ABSTRACT

Broadening out from our Canterbury haunting, this chapter examines how ghosts were represented in one of the fastest-growing print media of the eighteenth century – namely the periodical. My spotlight falls on this burgeoning set of publications in the rst half of the eighteenth century for a number of reasons. First, periodicals di ered in both content and style from the sermons, treatises, ballads and chapbooks looked at so far. Periodicals o ered news items, o cial statistics and bills of mortality, but they were also accompanied by topical essays, reviews, articles and poems that spoke to new trends in economic, social and cultural life. is eclectic content was sometimes copied from other publications, or it was produced by the editors of these publications. For the most part, however, it was supplied by loyal readers and occasional correspondents, who used the periodical as an open forum for cultural and intellectual debate. is mixed mode of production constituted what Michael MacDonald and Terence Murphy have termed ‘a kind of collective popular literature’ that re ected a wide variety of cultural practices, attitudes and beliefs.1 Periodicals were priced cheaply at one penny, and they were available at daily, weekly and monthly intervals. As such, periodicals o ered a unique space in which ideas and information could be rapidly and regularly exchanged, and where the burning issues of the day could be discussed, digested and disputed. is literary genre also connected readers in both the metropolis and the provinces. e broad geographical spread of periodicals, combined with their periodicity and dynamic mode of production, forged a new sense of intimacy and common identity among a diverse set of readers.