Review Of Graham's Magazine

1277 words - 5 pages

Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine (Graham’s) is a monthly published literary periodical although it allots other fields including engravings, fashion, and music to a small portion. This magazine deals with variety of literary fields from short stories, poetry, and essays handle various tastes from belles-lettres to sentimental literature. During those periods, the contributors to the magazine, in addition to numerous writers who exist only in tarnishing paper, are included such canonical writers as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, among others. Through its inclusiveness in genres and wide range of literary works, Graham’s gained a broad readership, and simultaneously the magazine contributed to forging white American idealism by keeping silence on political or social issues at that time and reinforcing the already establish social system.
This magazine’s silence for the contemporary issues is evident from its non-existent, editorial statement. One can hardly find explicit editorial position during 1843-44 for mainly two reasons. The owner and chief editor George R. Graham did not have his specific taste for literature or editorial position; his first concern was apparently a cultural business not culture itself. In his article “A Brief History of Graham Magazine,” Frank Luther Mott mentions that this magazine was the result of the combination of the Casket: Flowers of Literature, Wit and Sentiment and Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. He continues to contend that when Graham purchased the two magazines and merged as Graham Magazine, he just followed the merits from each magazine, which would promote the readership (364). On the other hand, Graham himself did not seem to regard editorial statement as serious. Editorial sections are rarely found in the issues published during those periods. This is the case even with other issues which were produced during tremendous changes in the magazine. For example, the magazine did not put any special announcement on when the two aforementioned magazines were merged, or when Poe began to work as an editor. Graham’s initial concern seemed to gain broad readership without seriousness on his philosophy for cultural or intellectual atmosphere. The absence of explicit editorial statements is more evident in the magazine’s nonchalant attitude toward political or social issues. Given woman suffrage movement, anti-slave movement at that time, this periodical amazingly kept distance from those issues. This detachment, on the other hand, helped to secure broader readership throughout America because of its inclusiveness resulted from its silence.
Graham’s trend for pure literature makes it possible to surmise the characteristics of its readership. This magazine comprises light readings in various genres, the subject matter of which are more about domestic issues such as marriage tinted with didacticism. They are quite predictable...

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