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Title:Popular Sunday Newspapers in Late -Victorian Britain
Author(s):Kamper, David Scott
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Arnstein, Walter L.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This study examines Britain's popular Sunday newspapers during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Papers like Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, Reynolds's Newspaper, People, and Weekly Dispatch sold millions of copies each week in the 1880s and 1890s, but have received little attention from scholars. This study asks three key research questions about British Sunday papers. First, the study seeks to identify the ownership, editorship and circulation of the leading Sunday newspapers, and concludes that the late-Victorian years constituted the high point in the sales and influence of independent Sunday newspapers. Second, the study looks at how popular Sunday newspapers were perceived by Victorian society, and what role they played in Victorian culture. This study examines the never-before-used records of the Retail Newsagents and Booksellers' Union, which represented the small shopkeepers who sold most Sunday papers, as well as contemporary press commentaries and political discussions. These sources show that Victorian Sunday newspapers were seen as unrespectable because they were viewed as sensational scandal sheets for working-class, low-status readers. This status was reflected in Victorian conflicts over "Seven-Day Journalism." The third research question this study asked was what roles, if any, Sunday newspapers played in the lives of their readers. The present work compares daily and Sunday newspaper coverage of three important news events---the London Dock Strike of 1889, the "Jack the Ripper" murders of 1888, and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee of 1897---to see the similarities and differences in coverage, language, and rhetoric. This study demonstrates that Sunday newspapers, despite their individual political and stylistic peculiarities, covered these news events differently than daily newspapers in significant ways. Most importantly, this study argues that Sunday newspapers used languages of working-class agency that daily newspapers did not, which challenges the conclusions of other recent scholars of newspapers. This study concludes that Britain's popular Sunday newspapers have much to contribute to our understanding of late-Victorian politics, society and culture.
Issue Date:2003
Description:306 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3111555
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

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