Magazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture

BookMagazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture

Magazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture

Canadian Periodicals in English and French, 1925–1960


June 19th, 2015



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A century ago, the golden age of magazine publishing coincided with the beginning of a golden age of travel. Images of speed and flight dominated the pages of the new mass-market periodicals. Magazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture centres on Canada, where commercial magazines began to flourish in the 1920s alongside an expanding network of luxury railway hotels and transatlantic liner routes. The leading monthlies – among them Mayfair, Chatelaine, and La Revue Moderne – presented travel as both a mode of self-improvement and a way of negotiating national identity. This book announces a new cross-cultural approach to periodical studies, reading both French- and English-language magazines in relation to an emerging transatlantic middlebrow culture. Mainstream magazines, Hammill and Smith argue, forged a connection between upward mobility and geographical mobility. Fantasies of travel were circulated through fiction, articles, and advertisements, and used to sell fashions, foods, and domestic products as well as holidays. For readers who could not afford a trip to Paris, Bermuda, or Lake Louise, these illustrated magazines offered proxy access to the glamour and prestige increasingly associated with travel.

• First book to focus on Canadian middlebrow culture • First book to bring together detailed information about some of Canada's most influential and widely read magazines, in both official languages • Original in relating themes of travel to middlebrow aspiration • Major contribution to periodical studies, focusing on the neglected 'middle' section of the market, and combining study of the materiality of the page with close reading of content


'A major contribution to Canadian Studies and the study of print culture in a North American context... This volume should prove useful to scholars in a wide range of fields, including cultural and social history, publishing, literary studies, cultural studies, and communications, and to scholars of print culture more generally.'
Gillian Roberts, University of Nottingham

'This is a well-researched and serious book. Its glossy cover, copied from Mayfair magazine (1937), and its beautifully reproduced colour illustrations frame this exploration of Canadian mainstream magazines in English and French from the early to mid-twentieth century, presenting them as records of Canadian middlebrow culture.'
British Journal of Canadian Studies

'Forming a coherent site of inquiry out of so much information that had been hiding in plain sight due to its association with an ostensibly blank, mainstream modernity is in itself an accomplishment; that Hammill and Smith have uncovered such an abundance of approaches, connections, and raw subject matter for scholars in a variety of areas and disciplines only adds to this achievement.'
Carl Watts, American Review of Canadian Studies

Author Information

Faye Hammill is Professor of English at the University of Strathclyde and the author of 'Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History' (Liverpool University Press, 2010). Michelle Smith is Lecturer in English at the University of Strathclyde.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations7
Chapter One Marketplace35
Chapter Two Pages77
Chapter Three Fashions121
Chapter Four Consumers158