Articles

“Belt-and-Braces” Serialization: The Case of Heart and Science

by Steve Farmer and Graham Law

By “belt-and-braces” serialization is meant the publication of a novel in instalments simultaneously in both a metropolitan periodical distributed nationwide and in a syndicate of provincial journals with complementary regional circulations. Since the metropolitan periodicals in question were often monthly literary magazines, while the provincial journals were generally weekly miscellaneous newspapers, this frequently involved division of the same work into both monthly and weekly instalments. For practical reasons, despite the gradual reduction in the length of the average triple-decker novel during the second half of the nineteenth century, the weekly part remained consistently shorter than the monthly (Phillips, 86). The typical serial instalment found in a monthly miscellany was down to not much more than ten thousand words by the 1880s, but this would still have over- run the space available in a weekly journal. While there are isolated earlier examples of the initial publication of Victorian fiction simultaneously in ‘fat’ monthly and ‘thin’ weekly numbers, such as Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard in the late 1830s or Dickens’sTale of Two Cities ten years later, the belt-and-braces approach itself was not possible until after the rise of the syndicate system in the mid 1870s.1

Through this system, the provincial weekly press, which had begun to feature local or reprinted fiction from the mid 1850s with the gradual repeal of the ‘taxes on knowledge’, was enabled for a brief period to compete successfully with metropolitan periodicals and offer substantial sums to established authors for serial rights to original fiction. Beginning in 1873, Tillotsons Fiction Bureau in Bolton was the first and most successful operator, but there were quickly several competitors in the field, including Leaders in Sheffield.

As shown in detail elsewhere (Law Forthcoming), the rise of the provincial syndicates is itself best understood as a transitional phase between two distinct stages in the periodical publication of new fiction, in both of which the market is dominated by metropolitan publishers. The first, typical of the mid-nineteenth century, is monthly serialization in more expensive, low circulation formats (either independent numbers or literary magazines, both generally sold at a shilling or more) produced as petty commodities for the bourgeois market by London book publishers. The second, characteristic of the end of the century, is weekly serialization in cheaper, high circulation formats (either news miscellanies or news magazines, often sold for as little as a penny) produced as commodities for the mass market by London newspaper proprietors. Belt-and-braces serializations then can be seen as reflecting fine adjustments in the balance of power between the provincial and metropolitan press within that phase of transition.

As suggested in Table 1 and confirmed by the archives at New York and Chapel Hill, most of the belt-and-braces serializations that have been traced were arranged by A.P. Watt, the pioneering professional literary agent.2 Watt’s role gradually evolved from that of advertising agent in the mid-1870s, through that of negotiator of fiction serial rights for both publishers and authors from the end of that decade, until by the mid-1890s he could claim wide-ranging literary influence throughout the English-speaking world (Law Forthcoming, Ch.4). Nearly all the examples of belt-and-braces serializations noted before 1885 involve monthly metropolitan appearances, and many feature the young publishing house of Chatto and Windus and their shilling literary miscellany Belgravia. In addition to employing Watt to sell on the serial rights to works already published in volume, Chatto and Windus seem to have allowed or even encouraged their authors to serialize their new works simultaneously in Belgravia and with the syndicates.3 The reasons for Chatto’s policy must have been mainly financial. By 1880, like that of many of the other shilling monthlies founded in the 1860s, the print-run of Belgravia was below 10,000 and falling steadily (Edwards, 2), thus severely limiting the remuneration that could be offered to authors for serial rights. Granting freedom to publish simultaneously in country journals must have considerably enhanced the attractiveness of Chatto’s offers to well-known authors. For such writers, many of whom, like Collins himself, found the idea of appearing in cheap provincial newspapers rather demeaning, it was reassuring to have a respectable metropolitan periodical participating in the venture. Nevertheless, the role of the metropolitan monthlies in these early arrangements can properly be described as defensive with regard to the provincial press.

