“Now Inhale the Gas”: Interactive Readership in Two Victorian Boys’ Periodicals, 1855–1870
Victorian Periodicals Review, Volume 42, Number 1, Spring 2009
This article examines two mid-Victorian periodicals for boys that defined a teenage market a century before the modern concept of the teenager emerged, and considers the relationship between their editors and readers. Distancing his journal from the concerns with “female accomplishments” common to contemporary family magazines of the time, Samuel Beeton set out in his pioneering The Boy’s Own Magazine (1855-1874) to cater for the interests and emotional needs of middle-class boys, and, through competitions and correspondence columns, to interrelate with his audience. Beeton’s periodical is compared with The Boys’ Journal (1863-1871), which pursued these objectives with a different class of reader, featuring robust adventure yarns and popular science.