Tit-Bits

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Tit-Bits from all the interesting Books, Periodicals, and Newspapers of the World, more commonly known as Tit-Bits, was a British weekly magazine founded by George Newnes on 22 October 1881.[1] The headquarters of the weekly moved from Manchester to London.[2] On 18 July 1984,[3] it was taken over by Associated Newspapers' Weekend, which closed in 1989. The last editors were David Hill and Brian Lee.[4] 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.[5] Short stories and full-length fiction were also featured, 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.[6]

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 the magazine is also made in James Joyce's Ulysses,[7] George Orwell's Animal Farm, James Hilton's Lost Horizon, Virginia Woolf's Moments of Being, H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon and AJ Cronin's The Stars Look Down. Wells also mentioned it in his book Experiment in Autobiography. The magazine is burlesqued as "Chit Chat" in George Gissing's New Grub Street. In the closing scene of the film Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), the protagonist Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) is approached by a journalist (Arthur Lowe) from Tit-Bits.

The magazine name has survived as Titbits International.

References[edit]

Endnotes
  1. ^ Bridget Griffen-Foley (2004). "From Tit-Bits to Big Brother: a century of audience participation in the media" (PDF). Media Culture and Society 26 (4). Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Howard Cox; Simon Mowatt (2003). "Technology, Organisation and Innovation: The Historical Development of the UK Magazine Industry" (Research paper). Auckland University of Technology. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Tit-Bits/Titbits", Magforum website
  4. ^ "Weekend", Magforum website
  5. ^ Martin Conboy Journalism: A Critical History
  6. ^ From the chronology maintained by the Russian Wodehouse Society
  7. ^ "In the tabledrawer he found an old number of Titbits." Calypso episode of Ulysses by James Joyce.