The American journal, Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. featured several advertisements for A Strange Story, which succeeded Great Expectations as the serial novel for All the Year Round in England, and began its serial run in Harper's immediately after the conclusion of the Dickens novel. On 6 July 1861 the following advertisement appeared on page 418:

A NEW SERIAL BY BULWER.

Mr. Chas. Dickens's admirable Tale "GREAT EXPECTATIONS" will be concluded in No. 240 of Harper's Weekly. We have the pleasure of announcing that it will be followed by the commencement of

A NEW SERIAL BY SIR EDWARD LYTTON BULWER [sic], ENTITLED "A STRANGE STORY,"

which will be continued from week to week till completed.

The unrivalled merit of the latest works of Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer justifies the assertion that his power as a Novelist is steadily on the increase, and warrants the belief that his new Tale will be even more thrillingly interesting than "WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?" or "MY NOVEL" — both of which were read by at least half a million of people in this country.

The ad was briefly repeated on 27 July 1861; it is noteworthy that, although the second publicity statement mentioned that the new Bulwer-Lytton novel would be "handsomely illustrated" (p. 466), neither blurb mentioned the illustrations for it by house-artist John McLenan, whose forty plates, large and small, had accompanied the Harper's run of Great Expectations. The formats of McLenan's designs were identical in that he tended to begin each instalment of both novels with a single-column width, uncaptioned plate of 3.75 inches (10.2 cm) in height, and then at the bottom of the same page provide a larger, one-and-a-half-column width captioned plate 4.25 inches (11.5 cm) wide and 4.0 to 5.0 inches high. During the period of its serialization in Harper's the Bulwer-Lytton novel's instalments sometimes appeared without illustration of any kind (e. g., 21 Sept., 5 Oct., 12 Oct., 9 Nov., 30 Nov., and 28 Dec.), probably because the editorial staff wanted to devote more space to illustrations depicting the conflict between the federal and secessionist forces then raging.

Pressure was undoubtedly being placed upon Great Britain by the break-away Confederacy for full diplomatic recognition, despite general British sentiment against slavery and in favour of President Lincoln's anti-separatist stance. Ironically, although the magazine's political cartoons often criticized Great Britain (in the person of John Bull) for supporting the Confederacy economically by continuing to import Southern cotton despite a Northern embargo of ports such as Charleston, the attitude towards British writers throughout this volume of Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization remains one of respect, and even veneration.


Victorian Overview

Last updated 13 August 2005