Most of the examples of belt-and-braces serializations traced after 1885 feature weekly metropolitan serialization, many in the successful illustrated newspapers, the Illustrated London News and the Graphic.Here the role of the London proprietors is more aggressive. Though these illustrated papers were relatively expensive at sixpence and aimed at a ‘class’ rather than a ‘mass’ audience (a pairing popularized by Gladstone in 1886 in a newspaper article), by the mid 1880s both were probably selling above two hundred thousand copies for ordinary issues and could reach over half a million on special occasions. Payments to authors were correspondingly generous. Though Hardy received only £550 for the British serial rights to Tess from the Graphic, rather more than twice that amount was paid by the same journal in other cases (Law Forthcoming, Ch. 4). So to help defray these costs, the metropolitan journals were often happy to sell subsidiary serial rights on to a small number of other local journals. But as Alexander Sinclair, editor of the Glasgow Weekly Herald, pointed out (184), overlapping circulations were a serious disadvantage in this type of arrangement, because the Illustrated London News and Graphic circulated ‘far and wide’. Indeed by the mid-1890s, the market strength of the major metropolitan journals was such that both they and Watt could begin to think about disregarding the provincial outlets altogether.

Wilkie Collins’s Heart and Science was thus by no means the only or even the first late Victorian novel to receive the belt-and-braces treatment. Nevertheless, when Collins asked Watt to represent him in December 1881, he clearly became the still little-known agent’s most prestigious client author. Heart and Sciencewas also a work with which the novelist wished to strike a blow for the anti- vivisectionist cause and on which he placed great hopes for the revival of his fading literary reputation (Peters, 399-404). It is then not surprising that Watt put a good deal of effort into the serial arrangements for Collins’s latest novel, and came up with what must rank as his most comprehensive and complex syndicate. Both Watt and Collins were presumably satisfied with the outcome, as the experiment was repeated for the author’s next novel ‘I Say No’. These two Collins novels probably represent the best documented of all the belt-and-braces serializations. In what follows, we have made extensive use of those records to describe in some detail both the specific arrangements made with regard to Heart and Science, and the resulting variations between its different serial editions.

Table 1: Some “Belt-and-Braces” Serializations 

Work in Volume MetropolitanSerialization(s) Provincial Serialization(s) Traced Agent(s)
James Payn A Confidential Agent (Chatto & Windus, 80) Belgravia (Jan-Dec 80) Sheffield W. Independent (from Jan 80) ?
William BlackSunrise(Sampson Low,81) Monthly parts, Sampson Low, Apr 80-Jun ’81 Sheffield W. Independent (from Mar 80) A.P. Watt (?)
Walter Besant All Sorts and Conditions of Men (Chatto & Windus, 82) Belgravia (Jan-Dec 82) Birmingham W. Post, Leicester Chronicle, Sheffield W. Telegraph , Glasgow W. Mail (as ‘All Sorts of Men’),Liverpool W. Post (Jan-Aug 82) James Rice
Wilkie CollinsHeart and Science (Chatto & Windus, 83) Belgravia (Aug82-Jun 83)England (22 Jul82-17 Feb 83, omitting 6 Jan) Manchester W. Times (22 Jul 82-13 Jan 83),Nottinghamshire Guardian (28 Jul 82-26 Jan 83),Aberdeen W. Journal, Bristol Observer, Cardiff W. Times, Liverpool W. Post, Scottish Reformer (22 Jul82-27 Jan 83), W. Irish Times (22 Jul 82-3 Feb 83) A.P. Watt
Wilkie Collins ‘I Say No’ (Chatto & Windus, 84) London Society(Jan-Dec 84)People (16 Dec83-13 Jul 84) Cardiff W. Times , Glasgow W. HeraldLeicester ChronicleNewcastle W. Chronicle (15 Dec 83-12 Jul84), Belfast W. News (15 Dec 83-19 Jul 84) A.P. Watt
Robert BuchananMaster of the Mine (Bentley,85) Illustrated London News(Jul-Dec 85) (Aberdeen) W. Free PressLeeds Express, Scottish Reformer (later 85) A.P. Watt
James Payn The Heir of the Ages(Smith, Elder,86) Illustrated London News(Jan-Jun 86) Birmingham W. Post, Glasgow W. Herald (early 86) A.P. Watt
Walter BesantThe World went very well then(Chatto & Windus, 87) Illustrated London News(Jul-Dec 86) Sheffield W. Telegraph, Glasgow W. Herald, (Jul-Dec86) A.P. Watt
Emile ZolaGerminal (tr. Vandam) (Vizetelly, 85) People (Nov 84-May ’85) Sheffield W. Telegraph (Nov 84-May ’85) A.P. Watt(?)
R.E. FrancillonKing or Knave?(Chatto & Windus, 88) People (Mar-Sep86) Sheffield W. Telegraph (mid 86) A.P. Watt
Robert BuchananThe Moment After(Heinemann, 90) People (early 87) Sheffield W. Telegraph (early 87) A.P. Watt
Margaret OliphantThe Heir Presumptive and the Heir Apparent(Macmillan, 92) London Society(Jan-Dec 91) Birmingham W. Post, Newcastle W. Chronicle, Yorkshire W. Post, Hereford Times, Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser (Oct 90-Apr 91) A.P. Watt/Tillotsons
Thomas HardyTess of the D’Urbervilles(Osgood, McIlvaine, 91) Graphic (Jul-Dec91) As ‘A Daughter of the D’Urbervilles’: Nottinghamshire Guardian, Birmingham W. Post (Jul-Dec 91) A.P. Watt
William BlackWolfenburg(Sampson Low, ‘92) Graphic (Jul-Dec92) Nottinghamshire Guardian (later 92) A.P. Watt/Tillotsons
S.R. Crockett The Grey Man (T. Fisher Unwin, 96) Graphic (Jan-Jun96) Newcastle W. Chronicle (early 96) A.P. Watt
Walter Besant No Other Way(Chatto & Windus, 02) The Lady’s Realm(Nov 01-Oct 02) Sheffield W. Telegraph (Dec 01-May 02) A.P. Watt

