Fortnightly Review

Fortnightly Review

"Fortnightly Review" was one of the most important and influential magazines in nineteenth-century England. It was founded in 1865 by Anthony Trollope, Frederic Harrison, Edward Spencer Beesly, and six others with an investment of ₤9,000; the first edition appeared on 15 May, 1865. [Turner 2000: 74] George Henry Lewes, the partner of George Eliot, was its first editor.


It aimed to offer a platform for a range of ideas, in reaction to the highly partisan journalism of its day, but by the time Lewes left due to ill health and was replaced by 28 year old John Morley, the "Fortnightly" had become known as a partisan and Liberal magazine in its own right. [Turner 2000: 76] . It was one of the first publications to name the authors of its articles at a time when work usually appeared anonymously or under a pseudonym. As might be expected from its name, it appeared every two weeks during its first year, at 2 shillings a copy, but was published monthly thereafter. Sutherland termed it an English '"Revue des Deux Mondes"' and noted that it was "pitched at a higher level than other English journals of its class."

The "Fortnightly" prospered under Morley, its sales increasing to 2,500 by 1872. Morley, a liberal, published articles favouring reform in academia, work place relations, female emancipation and religion. A host of soon-to-be-famous literary figures were featured in its pages, with three novels by Anthony Trollope and two by George Meredith being serialised by the magazine. Trollope's novel of thwarted desire 'The Belton Estate' was the first book to be serialised in its pages, between 15 May 1865 and 1 January 1866, and his radical novel 'Lady Anna' and 'The Eustace Diamonds' also made their first appearance there. It also published the poetry of Algernon Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and William Morris.

Morley fell out of favour with the more conservative publishers of the journal and was replaced by T.H.S. Escott in 1882. The new editor published political articles from across the spectrum in a return to the "Review"'s original intention. Ill health forced him to relinquish the reins in 1886 when Frank Harris took over for eight successful years. Houghton reports that “almost every distinguished English writer and critic of the day was among his contributors”. Harris' liberal views led to his replacement as editor in 1894 by the long serving W.L. Courtney (1894-1928), who featured work from some of the giants of early 20th century literature, including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound. In addition to literature and politics, the magazine also published several articles on science, notably astronomy, animal behaviour and topical issues of instinct and morality. The magazine finally ceased publication in 1934.


* [ Fortnightly Review]

* [

* [ Trollope's 'The Belton Estate' in the Fortnightly Review]




Further reading

* Houghton, Walter, ed. The Fortnightly Review. "The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900. Vol. 2". Toronto:Univ. of Toronto Press, 1966. pp.173-183.

* Sullivan, Alvin, ed. The Fortnightly Review. "British Literary Magazines. vol. 3". Westport, CT:Greenwood Press, 1983-. pp.131-135.

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