FLORENCE, S.C. – Emily Lorraine de Montluzin, a professor of history at Francis Marion University, has published her sixth book, Daily Life in Georgian England as Reported in the “Gentleman’s Magazine.”
The book is a fully annotated scholarly anthology of selected excerpts from the Gentleman’s Magazine concerning topics of crime, medicine, science and natural history, archaeology, religion, parliamentary reporting, the American Colonies, the French Revolution, riots and radicalism, and literary criticism.
Established in 1731 and generally considered the first magazine in England, the Gentleman’s Magazine constitutes an enormous and scarcely tapped source for scholarly investigation of Hanoverian culture and society. After a general introduction, de Montluzin’s anthology offers nine chapters containing annotated excerpts from the first hundred years of publication, arranged topically, chosen to cover the widest possible range of aspects of Georgian life.
In the 18th century, before railroads speeded up transportation, most people in England had no access to daily newspapers. For thousands of readers in England and colonial America, the monthly issues of the Gentleman’s Magazine brought them news of politics, wars, scientific discoveries, criminal trials, Captain Cook’s voyage of exploration, Jenner’s discovery of the smallpox vaccine, the guillotining of Louis XVI, the excavation of Herculaneum, the first balloon flight in the British Isles, improvements in farm machinery, the sighting of Halley’s Comet, the mutiny on the Bounty, a new method of cutting out cataracts (before anesthesia), and even how to exterminate cockroaches – by drowning them in a bowl of beer fitted with a convenient up-ramp.
The Gentleman’s Magazine had a wide readership in the Thirteen Colonies as well as England. George Washington was a regular subscriber, and Benjamin Franklin’s letters describing his experiments with the lightning rod and the kite and key found their way into the magazine. Contributors in South Carolina sent in accounts of a catastrophic fire in Charleston as well as the start-up costs of indigo plantations, and the Gentleman’s Magazine published one of the earliest reports of the “skirmish” at Lexington and Concord.
Daily Life in Georgian England as Reported in the “Gentleman’s Magazine” is published by the Edwin Mellen Press, an international publisher of scholarly research. The book is volume 14 of Edwin Mellen Press’s series, Studies in British and American Magazines.
De Montluzin has taught in the History Department at Francis Marion University since 1974. She is the author of five earlier books identifying anonymous and pseudonymous contributors to the Anti-Jacobin Review, the Gentleman’s Magazine, and the European Magazine, as well as articles concerning 18th- and 19th-century British press history.
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