Household Words

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Household Words
Householdwordsvol2.jpg
Front cover of Vol. II,
September 28, 1850-
March 22, 1851
AuthorEditor: Charles Dickens
Original titleHousehold Words, A Weekly Journal conducted by Charles Dickens
CountryEngland
LanguageEnglish
SeriesMonthly:
27 March 1850 - 28 May 1859
GenreMagazine
PublisherBradbury & Evans
Media typePrint
Followed byAll the Year Round
 
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Household Words
Householdwordsvol2.jpg
Front cover of Vol. II,
September 28, 1850-
March 22, 1851
AuthorEditor: Charles Dickens
Original titleHousehold Words, A Weekly Journal conducted by Charles Dickens
CountryEngland
LanguageEnglish
SeriesMonthly:
27 March 1850 - 28 May 1859
GenreMagazine
PublisherBradbury & Evans
Media typePrint
Followed byAll the Year Round

Household Words was an English weekly magazine edited by Charles Dickens in the 1850s. It took its name from the line in Shakespeare's Henry V: "Familiar in his mouth as household words."

History[edit]

During the planning stages titles originally considered by Dickens' included 'The Robin', 'The Household Voice', 'The Comrade', 'The Lever' and 'The Highway Of Life'.[1]

Household Words was published every Wednesday from March 1850 to May 1859. Each number cost a mere tuppence, thereby ensuring a wide readership. The publication's first edition carried a section covering the paper's principles, entitled "A Preliminary Word":

We aspire to live in the Household affections, and to be numbered among the Household thoughts, of our readers. We hope to be the comrade and friend of many thousands of people, of both sexes, and of all ages and conditions, on whose faces we may never look. We seek to bring to innumerable homes, from the stirring world around us, the knowledge of many social wonders, good and evil, that are not calculated to render any of us less ardently persevering in ourselves, less faithful in the progress of mankind, less thankful for the privilege of living in this summer-dawn of time.

—-Charles Dickens

A longer version of the publications principles appeared in newspapers such as The Argus in September 1850.[2]

Theoretically, the paper championed the cause of the poor and working classes, but in fact addressed itself almost exclusively to the middle class. Only the name of Dickens, the journal's "conductor," appeared;. Articles were unsigned (although authors of serialized novels were identified) and, in spite of its regularly featuring an "advertiser," unillustrated.

In order to boost slumping sales Dickens serialized his own novel, Hard Times, every week between April 1 and August 12, 1854. It had the desired effect more than doubling the journal's circulation and encouraging the author who remarked that he was, "Three parts mad, and the fourth delirious, with perpetual rushing at Hard Times".

That Dickens owned half of the company and his agents, John Forster and William Henry Wills, owned a further quarter of it was insurance that the author would have a free hand in the paper. Wills was also appointed associate editor and, in December 1849, Dickens' acquaintance, writer and poet Richard Henry Horne was appointed sub-editor at a salary of 'five guineas a week'.[3] In 1859, however, owing to a dispute between Dickens and the publishers, Bradbury and Evans, it was replaced by All the Year Round in which he had greater control.

The journal contained a mixture of fiction and nonfiction. A large amount of the non-fiction dealt with the social issues of the time.

Serialized works[edit]

Prominent works that were serialized in Household Words included:

Collaborative works[edit]

Dickens would also collaborate with other staff writers on a number of Christmas stories and plays for seasonal issues of the magazine. These included:

Other contributors to Household Words included author James Payn.

A complete key to who wrote what and for how much in Household Words was compiled in 1973 by Anne Lohrli, using an analysis of the office account book maintained by Dickens' subeditor, W. H. Wills.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Percy Hetherington (1913). Memories of Charles Dickens, with an account of "Household words" and "All the year round" and of the contributors thereto. Bristol, England: J. W. Arrowsmith. pp. 120–121. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  2. ^ "HOUSEHOLD WORDS.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 2 September 1850. p. 4. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Blainey, Ann (1963). The farthing poet : a biography of Richard Hengist Horne, 1802-84; a lesser literary lion. London: Longmans. p. 179. 

External links[edit]