Category:Eliza Cook's Journal
From Victorian Literature
Title: Eliza Cook's Journal
Editor: Eliza Cook
Publisher: John Owen Clarke
In 1849, Eliza Cook began a weekly miscellany, eponymously titled Eliza Cook’s Journal. It realized immediate success, selling fifty to sixty thousand issues through its first year—an even higher circulation than Dickens’ Household Words. Costing only one and a half pence, this journal was aimed at the middle and lower classes and was specifically geared towards women. Popular content ranged from didactic fiction, inspirational poetry and maxims, to book reviews, informational essays, and home improvement tips. Some issues even included stories and poems for children, a common trend in many women’s journals.
Like many Victorian writers and editors of the time, Cook sought for more than just entertainment from her journal; she hoped to give "her feeble aid to the gigantic struggle for intellectual improvement going on.”. She aimed to accomplish this “through materials that provided a steady and free communion with Truth.” Cook advocated a range of reforms, addressing such topics as marriage laws, education and employment practices, and the suffering of the poor. She wrote with a “curious blend of radicalism and conservatism”; for instance, while in favor of women’s employment, new marriage laws, and higher respect for single women, she stopped short of women’s suffrage thinking it potentially “harmful in its effects.”
Cook not only edited the journal, but wrote much of the content herself, having already achieved some prior acclaim as a poet. Eliza Cook’s Journal ran successfully for five years before Cook ceased publication in 1854 due to poor health.
Submitted by: Christensen, Catherine: section 1, Winter 2011