About the Athenaeum

The Athenaeum was a widely read literary and scientific periodical, published between 1828 and 1923. It grew to become one of the most influential periodicals of the Victorian period (eventually metamorphosing into The New Statesman), and is regarded by historians as a mirror of that time. It contained reviews, articles, reports of learned societies, and news from the scientific and political worlds. As was the convention at the time, reviews were published anonymously.

Many University libraries hold runs of the Athenaeum, but there is only one run of "marked" copies which is held by the City University Library, London. The "marked" copies contain handwritten surnames beside the reviews and articles, from which it has been possible to establish the identity of review contributors.

Image of an editorial mark The mark shown here is taken from the review of George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, recording the name of the contributor as Jewsbury, which refers to Geraldine Jewsbury, a well-known novelist and critic of the day.

Below is a scanned image of the full review, published in Issue 1693 on April 7th, 1860. Note the handwritten editor's mark at the foot identitifying the contributor.

Note that this is an example only; please consult a printed copy of the Athenaeum if you wish to read full reviews.


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