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Science Periodicals in Nineteenth-Century BritainConstructing Scientific Communities$
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Gowan Dawson, Bernard Lightman, Sally Shuttleworth, and Jonathan R. Topham

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226676517

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226683461.001.0001

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“An Independent Publication for Geologists”: The Geological Society, Commercial Journals, and the Remaking of Nineteenth-Century Geology

“An Independent Publication for Geologists”: The Geological Society, Commercial Journals, and the Remaking of Nineteenth-Century Geology

Chapter:
(p.137) Chapter 4 “An Independent Publication for Geologists”: The Geological Society, Commercial Journals, and the Remaking of Nineteenth-Century Geology
Source:
Science Periodicals in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Author(s):

Gowan Dawson

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226683461.003.0005

The Geological Society of London’s elitism ensured that it remained at odds with commercial journals that sought to foster different, more marketable approaches to the earth sciences. The financial imperatives of the literary marketplace necessitated that these journals endeavored to cultivate a much larger readership than the Geological Society’s official publications, which addressed only the needs of gentlemanly specialists. The pecuniary difficulties imposed by a limited circulation nevertheless had significant implications for the intellectual and scientific value of the Geological Society’s periodicals. At the same time, commercial journals, whose continued existence required a broader audience, utilized the potential of new communities of geologists to forge a less exclusive and more egalitarian conception of the earth sciences, directly challenging the Geological Society’s hierarchical exclusivity. Significantly, the gentlemanly specialists would eventually feel compelled to take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by the more inclusive approach of these journals. The format of the most populist of these commercial periodicals, the Geologist, would, by the end of the nineteenth century, provide the vehicle for a new community of professional geologists to finally supplant, with the Geological Magazine, the intellectual authority of the Geological Society and its gentlemanly specialists.

Keywords:   Geological Society of London, commercial journals, gentlemanly specialists, earth sciences, literary marketplace, geology, new communities, Geologist, Geological Magazine

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