John Middleton Murry's Editorial Practices 1911-1927

Moster, Brittany (2020). John Middleton Murry's Editorial Practices 1911-1927. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis tracks the editorial development of John Middleton Murry (1889-1957), a prolific writer of criticism, fiction, and poetry, and the editor of some of the twentieth century’s most influential artistic and literary magazines. Five of them are examined in this thesis: Rhythm (1911-1913), the Blue Review (1913), the Signature (1915), the Athenaeum (1919-1921), and the Adelphi (1923-1927). This thesis aims to reinsert Murry into the modernist dialogue by affirming both the importance of editorships to periodical studies and the influence of his editorial practices on twentieth-century art and literature. The thesis highlights his developing editorial aptitude and the influence he wielded as a magazine editor. Chapter 1 examines Rhythm, the Blue Review, and the Signature. During these early editorships, he learned many of the techniques that would become identifying features of his editorial career, such as methods of interacting with his audiences. Chapter 2 tracks his editorship of the literary review the Athenaeum and examines the ways in which he transformed the struggling review into a critical success, in spite of suggestions by scholars that his editorship was a failure. Chapter 3 addresses the first four years of Murry’s editorship of the Adelphi, the magazine he founded in 1923 to combat the mechanistic and, in his opinion, inaccessible nature of literary criticism. While Murry’s seemingly sudden turn from a well-respected critic to an anti-critical editor shocked many of his fellow writers, this thesis demonstrates how his desire to make literature and art more accessible was evident throughout his editorial career and was refined as his editorial confidence increased. Examining Murry’s editorial development alongside the cultural and personal motivations for his decisions, this thesis delivers the only book-length editorial study of one of the most overlooked figures of twentieth-century literature while drawing attention to the value of editorial studies, and of Murry’s editorships in particular, to periodical modernism.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of English
Funders: Other
Other Funders: University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NE Print media
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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