1st Edition

Writing for Social Change in Temperance Periodicals Conviction and Career

By Annemarie McAllister Copyright 2023

    This book suggests alternative ways of looking at what made a writer, what people gained from writing, and explores the alternative world of temperance periodicals of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It introduces some of the now-forgotten writers who, in their thousands, kept the Victorian periodical presses rolling, and the public entertained. Locating their writing in the context of their personal commitment, the study takes seven prolific writers who were outside what we now think of as the circuits of conventional publication and authorship, and looks at how they found ways to make their voices heard. Their absorption in a cause led them to forge impressive writing careers in a variety of genres and media, focusing around high-circulation temperance periodicals. Examining their cultural contributions as well as their professional lives confirms the importance of the temperance movement in the second half of the nineteenth century, and raises questions about distribution practices and values, and distinctions between "life" and "work."




    1. Conviction and Career

    2. Clara Lucas Balfour: writing and lecturing as symbiotic vocation

    3. William Hoyle: editor, poet, and songsmith

    4. Mary Anna Paull: the flowering of a temperance novelist

    5. Frank Adkins: special agent with a drive to write

    6. Alfred J. Glasspool: juggling the Guildhall and the lecture hall

    7. Walter N. Edwards: a life in scientific temperance

    8. Mary Magdalen Forrester: from the dye tub to the editor’s chair

    9. Conclusion



    Dr. Annemarie McAllister is Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Central Lancashire and has a background in literature and cultural history, with a special interest in periodicals and print culture. She has written widely on the cultural, social, and political history of the UK temperance movement, and edited a volume of The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs on "Temperance Past and Present" in 2019.

    "Annemarie McAllister’s Writing for Social Change brings to life the dynamic counter-culture of the nineteenth-century temperance movement in Britain and broadens our received ideas about social reform literature. Temperance activists worked in a wide array of genres – from didactic tales to sensation fiction, from exhortative poetry to music hall ditties, from "thing" stories to magic lantern shows – which McAllister elucidates in a series of sensitive readings. This meticulously researched volume provides an atlas to unknown world; students of working-class literature, popular culture, and periodical studies will find it indispensable."

    Gregory Vargo, Associate Professor, New York University, USA