Arrangements

Collins had already completed arrangements for the monthly serialization of Heart and Science inBelgravia before he contacted Watt, presumably on Andrew Chatto’s advice or at least with his consent. Collins’s two previous novels, Jezebel’s Daughter and The Black Robe, had already been syndicated in the provincial weeklies alone, respectively by Tillotsons and Leaders. Although Collins did not wish either of these agencies to act for him on this occasion, he wanted Watt to operate in much the same way that they had done, setting out the conditions in great detail in a two-page memorandum entitled ‘Notes for Consideration’ (Enclosure, 5 Dec 1881, PEMBROKE). Watt began to write batches of letters approaching over forty different journals from all over the United Kingdom between December 1881 and June 1882 (Letterbook 2, BERG). The initial approaches all took virtually the same form, among other things assuring editors (rather dishonestly, given the cause it advocated) that the new novel would not concern ‘painful social subjects’ (e.g. ALS to Liverpool Daily Post, 2 Mar 1882, Letterbook 2:420, BERG). Several editors did not even bother to reply, while there were many objections and rejections. But as soon as these came in, Watt was willing to renegotiate or to fire off a proposal to another journal in the same catchment area. Since serialization was due to commence as early as July, several proprietors requested more precise information about the story for publicity purposes (Collins Acc., BERG). When Collins heard, he was incensed and wrote immediately to Watt enclosing a letter threatening to break off negotiations, which he wanted copied and sent around to these ‘curious savages’ (8 Feb 1882, Collins Letters, 2:442). Watt seems to have solved the problem diplomatically, and by the spring had firm acceptances from nine British weeklies. As Table 1 shows, in addition to journals in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the English North, West and Midlands, Watt arranged for Heart and Science to appear in the new London Tory weeklyEngland, through its owner, populist Conservative M.P. Ellis Bartlett.4 The proprietors in Bristol, Nottingham and Aberdeen passed the novel on to companion publications so that the novel also appeared simultaneously in the Bath Observer, Nottinghamshire Evening Post, and Moray and Nairn Weekly Journal. Watt also arranged for the novel to appear in New York, though Collins himself took care of the arrangements for publication in Australia and Canada.

