CANCELLED - (HOBAR) Open University History of Books and Reading Seminar

CANCELLED - (HOBAR) Open University History of Books and Reading Seminar
5 March 2018, 5.30pm - 7.00pm
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Andrew King (University of Greenwich)

‘Serial Marketing: Ouida in the 1860s’

Ouida was not known for her love of serialisation. In a letter to The Times (2 June 1883: 3) she wrote that in the serial form "the writer sacrifices form and harmony to the object of attaining an exciting fragment for each division of his work". Such hostility is hardly surprising:  she started her career with a series of short stories and four serial novels, the last two of which were serialised simultaneously along with a slew of stories and opinion pieces. The intense workload caused her to collapse and retire to the country before she left for Italy where she spent the rest of her life. While some of her later work was serialised, she never again wrote fiction designed for serialisation. This paper compares the serial and volume form versions of the four early novels, placing each in their publishing contexts, and considering their varying relationship to time and current events. I shall also compare how they were serialised in English to how they appeared serially in translation outside Britain. More unusually, I shall also examine how these novels were advertised in serial campaigns avant la lettre. These campaigns will in turn be compared to the media planning of campaigns for other serials and volume-form novels by Ouida and her contemporaries. The paper thus seeks to make a contribution not simply to the study of Ouida but to the transnational history of nineteenth-century publishing and marketing in general.

Andrew King is Professor of English at the University of Greenwich. He is the co-editor of the Researching the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: Case Studies (2017), the Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century Periodicals and Newspapers (2015), Ouida and Victorian Popular Culture (2013), and editor or author of numerous other volumes, chapters and articles on nineteenth-century periodicals and popular fiction. He is currently finishing a literary biography of Ouida before returning to more work on trade and professional journals.


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