Tit-Bits

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Tit-Bits (or to give it its full title Tit-Bits from all the interesting Books, Periodicals, and Newspapers of the World) was a British weekly magazine founded by George Newnes on 22 October 1881 until 18 July 1984,[1] when it was taken over by Associated Newspapers' Weekend, which itself closed in 1989. The last editors were David Hill and Brian Lee.[2] Tit-Bits lost the hyphen from its masthead at the beginning of 1973.

The magazine was a mass circulation commercial publication which reached sales of between 400,000 and 600,000, with the emphasis on human interest stories concentrating on drama and sensation.[3] Short stories and full length fiction was also incorporated, including works by authors such as Rider Haggard and Isaac Asimov, plus three very early stories by Christopher Priest.

The first humorous article by P. G. Wodehouse, 'Men Who Missed Their Own Weddings' appeared in TitBits in November 1900.[4]

In All Things Considered by G. K. Chesterton, the author contrasts Tit-Bits with the Times, saying: "Let any honest reader... ask himself whether he would really rather be asked in the next two hours to write the front page of The Times, which is full of long leading articles, or the front page of Tit-Bits, which is full of short jokes." Reference to this magazine is also made in James Joyce's Ulysses,[5] George Orwell's Animal Farm, James Hilton's Lost Horizon, Virginia Woolf's Moments of Being, and H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon. H. G. Wells also mentioned it in his book Experiment in Autobiography, chapter VI. The magazine is burlesqued as 'Chit Chat' in George Gissing's 'New Grub Street'. The magazine 'Hard Facts', in Howard Spring's novel of that name, also bears a resemblance to 'Tit-Bits'.

The magazine name has survived as Titbits International.

References[edit]

Endnotes
  1. ^ "Tit-Bits/Titbits", Magforum website
  2. ^ "Weekend", Magforum website
  3. ^ Martin Conboy Journalism: A Critical History
  4. ^ From the chronology maintained by the Russian Wodehouse Society
  5. ^ "In the tabledrawer he found an old number of Titbits." Calypso episode of Ulysses by James Joyce.