Chatto and Windus paid Collins £600 for a seven year lease on the volume rights (Weedon, 181), and £1 per printed page for the appearance in Belgravia, in eleven monthly instalments totalling £308 (ALSs from Collins to Chatto, 23 Aug 1882-3 Jul 1883, PARRISH). With the British newspapers Watt negotiated sums which varied according to their circulations, from £30 by the Welsh journal to £100 by the London and Manchester papers, in all totalling £565, of which Watt took a commission of ten per cent (Law ‘Wilkie’, 265n22). The Liverpool Weekly Post agreed to set up the novel in type first and provide proofs for the other journals, probably in return for a small reduction in price (ALS to Watt, 13 May 1882, Collins Acc., BERG). However, when Collins, who seems to have started writing in mid-May, received the first set of proofs at the beginning of June, he was disgusted by the poor quality of the paper and the minute size of the print. He immediately asked Belgravia to ‘rescue [him] from the Provincial press’ and Andrew Chatto seems to have been happy to comply (ALS to Chatto, 5 Jun 1882, PARRISH). However, Collins continued to write and send the novel off to Chatto’s printers in weekly portions. He seems to have hit a few blocks towards the end of the year and only completed the final chapters in the middle of December, that is, less than a month before their first appearance in print. The instalments were set up in type promptly and Collins equally quickly corrected the proofs, probably with secretarial assistance–around a dozen sets, each with hand-written corrections, were required for all the different periodicals in Britain and overseas. There was neither the time nor the inclination for proofs to be sent back to the author when the instalments were once more set up in type by all the different syndicate members.5 Collins composed the novel in twenty-eight weekly parts and most of the newspapers published them as received, but the rest doubled up or sub-divided the final four instalments in different ways, probably to facilitate arrangements for their next serial. With the exception of the Nottinghamshire Guardian, which then came out on a Friday, all the subscribing British papers began to issue the novel on Saturday 22 July. TheManchester Weekly Times serialization was completed in only twenty-six weeks on 13 January 1882 and thus technically became the first serial edition, while England ended more than a month later on 17 February. Though the monthly serial appearance in Belgravia began at around the same time as that in the newspapers, it ran for eleven months and was thus only completed in the June 1883 issue, that is, more than a month after the novel had appeared in volume form in mid April.

Table 2: Part, Volume & Chapter Divisions in the Three Versions 

WEEKLY SERIALManchester Weekly Times MONTHLY SERIALBelgravia TRIPLE-DECKERChatto & Windus, Apr 1883

