Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

Sub-Department

English

First Advisor

Anthony S. Jarrells

Second Advisor

Paula R Feldman

Abstract

This study explores the convergence of two Romantic-era phenomena: the hotly contested public debate occasioned by the publication of T. R. Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) and the rise of the periodical press in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. My goal for this study is to demonstrate how an examination of the historical population debate as it was carried out in the reviews and magazines of the Romantic era both enriches and complicates current theories of the role of the periodical press during this period. As the primary site of this debate, I argue that the periodical press was largely responsible for the articulation and mediation of the completely new historical concept of population as an aggregate subject to properties and laws unique unto itself. In the process of arguing thus, I show, too, how participation in this debate complicates the ideological identities we have come to associate with certain periodicals.

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