The New Monthly Magazine

The New Monthly Magazine was a British monthly magazine published from 1814 to 1884. It was founded by Henry Colburn and published by him through to 1845.


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 its April 1819 issue it published John Polidori's Gothic fiction The Vampyre, the first significant piece of prose vampire literature in English, attributing it to Lord Byron, who partly inspired it.

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, Felicia Hemans, 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 "The Spirits of the Age'" was later republished, with essays from other sources, in the book 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, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, 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. Now edited by Theodore Hook,[7] it 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][8]

In 1845 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.[7] From 1871–79 William Francis Ainsworth was editor.


Over the years, the magazine had several titles. These are listed at Periodicals Online,[9] 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". Hook, Hood, Ainsworth, and Ainsworth alone are named on bound volume title pages.[7]


  1. ^ David Higgins, 'The New Monthly Magazine', The Literary Encyclopedia, 22 October 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. ^ a b c d e f g h HathiTrust Digital Library provides full view of bound volumes through 1870, and some thereafter. See one catalogue record (recommended). Volume title pages name these editors:
    • Theodore Hook, Esq (v. 49-62; 1837–41)
    • Thomas Hood, Esq (v. 63-68; 1841–43)
    • none (v. 69-72; 1843–44)
    • William Harrison Ainsworth (v. 73-147; 1845–70), at least
    Prior to 1837, when the full title [...] and Humourist was also introduced, the volume title pages name no editor (relying on spot check of selected volumes). After 1870 the linked HathiTrust catalogue record covers few volumes. Those for 1873 name "William Francis Ainsworth, Ph.D., F.S.A., F.R.G.S., &c." (vols. III-IV, new series).
  8. ^ '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 January 2008. Heraud's ODNB entry has him editing the Monthly Magazine from 1839 to 1842, but does not mention the New Monthly.
  9. ^ List of periodical titles, retrieved 10 June 2010 (Scroll down to see title listings for The New Monthly, listed below The New London Magazine and above The New Quarterly Magazine
  10. ^ Banerji, Nilanjana. "Shoberl, Frederic". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25450.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  11. ^
  12. ^ 1839–1840 Francis Foster Barham edited with John Abraham Heraud, according to Thompson Cooper's DNB article on Barham; contradicted by the ODNB biography of Heraud which says it was the Monthly Magazine 1839–1842, though supported by the ODNB biography of 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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