|About the Book|
In mid-nineteenth-century Britain, literacy was by no means universal, and printed imagery captured the popular imagination in a way that words alone could not. This study shows how the widening dissemination of print led to the transformation of popular cultural experience such that by 1840 an essentially modern mass culture had begun to develop. Focusing on four illustrated magazines, but looking also at penny fiction and broadsides, Anderson interprets a wide variety of neglected sources. A recurring theme is the decline of the role of high art reproduction. Anderson combines modern cultural theory and historical evidence to demonstrate how people of all kinds--especially workers and women--interacted with the printed image, helping to shape the increasingly visual culture that was ultimately to lead to the growth of twentieth-century mass media.