Pt

Date Chapter

Pt

Vol:pp/Date Chapter Vol pp Chapter

1

22 Jul 1882

1

1

48:175-99

Aug 1882

1

I

1-3

1

2

2

4-19

2

3

3

20-38

3

4

4

39-44

4

2

29 Jul 1882

5

5

45-63

5

6

6

64-74

6

3

5 Aug 1882

7

2

48:312-33

Sep 1882

7

75-87

7

8

8

88-108

8

4

12 Aug 1882

9

9

109-120

9

10

10

121-136

10

5

19 Aug 1882

11

3

48:438-65

Oct 1882

11

137-151

11

12

12

152-166

12

6

26 Aug 1882

13

13

167-180

13

14

14

181-201

14

7

2 Sep 1882

15

15

202-218

15

16

4

49:54-80

Nov 1882

16

219-231

16

8

9 Sep 1882

17

17

232-250

17

18

18

251-257

18

9

16 Sep 1882

19

19

258-277

19

20a

20

278-294

20

10

23 Sep 1882

20b

21

5

49:168-93

Dec 1882

21

II

1-17

21

11

30 Sep 1882

22

22

18-26

22

23

23

27-36

23

24

24

37-48

24

12

7 Oct 1882

25

25

49-61

25

26

26

62-77

26

13

14 Oct 1882

27

6

49:312-41

Jan 1883

27

78-102

27

14

21 Oct 1882

28

28

103-115

28

29

29

116-131

29

15

28 Oct 1882

30

30

132-137

30

31

31

138-147

31

32

32

148-160

32

16

4 Nov 1882

33

7

49:443-74

Feb 1883

33

161-177

33

34

34

178-191

34

17

11 Nov 1882

35

35

192-199

35

36

36

200-223

36

18

18 Nov 1882

37

37

224-244

37

38

38

245-255

38

19

25 Nov 1882

39

8

50:39-69

Mar 1883

39

256-265

39

40

40

266-283

40

20

2 Dec 1882

41

41

284-293

41

III

1-9

42

42

42

10-21

43

21

9 Dec 1882

43

43

22-41

44

44

44

42-53

45

22

16 Dec 1882

45

9

50:160-92

Apr 1883

45

54-73

46

46

46

74-87

47

23

23 Dec 1882

47

47

88-105

48

48

48

106-118

49

24

30 Dec 1882

49

49

119-137

50

50

50

138-148

51

25

6 Jan 1883

51

10

50:298-330

May 1883

51

149-154

52

52

52

155-168

53

53

53

169-182

54

54

54

183-199

55

55

55

200-218

56

56a

56

26

13 Jan 1883

56b

57

219-227

57

57

58

228-233

58

58

59

234-244

59

59

11

50:489-508

Jun 1883

60

245-255

60

60

61

256-268

61

61

62

269-292

62

62

63

293-302

63

Variations

A detailed analysis of all the different British serial versions being impractical if not impossible, we have carried out a collation of the texts of Heart and Science as it appeared in the Manchester Weekly Times,the monthly Belgravia, and the three-volume edition from Chatto and Windus. The first stage of this research was carried out in connexion with the preparation of an edition of the novel for Broadview Press, Canada (Farmer). With the omission of minor variations in punctuation etc, the results are contained in a fifty-page document which is available over the Internet as a ‘Portable Document Format’ file, or in hard copy from the authors.6 The document reveals around a hundred variations between the two serial versions, the large majority of which consist of small verbal details, but nearly seven hundred differences between both serial versions and the book edition, many of which represent significant revisions, deletions or additions. (There are also a handful of cases where the weekly and book versions agree with each other but not with the monthly version, or where all three versions vary.)

The bulk of the variations between the weekly and monthly serial versions seem explicable as uncorrected slips by the compositors in Manchester. Most of these result in acceptable readings in the newspaper (eg ‘as he said to himself’ for ‘as he said of himself’), though quite a few produce ungrammaticality (‘trembling to his embrace’), and a handful nonsense (‘in bewilderness’ or ‘some indifference of opinion’). A small number of more complex variations not explicable in this way seem likely to be due either to errors in copying out the corrections on the Belgravia proofs sent to Manchester, or to later revisions by the author for the monthly version alone. There is even occasional evidence of compositors or editors pursuing their own agendas. Two out of the six occurrences of ‘damn’ in Collins’s manuscript were amended at Manchester (to ‘confound’ and ‘d—’), while Belgravia seems to have frowned on the author’s accusative uses of ‘who’ and replaced most with ‘whom’. The Belgravia version seems to insert commas rather more frequently than in the manuscript, the Weekly Times one rather less. Nevertheless, these textual variations obviously represent significantly less important differences between the weekly and monthly serials than the pattern of breaks demanded by ‘thin’ and ‘fat’ instalments. All but two of the weekly instalments (Pts. 9 & 10) exhibit what can reasonably be described as ‘climax-and-curtain’ endings. With the exception of Pt. 3, all the monthly instalments reveal the same feature, though here each tends to be composed of two or three distinct ‘scenes’. In letters to Chatto (4 & 25 Jul, PARRISH) Collins shows that reasons of space alone forced him to end monthly Pt. 3 in mid-scene, and weekly Pt. 9 in mid-chapter. The apparent splitting of Ch. 56 in the Manchester version over two weekly instalments is in fact an illusion created by an error in the proofs released by Belgravia, where two consecutive chapters were numbered 56. Most of the newspapers simply reproduced the error, the Liverpool Weekly Post corrected it, resulting in a full complement of sixty-three chapters, while the Manchester Weekly Times alone indicated that Ch. 56 was ‘continued’ in its issue of 13 January 1882. Collins himself only spotted the slip just before monthly Pt. 10 in Belgravia went to press in May (letter to Chatto & Windus, May 1883, PARRISH).

