blackwood’s was in fact prepared to enter into an often spirited discussion of politics, and highlights the profound impact which these political impulses had upon the magazine’s reception of poetry. Furthermore, the implications of Hunt’s treatment at the hands of his Blackwoodian critics tells us a great deal about how Edinburgh based publications in particular, most notably Blackwood’s, self-consciously defined themselves against London’s literary culture as the 1820s approached. What is also apparent from the so-called ‘Cockney School’ attacks upon Hunt and the other members of his coterie is a clear sense of how literary magazines in this period began to differentiate themselves from newspapers such as the Examiner, of which Hunt was editor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cultures of Radicalism in Britain and Ireland
EditorsMichael Brown, John Kirk, Andrew Noble
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPickering & Chatto
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781848933453
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013

Publication series

NamePoetry and Song in the Age of Revolution
PublisherPickering and Chatto


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