The Bengal Annual: A Digital Exploration of Non-Canonical British Romantic LiteratureMain MenuAbout the ProjectAn introduction to the project and tools usedGallery of Bengal Annual PagesSelect pages and engravings from The Bengal AnnualFoundational ConceptsBig 6 concepts, Brown Romantics, Orientalism, and Literary AnnualsLiterary AnalysesClose readings of The Bengal Annual and related textsMetrics and Computational ApproachesLooking at The Bengal Annual as DataOur Process and Research ChallengesReflections by participants from Spring 2019Dan Jerome Dirilo5676d58b096c4af6914df4906f99f9fbd1ca5ecbMarisa Plumb21ba4448d26d1c7d243736384410ccb17645b1daKatherine D. Harris2c76f88c9129ca83bd2527cf3ebf553d234db255Keith Gilesdc71521d370db9b470178aa51e4d5b5a14bad314Taylor-Dawn Francis5b1815c93680212e9e5fc883affa153dfce462a3Samantha Douglas3ce20df51e66c28206c668fb9f7e6cc0c3b90b83http://www.sjsu.edu/english
12019-05-13T17:33:32-07:00Marisa Plumb21ba4448d26d1c7d243736384410ccb17645b1da337952An engraving from the 1830 Bengal Annualplain2019-05-13T17:35:10-07:00Marisa Plumb21ba4448d26d1c7d243736384410ccb17645b1da
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12019-05-12T19:16:13-07:00The Nineteenth Century Literary Annual6Some background on what literary annuals areplain2019-05-16T21:24:48-07:00As print culture in England exploded in the first half of the nineteenth century, publishers began introducing new forms of serialized print materials, which included serialized publications known as literary annuals. These multi-author texts were commonly produced as high-quality volumes that could be purchased as gifts in the months leading up to the holiday season. As a genre, the annual included poetry, prose, and engravings, among other varieties of content, very often from well-known authors. Literary annuals represent a significant shift in the economics surrounding the production of print materials for mass consumption—for instance, contributors were typically paid. And annuals, though a luxury item, were more affordable than books sold before the mechanization of the printing press.
The 1830 Bengal Annual is a unique instance of the literary annual. It has 49 literary texts and 7 engravings, but allocates a large amount of space to short stories, which was unusual. It also does not have the physical characteristics of typical London-based literary annuals, such as gilded edges on the pages or silk-covered boards. The pages are thin and printed letters can be seen through the opposite side of the paper. As one of the only series of annuals produced and printed in India, we do not have comprehensive knowledge of how that process worked, or what challenges the publishers might have encountered with the printing process or in funding their endeavor (or recouping their expenses through sales).
Literary annuals and other periodicals are interesting sites of literary study, as many of them can be read as reinforcing or resisting the British Empire. London-based periodicals were distributed to all of Britain’s colonial holdings, including India. As The Bengal Annual was written in India and contains a small representation of Indian authors, our project investigates it as a variation on British-centric reading materials of the time, which perhaps offered a provisional voice to a wider community of writers, though not without claims of superiority over the colonized territory it exploits.