In general Collins spent little time revising the text of his last novels between the serial and volume editions (Law ‘Wilkie’, 253). The Evil Genius and The Legacy of Cain, for example, gain little more than chapter headings in volume, as there were no changes even in the chapter breaks. Heart and Science was the only novel of the 1880s for which he wrote a Preface, and there he stated that the work had been ‘subjected to careful revision . . . in its present form of publication’. This is undoubtedly true, as we have seen. Letters to Chatto show that these extensive revisions were carried out between early January and mid-March 1883, volume by volume, on the proofs of the triple-decker edition set from the Belgraviaversion (PARRISH). The nature of the revisions seems to reflect the desire to polish to its best a work by which the author set great store, as well as the fear of errors and infelicities due to the speed at which the novel had originally been written and set up in type. Changes in breaks and divisions are again important. Belgravia Ch. 41 was split into two distinct chapters which end Vol. II and begin Vol. III in the triple-decker, while Belgravia Chs. 55 and 56 were there also combined into a single unit. Both of these changes were accompanied by significant textual revisions. Interesting minor changes include those affecting nomenclature: in the triple-decker version, the cat ‘Snooks’ loses her name and much of her prominence; the independent lady’s maid ‘Jane’ is Frenchified as ‘Marceline’; the medical adviser Mr. Null receives his negative name much earlier on; and the hero Doctor Ovid Vere is promoted to Mr. Ovid Vere, surgeon, above the vivisector Doctor Benjulia. The biggest changes include: a lengthy inserted passage that adds complexity to the character of the monomaniac scientist Mrs Gallilee, by allowing her an internal life and memories of her youth; a series of revisions to render more consistent the character of the governess Miss Minerva, who began the serial as an unmitigated villain but underwent conversion less than half way through; and a general toning down of the immediacy of the description of cruelty to animals, perhaps in part to keep a promise made to Frances Power Cobbe, the anti-vivisectionist who had sent Collins pamphlets on the subject (Farmer, App. D). But there are also many substantial changes which can be characterised simply as deletions to trim the fat and additions to sharpen the focus.

 * * *

To what extent these arrangements and alterations are typical of belt-and- braces serialization is difficult to judge. The only other case which has received detailed attention is that of Hardy’s Tess, though even there the serialization pattern itself, and the role of A.P. Watt, seem not to have been clearly recognized.7 Perhaps a comparison with what happened with Heart and Science might shed light on some of the remaining mysteries regarding the differing serial versions of Hardy’s most famous work. Of course, Tessappeared nearly a decade later, when the role of the metropolitan journal was much more aggressive, and the issue of “candour” regarding sexual matters was to the fore. But in their different ways these two examples of the belt-and-braces approach both help to confirm the determining influence of material conditions in the contemporary publishing industry on the form of the Victorian novel. Or as Hardy himself put it, in his contribution to the 1890 symposium on ‘Candour in Fiction’ (15): ‘Even imagination is the slave of stolid circumstance; and the unending flow of inventiveness which finds expression in the literature of Fiction is no exception to the general law.’

Works Cited

Unpublished Materials

BERG = A.P. Watt Archive, Berg Collection, New York Public Library, New York City.

PARRISH = Morriss L. Parrish Collection, Princeton University Library, New Jersey.

PEMBROKE = Letters from Wilkie Collins to A.P. Watt, 1881-89 (LCII 2840-2), Pembroke College Library, University of Cambridge.

WILSON = A.P. Watt Collection (#11036), General and Literary Manuscripts, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Published Materials

Clarke, John Stock. Margaret Oliphant (1828-1897): A Bibliography. (Victorian Fiction Research Guides 11). St Lucia, Queensland: Victorian Fiction Research Unit, University of Queensland, 1986.

[Collins, Wilkie.] The Letters of Wilkie Collins. Ed. William Baker & William M. Clarke. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1999.

Coolidge, Archibald Cary. Charles Dickens as Serial Novelist. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1967.

Edwards, P.D. , I.G. Sibley, & Margaret Versteeg. Indexes to Fiction in ‘Belgravia’ (1867-1899). (Victorian Fiction Research Guides 14). St Lucia, Queensland: Victorian Fiction Research Unit, University of Queensland, 1990.

Farmer, Steve, ed. Heart and Science: A Story of the Present Time, by Wilkie Collins. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1996.

Fielding, K.J. ‘The Monthly Serialization of Dickens’s Novels.’ In Dickensian 54:1 (Jan 1958) 4- 11.

Fielding, K.J. ‘The Weekly Serialization of Dickens’s Novels.’ In Dickensian 54:3 (Sep 1958) 134-41.

Gladstone, William. Article. In Pall Mall Gazette (3 May 1886) 11-12.

Grindle, Juliet, & Simon Gatrell, eds. Tess of the d’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983.

Hardy, Thomas. Contribution to Symposium on ‘Candour in English Fiction.’ In New Review 2:1 (Jan 1890) 15-21.

[Hardy, Thomas.] The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Ed. Richard Little Purdy & Michael Millgate. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978-88.

