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THE SQUAB AND THE IDLER: A COSMOPOLITAN – COLONIAL DIALOGUE IN THE CALCUTTA STAR BETWEEN WILLIAM THACKERAY AND JAMES HUME

  • Gary Simons (a1)

Extract

The first English language newspaper in India began publication in 1780; by 1857, almost two hundred papers and periodicals had appeared – and many had quickly disappeared. An 1839 article in the Calcutta Literary Gazette partially attributed this high mortality rate to a lack of talented writers and to a desire among colonists for news from England:

There is not here as there is in London, a class of professional literati, always ready to prepare a certain supply of matter. . . . [T]he London paying system has been introduced, but the writer whose contributions are worth paying for, are a very small body. . . . To all the drawbacks already mentioned we must mention another of no trifling influence; we allude to the disposition in our countrymen to look homewards for their literature. (Chanda xviii-xxi)

Indeed, English newspapers of the time featured the contributions of literati such as Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, Leigh Hunt, Douglas Jerrold, Henry Mayhew, and William Makepeace Thackeray, but of these figures only Thackeray wrote purposely for an Indian periodical.

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THE SQUAB AND THE IDLER: A COSMOPOLITAN – COLONIAL DIALOGUE IN THE CALCUTTA STAR BETWEEN WILLIAM THACKERAY AND JAMES HUME

  • Gary Simons (a1)

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