Cover of the issue for May, 1760
The London Magazine is a publication of arts, literature and miscellaneous interests. Its history ranges across nearly three centuries and several reincarnations, publishing writers including William Wordsworth, William S. Burroughs and John Keats.
The London Magazine, the second oldest literary periodical, was founded in 1732 in political opposition and rivalry to the Tory-based Gentleman's Magazine and ran for 53 years until its closure in 1785. Edward Kimber became editor in 1755, succeeding his father Isaac Kimber. Henry Mayo was editor from 1775 to 1783. Publishers included Thomas Astley.
In 1820, the London Magazine was resurrected by the publishers Baldwin, Craddock & Joy under the editorship of John Scott who formatted the magazine along the lines of the Edinburgh publication Blackwood's Magazine. It was during this time the magazine enjoyed its greatest literary prosperity, publishing poetic luminaries such as William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Clare and John Keats.
In September 1821, the first of two installments of Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater appeared in the journal; these were later published in book form. Scott quickly began a literary row with members of Blackwood, in particular with John Gibson Lockhart in regards to many subjects including Blackwood's virulent criticism of the "Cockney School", under which Leigh Hunt and John Keats were grouped. The quarrell ended in a fatal duel between Scott and Lockhart's close friend and workmate J. H. Christie. Scott lost the duel and his life in 1821.
The London Magazine continued under the editorship of John Taylor and included a working staff of Thomas Hood, William Hazlitt and Charles Lamb. During this time Lamb published his earliest series of Essays of Elia beginning in 1820. The magazine dwindled in success towards the end of the decade because of Taylor's insistent tampering with the poets' works; and it was abandoned by many of its staff, including Lamb and Hazlitt. The London Magazine again ceased publication in 1829.
The title was revived in November 1875 for "a monthly of light literature, conducted by Will Williams",[This quote needs a citation] where it appears to have gone under the simpler moniker, The London, and where it has been described as "a society paper", and as being "a journal of a type more usual in Paris than London, written for the sake of its contributors rather than of the public."
A significant development in this period was the arrival of William Ernest Henley, who accepted a position at The London as its editor, serving (from 15 December 1877) in the capacity for the closing two years of this incarnation (1877-1879). In addition to his inviting its articles and editing all content, Henley anonymously contributed tens of poems to the journal, "chiefly in old French forms," some of which have been termed "brilliant" (later published in a compilation from Gleeson White). This period also saw publication of Robert Louis Stevenson's seminal short story, "The New Arabian Nights," in The London.
In 1900 Harmsworth's Monthly Pictorial Magazine was renamed the London Magazine by Cecil Harmsworth, proprietor of the Daily Mail at the time. The publication continued until 1930 as part of Amalgamated Press when it was renamed the New London Magazine. The Australian scholar Sue Thomas referred to it as "an important informer... of popular literary tastes in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods". Despite its acclaim, the magazine closed in 1933.
In 1954, a new periodical was given the name of the London Magazine under the editorship of John Lehmann, largely continuing the tradition of the acclaimed 1940s periodical New Writing. It was endorsed by T. S. Eliot as a non-university based periodical that would "boldly assume the existence of a public interested in serious literature." In 1961 the magazine changed hands and was renamed London Magazine. The editor was Lehmann's fellow poet and critic Alan Ross and publication continued until Ross's death in 2001 prompted its closure again. Under both Lehmann and Ross the magazine was published by Chatto & Windus. However it was quickly relaunched by Christopher Arkell and the poet and literary critic Sebastian Barker. When Barker retired as editor in early 2008, Sara-Mae Tuson took over.
In July 2009 Arkell sold the magazine to Burhan Al-Chalabi who is now the publisher, with Steven O'Brien as editor and Lucy Binnersley as production manager. The current patrons are Lord Risby, Oliver Hylton, Stanley Johnson and Stephen Fry.
The London Magazine has re-launched under the editorship of Steven O’Brien. It is a more modern, digitalized magazine re-invigorated for the twenty-first-century, which combines a rich history through writings and texts with a contemporary outlook, and which draws together ideas, and voices, from across the globe. The London Magazine is published six times per year. It publishes both emerging and established writers from around the world. Its current contributors include Charlotte Metcalf, Christopher Ricks, Jonathan Marriott, Serena Gosden-Hood, Simon Tait and Will Stone.
- Hathi Trust. The London Magazine, or, Gentleman's monthly intelligencer. 1832 – ca. 1882
- Elise Blanchard. "London-Based Lit Mags". The Review Review. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- The London Magazine website
- Herrie, Jeffrey. "Kimber, Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/15547.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- John Watkins (1806). A biographical, historical and chronological dictionary: containing a faithful accounts of the lives, characters and actions of the most eminent persons of all ages and all countries; including the revolutions of states and the succession of sovereign princes. Printed for Richard Phillips ... by T. Gillet. p. 559. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- Stephens, John. "Mayo, Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18456.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Barnett, George L. Charles Lamb: the Evolution of Elia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964, p. 41.
- Hathi Trust. London Magazine 1820–1829
- Gleeson White, Ed. 1888, Ballades and Rondeaus, Chants Royal, Sestinas, Villanelles, &c.: Selected with Chapter on the Various Forms (William Sharp, Gen. Series Ed.), pp. xix, 16-22, 77-82, 139-141, 169-173, 221, 251-253, and 288-290, London, England:Walter Scott Ltd., see ; Project Gutenberg online edition, see , accessed 8 May 2015.
- W.P. James, 1911, "Henley, William Ernest," in Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed. (Hugh Chisholm & Walter Alison Phillips, Eds.), Vol. 13, Project Gutenberg part 271, see , accessed 8 May 2015.
- Brake, Laurel; Demoor, Marysa, eds. (2009). Dictionary of Nineteenth-century Journal in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press. p. 373.
- Hathi Trust. London Magazine, 1954–
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