The New Monthly Magazine

The New Monthly Magazine

The New Monthly Magazine was a British monthly magazine published by Henry Colburn between 1814 and 1884.



Colburn and Frederic Shoberl established The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register as a "virulently Tory"[1] competitor to Sir Richard Phillips' Monthly Magazine in 1814. "The double-column format and the comprehensive contents combined the Gentleman's Magazine with the Annual Register".[2]

In 1821 Colburn recast the magazine with a more literary and less political focus, retitling it The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal. Nominally edited by the poet Thomas Campbell, most editing fell to the sub-editor Cyrus Redding. Colburn paid contributors well, and they included Sydney Morgan, Thomas Charles Morgan, Peter George Patmore, Mary Shelley, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt, Stendhal, Thomas Noon Talfourd, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ugo Foscolo, Richard Lalor Sheil, Mary Russell Mitford, Edward Bulwer, James and Horace Smith, and William Hazlitt.[3] Hazlitt's 'Table Talk' essays, begun in the London Magazine, appeared in the New Monthly from late 1821, his essay 'The Fight' appeared in 1822[4], and his series 'Spirits of the Age' was later republished in book form as The Spirit of the Age (1825).[5]

Charles Knight's London Magazine merged with the New Monthly in 1829, and in that year Richard Bentley became Colburn's business partner. After Redding resigned in 1830, Campbell found himself unable to edit the magazine on his own and Samuel Carter Hall became editor for a year. In 1831 the novelist Edward Bulwer became editor, turning "the essentially apolitical, slightly Whiggish, literary journal into a vigorous radical organ shouting "Reform" at the top of its lungs."[6] Hall, a political Conservative, had remained as sub-editor, and resisted Bulwer's efforts: Bulwer resigned in 1833, with Hall taking up the editorship once more. Contributors now included Catherine Gore, Anna Maria Hall, Felicia Hemans, Caroline Norton, Thomas Haynes Bayley, and Theodore Edward Hook.

In 1837 the magazine was retitled The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist, to meet the challenge of Bentley's Miscellany. A new editor, Theodore E. Hook, published contributions from Leigh Hunt, Douglas Jerrold, Frederick Marryat, Frances Trollope, Charles Robert Forrester, and W. M. Thackeray. Upon Hook's death in 1841, Thomas Hood was editor until 1843.[7]

In Colburn sold the magazine for £2500 to William Harrison Ainsworth, who had earlier edited Bentley's Miscellany and who now edited his own Ainsworth's Magazine. Ainsworth edited the New Monthly with his cousin William Francis Ainsworth as sub-editor. From 1871–79 William Francis Ainsworth was editor.


Over the years, the magazine had several titles. These are listed at Periodicals Online,[8] and comprise:

  • The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register - February 1814 to December 1820
  • The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal - January 1821 to December 1836
  • The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist - January 1837 to December 1852
  • The New Monthly Magazine - January 1853 to December 1881
  • The New Monthly - January to October 1882.


The editorship of the New Monthly Magazine was complicated by the frequent use of a deputy position, or "working editor".


  1. ^ David Higgins, 'The New Monthly Magazine', The Literary Encyclopedia, 22 Oct. 2006.
  2. ^ 'Introduction', Wellesley Index to Periodical Literature
  3. ^ 'Introduction', Wellesley Index to Periodical Literature; Higgins, The Literary Encyclopedia.
  4. ^ New Monthly Magazine Vol 3, 1822 page 102 at Google Books
  5. ^ Higgins, The Literary Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ Introduction, Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals
  7. ^ 'Introduction', Wellesley Index to Periodical Literature. According to the ODNB, the transcendentalist Francis Barham (1808–1871) edited the paper at around this time: "Two hundred pounds invested in the New Monthly Magazine procured him the joint editorship with John Abraham Heraud, the poet and dramatist. Anne Taylor, ‘Barham, Francis Foster (Alist Francis Barham) (1808–1871)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 4 Jan 2008. Heraud's ODNB entry has him editing the Monthly Magazine from 1839 to 1842, but does not mention the New Monthly.
  8. ^ List of periodical titles,, retrieved 10 June 2010  (Scroll down to see title listings for The New Monthly, listed below The New Londong Magazine and above The New Quarterly Magazine
  9. ^ Banerji, Nilanjana, "Shoberl, Frederic", on the website of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Subscription or UK public library membership required), 
  10. ^
  11. ^ According to Thompson Cooper's DNB article on Barham.

Further reading

Many earlier editions of this publication are now available online. Later volume numbering is sequential by year. In earlier publications, at least one example is to be found of multiple volume numbering in the same year, such as 1822, per examples listed below. The list also illustrates the titles used, and gives an indication of the publishing frequency.

External links

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