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Arising in the 1800s and soon drawing a million readers a day, the commercial press profoundly influenced the work of Brontė, Braddon, Dickens, Conrad, James, Trollope, and others who mined print journalism for fictional techniques. Five of the most important of these narrative conventions--the shipping intelligence, personal advertisement, leading article, interview, and foreign correspondence--show how the Victorian novel is best understood alongside the simultaneous development of newspapers. In highly original analyses of Victorian fiction, this study also captures the surprising ways in which public media enabled the expression of private feeling among ordinary readers: from the trauma caused by a lover's reported suicide to the vicarious gratification felt during a celebrity interview; from the distress at finding one's behavior the subject of unflattering editorial commentary to the apprehension of distant cultures through the foreign correspondence. Combining a wealth of historical research with a series of astute close readings, The Novelty of Newspapers breaks down the assumed divide between the epoch's literature and journalism and demonstrates that newsprint was integral to the development of the novel.
Matthew Rubery is a Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the editor or coeditor of Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (Routledge, 2011) and Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism (Broadview, 2012).