The serial publication of fiction began to change in the late 1850s with the appearance of such illustrated weeklies as Once a Week (1859) and The Cornhill (1860), which over the next decade ousted the old-style, cheap, non-illustrated literary magazines such as Bentley's, Ainsworth's, and All the Year Round. Furthermore, a new kind of fiction, the Sensation Novel (derisively called "The Bigamy Novel" by its detractors) developed in the 1860s as an offshoot of the less realistic Gothic Novel. The part-publication of Dickens was almost entirely subsumed by these new literary magazines, although America's Atlantic Monthly and Britain's Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine continued to publish high-quality fiction (such as that by Joseph Conrad) without accompanying illustrations. In this respect, Great Expectations (1861) was very much a throw-back, appearing first in a cheap, pulp-paper weekly rather than in a new commodity text such as Good Words.
Cruikshank, Phiz, and their tribe retired, replaced by a host of young, realistic illustrators such as George Du Maurier, Robert Barnes, Arthur Hopkins, and C. S. Reinhart, gifted commercial artists who worked mostly for the new, illustrated magazines of the 1860s. French novelists such as Balzac, Flaubert, Daudet, the Goncourts (the so-called "Naturalist School"), De Maupassant and Jules Verne, the Russians Turgenev and Count Leo Tolstoy, and Americans such as Twain, Melville, and Henry James continued to produce popular fiction from abroad, a trend established earlier in the century by Dumas, Poe, Hawthorne, and Fennimore Cooper.
Finally, children's literature, which had in its infancy produced only a few best-selling classics, such as Mary Sherwood's The Fairchild Family (1818) Catherine Sinclair's Holiday House (1839), was about to enter the Golden Age, with Lewis Carroll and Edith Nesbit and a host of other writers whose works aimed primarily at a child and juvenile market would continue to be best-sellers well into the twentieth century.
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Last modified 25 August 2018