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Global Literary Journalism

Exploring the Journalistic Imagination, Volume 2

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Edited By Richard Lance Keeble and John Tulloch

Following on from the first volume published in 2012, this new volume significantly expands the scope of the study of literary journalism both geographically and thematically.
Chapters explore literary journalism not only in the United Kingdom, the United States and India – but also in countries not covered in the first volume such as Australia, France, Brazil and Portugal, while its central themes help lead the study of literary journalism into previously unchartered territory. More focus is placed on the origins of literary journalism, with chapters exploring the previously ignored journalism of writers such as Myles na gCopaleen, Marguerite Duras, Mohatma Gandhi, Leigh Hunt, D. H. Lawrence, Mary McCarthy and Evelyn Waugh.
Critical overviews of African American literary journalism in the 1950s and of literary journalism in Brazil from 1870 to the present day are also provided, and a section asks whether there is a specific women’s voice in literary journalism.
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1. Reasons to Be Cheerful: Leigh Hunt and His Versatile, Trenchant, Observant, Empathetic, Witty Journalism

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CHAPTER ONE

Reasons TO Be Cheerful

Leigh Hunt and His Versatile, Trenchant, Observant, Empathetic, Witty Journalism

JOHN DREW



INTRODUCTION

The figure of James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784–1859) is, like many of his occasional essays, quaintly historical, manifestly that of a Dead White European Male, who plied his trade in London and is best known to scholars of the British Romantic movement. A curious object of inquiry, perhaps, to bring into focus at the start of a collection of essays seeking to extend coverage and understanding of literary journalism as a global phenomenon, and render the field less open to the charge of Occidentalism. Nevertheless, the sense of distance, of impertinence even, allows Hunt’s long struggle for critical freedom to be read almost as an allegory of contemporary difficulties encountered by the journalistic imagination worldwide as it responds to external pressures and oppression, and as it attempts to give more than merely functional form and shape to events that demand to be recorded. If the past is another country, then reviewing the work of a writer like Hunt means crossing transnational as well as generic frontiers, and in so doing encouraging readings of literary journalism that are “culturally sensitive to the way the craft is practiced … in different historical time frames” and which “recapture the meaning of journalism in its own time” (Sims 2009: 15).

In spite of the practical difficulties of recuperating...

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