Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 October 2020
Within or alongside the larger field of print culture, a new area for scholarship is emerging in the humanities and the more humanistic social sciences: periodical studies. This development is being driven by the cultural turn in departments of language and literature, by the development of digital archives that allow for such studies on a broader scale than ever before, and by what the producers of the Spectator Project have called “the special capabilities of the digital environment” (Center). Literary and historical disciplines engaged with the study of modern culture are finding in periodicals both a new resource and a pressing challenge to existing paradigms for the investigation of Enlightenment, nineteenth-century, and modern cultures. The forms of this new engagement range from Cary Nelson's suggestion, in Repression and Recovery, that periodicals should be read as texts that have a unity different from but comparable with that of individual books (219) to the organization of groups like the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, founded in 1968, and the more recently established Research Society for American Periodicals. Every year new books are appearing that emphasize peri–odicals and investigate the ways in which modern literature and the arts are connected to the culture of commerce and advertising and to the social, political, and scientific issues of the time.