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Title:Keynotes and discords: John Lane's "Keynotes Series", 1893-1897
Author(s):Noe, Mark Dexter
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kramer, Dale
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:Between 1893 and 1897, John Lane published thirty-three works--fourteen novels and nineteen short story collections--under the collective title "The Keynotes Series." The series began with its namesake, George Egerton's avant-garde Keynotes, in December 1893. Drawings for the cover, the title page, and a key-shaped emblem were all done by Aubrey Beardsley, and the book was priced at a low three shillings six pence. When Keynotes met with rapid success, Lane capitalized on it by issuing several more works with similarly up-to-date themes, artistic covers and formats, and low prices. The Wilde trials in mid-1895 forced Lane to make visible changes in his business generally. Subsequently, the thematic content of the Keynotes Series received greater editorial attention, and the artistic content suffered with the separation of Beardsley from the firm. Though the series continued through 1896 and even lingered into 1897, the public and critical acceptance of its offerings deteriorated noticeably. The series finally died out in early 1897, ties to it having become a disadvantage for an author.
The life of the Keynotes Series took the form of a parabola, beginning with tentative yet bold steps into new forms of literature, rather quickly rising to a peak of popularity with both the public and the critics, maintaining some of its artistic qualities to the very end, but still falling off in popularity and critical acclaim to an unplanned and disorganized end. Within its life, the series achieved some great successes with generally avant-garde fiction written by mostly young and inexperienced writers, gaining a notable place for both the Bodley Head Publishing Company and its leader, John Lane, in the annals of the publishing world. Lane's methods and philosophy, frequently modified in response to the changing public mood, were nonetheless consistent enough to insure a successful product.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Noe, Mark Dexter
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305637
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305637

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