At the crossroads of modernity: Newspapers as miscellany from the 1880s

What do newspapers tell us about the times they were printed in and read? Most research into newspapers concentrates on them as purveyors of news or as contributors to political debate. This underestimates the rich, untapped potential of what has always characterised newspapers, namely their miscellany. Newspapers, in content and presentation, have always incorporated a mixture of styles and topics. In fact, it is this very miscellany that has driven interest from willing purchasers and added attractiveness to advertisers, certain of a mixed readership of taste. Concentrating on the more ephemeral aspects of newspapers as opposed to the coverage of high politics may tell us more about their attractiveness as a media form.