Law, Graham. ‘Wilkie in the Weeklies: The Serialization and Syndication of Collins’s Late Novels.’ InVictorian Periodicals Review 30:3 (Fall 1997) 244-69.

Law, Graham. Novels in Newspapers: Fiction Serialization and Syndication in the Victorian Press.London: Macmillan, Forthcoming.

Peters, Catherine. The King of Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. London: Secker & Warburg, 1991.

Phillips, Walter C. Dickens, Reade, and Collins: Sensation Novelists. 1919; New York: Russell & Russell, 1962.

Sinclair, Alexander. Fifty Years of Newspaper Life, 1845-1895. Glasgow: privately printed, [1895].

Weedon, Alexis. ‘Watch This Space: Wilkie Collins and New Strategies in Victorian Publishing in the 1890s.’ In Ruth Robbins & Julian Wolfreys, eds, Victorian Identities: Social and Cultural Formations in Nineteenth-Century Literature, London: Macmillan, 1996, 163-83.


References

  1. 1 See the analysis of Dickens’s use of weekly and monthly instalments in the two articles by Fielding, and in Coolidge, who introduces the terms ‘fat’ and ‘thin’ instalments. Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard was serialized in the monthly Bentley’s Miscellany, Jan 1839-Feb 1840, and in 15 independent weekly numbers from the same publisher during 1840; Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities appeared in 1859 in 31 weekly parts in All the Year Round, 30 Apr-26 Nov, and in 7 independent monthly numbers, Jun-Dec, from Chapman & Hall.  []
  2. Table 1 is not intended to represent a comprehensive listing of belt-and-braces serializations. We are aware of a handful of other cases where documentation is incomplete, and there are doubtless many other examples that have not yet come to our attention. []
  3. In addition to the cases noted in Table 1, on 11 Nov 1880, Watt wrote to William Black offering £1200 for a new novel to appear from Chatto & Windus in 1882 in both Belgravia and in three volumes, but allowing freedom for simultaneous serialization in country papers (ALS, Letterbook 3:126, BERG); Black seems to have refused the offer, however. []
  4. The arrangements Watt eventually made probably overdid the degree of overlap in circulations viable in the serial market, not only in featuring a second metropolitan periodical, but in including provincial papers serving neighbouring communities, like the Manchester Weekly Times and Liverpool Weekly Post, or theBristol Observer and the Cardiff Weekly Times. Certainly Watt found it rather more difficult to find country papers willing to take Collins’s next novel, ‘I Say No’ (see Table 1)  []
  5. Stereotype plates were not distributed as they often were by established syndicators like Tillotsons: theBelgravia text was produced in octavo leaves rather than the broadsheet columns required by the newspapers.  []
  6. Postal address: G. Law, School of Law, Waseda University, Nishi-Waseda 1-6-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-50, Japan. []
  7. See Grindle & Gatrell, General Introduction. Though the relevant Watt Letterbooks are lacking at the BERG (vols 20-24, Dec 1889-Feb 1891), Hardy’s letter to Watt of 2 Sep 1891 (Hardy Letters, 1:243) shows that the agent was definitely representing the author around this time. Moreover, four letters from the end of Jan 1891 in a file at the WILSON (10.7) prove conclusively that, acting on behalf of theGraphic, Watt arranged for Tess to be published in the Birmingham Weekly Post for £75 and theNottinghamshire Guardian for £40, the agent as usual taking 10% commission on the sums negotiated. Like Besant’s The World went very well then, Black’s Wolfenburg, and Crockett’s The Grey Man, Tesswas also serialized simultaneously in Australia in the Sydney Mail, under the title ‘A Daughter of the D’Urbervilles’ as in the provincial papers. The appearance of Tess in the Birmingham Weekly Post (4 Jul to 26 Dec as in the Graphic and Guardian), which does not appear to have been previously recorded, was discovered by John Stock Clarke (personal communication). This was in the course of his research forMargaret Oliphant (1828-1897): A Bibliography, which is the source for the serialization details concerningThe Heir Presumptive and the Heir Apparent recorded in Table 1.  []

“Belt-and-Braces” Serialization: The Case of Heart and Science by Steve Farmer and Graham Law
The Wilkie Collins Journal 02 (1999)

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