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Slow Print
Literary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture

Elizabeth Carolyn Miller


392 pp.
33 illustrations.
ISBN: 9780804784085
Cloth $60.00
ISBN: 9780804784658
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Author Info
"Social historians have long known that early Victorian radicals saw a free press and mass literacy as preconditions for political progress. Literary historians have long identified early twentieth century 'little magazines' as a driver of modernist aesthetics. Elizabeth Miller is the first scholar to succeed in connecting those dots. . . Many of the pleasures of reading Slow Print lie in its details."—Leah Price, Times Literary Supplement

"Miller discusses the proliferation of literary radicalism during the late stages of the Victoria era. Highlighting both luminaries such as William Morris and George Bernard Shaw and less familiar figures, the author thoughtfully underscores the somewhat surprising antipathy displayed toward print culture by radical writers, editors, and publishers of the day . . . Recommended."—R. C. Cottrell, CHOICE

"This is an original and valuable piece of scholarship, accessibly and vibrantly written. Its argument for 'slow print', which is supported by excellent close readings of the material dimensions of the texts it discusses, as well as aspects of their literary character, is a highly convincing one."—Mathew Beaumont, University College London

"Slow Print builds carefully on several generations of scholarship in the field—but pushes the scholarly conversation forward in important and new directions through its archival findings and synthetic analysis. This is a sit-up-and-take-notice, must-read book in Victorian and modernist studies."—Ann Ardis, University of Delaware

This book explores the literary culture of Britain's radical press from 1880 to 1910, a time that saw a flourishing of radical political activity as well as the emergence of a mass print industry. While Enlightenment radicals and their heirs had seen free print as an agent of revolutionary transformation, socialist, anarchist and other radicals of this later period suspected that a mass public could not exist outside the capitalist system. In response, they purposely reduced the scale of print by appealing to a small, counter-cultural audience. "Slow print," like "slow food" today, actively resisted industrial production and the commercialization of new domains of life.

Drawing on under-studied periodicals and archives, this book uncovers a largely forgotten literary-political context. It looks at the extensive debate within the radical press over how to situate radical values within an evolving media ecology, debates that engaged some of the most famous writers of the era (William Morris and George Bernard Shaw), a host of lesser-known figures (theosophical socialist and birth control reformer Annie Besant, gay rights pioneer Edward Carpenter, and proto-modernist editor Alfred Orage), and countless anonymous others.

Elizabeth Carolyn Miller is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

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