By Margaret Oliphant
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2010
Online Publication Date:April 2011
Original Publication Year:1897
Subjects: Printing and publishing history , English literature: general interest
Margaret Oliphant (1828–1897) is best known as the author of nearly one hundred novels, but also wrote short stories and biographies. Closely connected with Blackwoods of Edinburgh from 1851, shortly before her death she was commissioned to write a history of the publishing firm by director William Blackwood, grandson of the founder. From small beginnings, the firm had rapidly become the leading Scottish publishing house, dominating the literary world, particularly through Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine and an impressive list of famous authors. These included Thomas de Quincey, Walter Scott, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Magazine introduced the convention of having novels issued in serial form before publication as a book, which became standard practice for authors such as Dickens, Thackeray and Eliot. Volume 1 covers the early career of William Blackwood and the establishment of the firm, its commercial relationships, and the foundation of the Magazine.