Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas in the Special Collections: The Bookman Xmas Edition 1919

The Bookman, Christmas Number, 1919
(from the James Hardiman Library Periodical Collection)
The Bookman was a monthly magazine published by Hodder & Staughton.  First published in 1891, it was initially conceived as an advertising tool for Hodder and Stoughton’s catalogue. William Robertson Nicoll, editor of the British Weekly, became its editor and continued in the role for many years. It was aimed at popularising literature by offering a 6d. monthly read to people with limited finance. As a journal for Book buyers, Book readers, and Book sellers, the Bookman combined reviews with short items of news about book people and essays on general literary subjects, as well as many illustrations. There were also special issues on particular authors. It was highly successful in commercial terms, and a useful source of income to writers as diverse as W. B. Yeats (1865 to 1939), A.E.W. Mason, Walter Pater , J.M. Barrie, Edward Thomas and Arthur Ransome. Each Christmas a Special Double Issue was presented with a section on Children's Literature and featuring tipped-in plates by important illustrators.
The periodical was quick to respond to new technological innovations, including columns on film, photography and a new supplement called 'The Illustrated Bookman', which featured articles on travel writing and accompanying photographs that from today's perspective could be read as 'orientalist'. These photographs exoticized the locale, highlighting the places' strangeness, otherness and their attraction as a space for adventure and exploration.
The journal published a number of survey articles on Indian writing, and regularly reviewed books on Indian politics. The journal was incorporated into the London Mercury in 1935, which was absorbed into Life & Letters to-day in 1939.

The Library holds some of The Bookman in the original print editions in our periodical store. It can also be accessed online on the British Periodicals database, accessible through the library catalogue.

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