The Loudons and the Gardening Press: A Victorian Cultural Industry, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Loudons and the Gardening Press

A Victorian Cultural Industry, 1st Edition

By Sarah Dewis


294 pages

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pub: 2014-02-12
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Through close readings of individual serials and books and archival work on the publication history of the Gardener’s Magazine (1826-44) Sarah Dewis examines the significant contributions John and Jane Webb Loudon made to the gardening press and democratic discourse. Vilified during their lifetimes by some sections of the press, the Loudons were key players in the democratization of print media and the development of the printed image. Both offered women readers a cultural alternative to the predominantly literary and classical culture of the educated English elite. In addition, they were innovatory in emphasizing the value of scientific knowledge and the acquisition of taste as a means of eroding class difference. As well as the Gardener’s Magazine, Dewis focuses on the lavish eight-volume Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum (1838), an encyclopaedia of trees and shrubs, and On the Laying Out, Planting, and Managing of Cemeteries (1843), arguing that John Loudon was a radical activist who reconfigured gardens in the public sphere as a landscape of enlightenment and as a means of social cohesion. Her book is important in placing the Loudons’ publications in the context of the history of the book, media history, garden history, urban social history, history of education, nineteenth-century radicalism and women’s journalism.


'…Those interested in the history of science, publishing, women, Britain, cemeteries, libraries, periodicals, urban spaces, class, and gardening will enjoy this book.' ’… a thorough and skilled study of the contributions made by John and Jane Loudon to early nineteenth-century garden publishing, bringing together the disciplines of media history, social history, politics, journalism and garden history.’ Garden History 'Sarah Dewis … is the first scholar to examine systematically [the Loudons's] remarkable contribution to gardening and democratic discourse during a period of profound social and political change and industrial and agricultural improvement, and to explore the relevance and impact of their publications for the period 1820 to 1850 … [an] admirable study.' Print Quarterly 'Given its extensive attention to print culture, this book will be of interest to scholars working on book and media history and its relationship to urban spaces and landscape design. … The Loudons and the Gardening Press is a valuable contribution to scholarship on nineteenth-century print culture.' Victorian Periodicals Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Who are the Gardeners? The radical origins of the Gardener’s Magazine; John Loudon as editor; Image and text in the Gardener’s Magazine; National discourse: John Loudon, activism and landscape; Domestic discourse: John Loudon, periodicals for women and the book manufactory; Jane Webb Loudon, editor and author of garden publications; Conclusion; Bibliography of works cited; Index.

About the Author

Sarah Dewis followed a career in design with the BBC. She completed her doctorate at Birkbeck, University of London and is an independent scholar.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Media & Communications Industries
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature