La Westminster Review comme outil de transmission et de démocratisation de culture savante, 1824-1857
AbstractAmong the quarterlies which marked the Romantic Age and the Victorian Age, The Westminster Review (1824-1900) stands out as the organ of radical opinions, committed to the diffusion of culture to all classes. Founded by Jeremy Bentham, it was meant to contribute to the transmission of culture among the middle class, including the lower middle-class. From 1836 until 1840, under the influence of the younger generation of Philosophic Radicals, with John Stuart Mill at their head, its literary influence rose sharply and with the merger of the London Review with the Westminster Review, a new period of its history began. Although the decade of the 1840s witnessed a concentration of the topics discussed on political and social questions rather than literature, its literary influence was felt again under the editorship of John Chapman and his assistant editor, Mary Ann Evans from 1852 to 1854. With her contribution to the Westminster Review ending in 1857 as a result of the start of George Eliot’s career as a novelist, the heyday of the review came to an end. Its influence in the early and mid-Victorian age came from its being the major Radical quarterly in existence, the voice of social progress whose goal was the extension of education to all classes and a far-reaching transmission of culture as an agent of moral improvement.