The Academy

John Murray

General Description

Date: 1869-1916


◦ Heyck, Thomas William. The Transformation of Intellectual Life in Victorian England. London: Croom Helm, 1982.

◦ Sullivan, Alvin, ed. The Academy. British Literary Magazines. vol. 3. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983-. pp. 3-7.

Scholarly Commentary


The Academy. London: various publishers including John Murray (1869), Williams and Norgate (1870-1873), William Greig Smith (1874), Robert Scott Walker (1875-1878), and Henry Villiers (1880-1896).

Oxford don Charles Appleton founded The Academy in 1869 as an Arnoldian forum for intellectual and high cultural pronouncements, one that would encourage scientific and disinterested scholarship in the German style. The title of the journal indicated its interest in cultivating an academic elite class that would be the source of (in Appleton's words) “sound information and correct taste in intellectual matters” (qtd. in Heyck, 216 ). Its proud rigor led to poor sales, and The Academy struggled financially throughout Appleton's tenure. Yet its influence among academics was great, particularly in the journal's encouragement of a Coleridgean clerisy: a professional, separate, intellectual class of thinkers that wrote and read The Academy.

Arnold himself wrote the first review of the journal, which was published along with essays on complex scientific and philological matters. Other important contributors to The Academy in its early decades were Mark Pattison, Edmund Gosse, George Saintsbury, and Andrew Lang. William Michael Rossetti and Sidney Colvin both contributed art criticism as well. After Appleton's death in 1879, The Academy became less severe, and in 1896 was transformed by John Morgan Richard into “perhaps the liveliest literary journal in England” ( Sullivan, 4 ), publishing work by people like Joseph Conrad and Francis Thompson. The 20th-century history of The Academy includes other metamorphoses, particularly under Lord Alfred Douglas who made it an outspoken organ of the High Church and Tories from 1907-1910. Following a libel suit, Douglas relinquished the journal and it declined into nonexistence in 1916.

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