The London Magazine

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Cover of the issue for May, 1760

The London Magazine is a historied publication of arts, literature and miscellaneous interests. Its history ranges nearly three centuries and several reincarnations, publishing the likes of William Wordsworth, William S. Burroughs and John Keats.



The London Magazine was founded in 1732[1] in political opposition to the Tory-based Gentleman's Magazine[2] and ran for 53 years until its closure in 1785. Edward Kimber became editor in 1755, succeeding his father Isaac Kimber.[3][4] Henry Mayo was editor from 1775 to 1783.[5] Publishers included Thomas Astley.


In 1820, the London Magazine was resurrected by the publishers Baldwin, Craddock & Joy under the editorship of John Scott[2] who formatted the magazine along the lines of the Edinburgh publication Blackwood's Magazine. It was during this time the magazine enjoyed its greatest literary prosperity, publishing poetic luminaries such as William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Clare and John Keats.[2]

In September 1821, the first of two installments of Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater appeared in the journal; these were later published in book form. Scott quickly began a literary row with members of Blackwood, in particular with John Gibson Lockhart in regards to many subjects including Blackwood's virulent criticism of the "Cockney School", under which Leigh Hunt and John Keats were grouped. The quarrell ended in a fatal duel between Scott and Lockhart's close friend and workmate J. H. Christie. Scott lost the duel and his life in 1821.

The London Magazine continued under the editorship of John Taylor and included a working staff of Thomas Hood, William Hazlitt and Charles Lamb. During this time Lamb published his earliest series of Essays of Elia in 1823. The magazine dwindled in success towards the end of the decade because of Taylor's insistent tampering with the poets' works; and it was abandoned by many of its staff, including Lamb and Hazlitt. The London Magazine again ceased publication in 1829. [6]


The title was revived in November 1875 for "a monthly of light literature, conducted by Will Williams." Its third volume was entitled London tales, poetry, sketches and travels.


Cover, March 1912

In 1900 Harmsworth's Monthly Pictorial Magazine was renamed the London Magazine by Cecil Harmsworth, proprietor of the Daily Mail at the time. The publication continued until 1930 when it was renamed The New London Magazine. The Australian scholar Sue Thomas referred to it as "an important informer... of popular literary tastes in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods". Despite its acclaim, the magazine closed in 1933.


In 1954, a new periodical was given the name of the The London Magazine under the editorship of John Lehmann,[7] largely continuing the tradition of the acclaimed 1940s periodical New Writing. It was endorsed by T. S. Eliot as a non-university based periodical that would "boldly assume the existence of a public interested in serious literature." In 1961 the magazine changed hands and was renamed London Magazine. The editor was Lehmann's fellow poet and critic Alan Ross and publication continued until Ross's death in 2001 prompted its closure again. Under both Lehmann and Ross the magazine was published by Chatto & Windus. However it was quickly relaunched by Christopher Arkell and the poet and literary critic Sebastian Barker. When Barker retired as editor in early 2008, Sara-Mae Tuson took over. In July 2009 Arkell sold the magazine to Burhan Al-Chalabi who is now the publisher, with Steven O'Brien as Editor, Heather Wells as Production Manager, Matthew Scott as Reviews Editor, Grey Gowrie as Special Editorial Advisor, Sir David Latham, Alison Macleod as Editorial Advisors.

Notable contributors have included: W. H. Auden, Frank Auerbach, Louis de Bernières, Lady Caroline Blackwood, Bill Brandt, William S. Burroughs, Roy Campbell, Thomas Carlyle, Henry Cary, Charles Causley, John Clare, Hartley Coleridge, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Allan Cunningham, Lawrence Durrell, Odysseus Elytis, Gavin Ewart, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Roy Fuller, Patrick Garland, W. S. Graham, Nadine Gordimer, The Rt. Rev. The Lord Harries of Pentregarth (formerly the Lord Bishop of Oxford), Tony Harrison, William Hazlitt, Thomas Hood, Ted Hughes, Leigh Hunt, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, John Keats, Charles Lamb, Laurie Lee, Jack London, Seán Mac Falls, Louis MacNeice, Mary Russell Mitford, Paul Muldoon, Les Murray, E. (Edith) Nesbit, Ben Okri, Harold Pinter, Sylvia Plath, Thomas de Quincey, Ethel Rolt Wheeler, Alan Ross, Richard Savage, John Scott, Iain Sinclair, Derek Walcott, Evelyn Waugh and William Wordsworth.[citation needed]

Reinvigorated by new owner Burhan Al-Chalabi and Editor Steven O'Brien, it publishes both emerging and established writers from around the world.


  1. ^ Hathi Trust. London Magazine, or, Gentleman's monthly intelligencer. 1832-ca.1882
  2. ^ a b c The London Magazine website
  3. ^ Herrie, Jeffrey. "Kimber, Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/15547.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ John Watkins (1806). A biographical, historical and chronological dictionary: containing a faithful accounts of the lives, characters and actions of the most eminent persons of all ages and all countries; including the revolutions of states and the succession of sovereign princes. Printed for Richard Phillips ... by T. Gillet. p. 559. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Stephens, John. "Mayo, Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18456.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Hathi Trust. London Magazine 1820–1829
  7. ^ Hathi Trust. London Magazine, 1954–

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