Thackeray pp 320-326 | Cite as

Punch Lines

  • Philip Collins


Sources indicated after items: mainly M. H. Spielmann, The History ofPunch’ (1895); F. C. Burnand, Records and Reminiscences, Personal and General (1899); R. G. G. Price, A History of ‘Punch’ (1957); Arthur A. Adrian, Mark Lemon: First Editor of ‘Punch’ (1966); and works listed in ‘Abbreviations’ (above). Punch began in July 1841, and within a year Thackeray was contributing; he had indeed been involved in the abortive 1835 discussions about the London Charivari which eventually resulted in Punch. He joined ‘the Table’ — i.e. became a member of staff attending the weekly business dinners — in February 1844, contributed (as the ‘Fat Contributor’ and otherwise) various series including Snobs, thus consolidating his position as a leading periodical journalist, and was the most distinguished though not the most prolific writer for Punch in its first decade, besides being an illustrator. ‘It was a good day for himself, the journal, and the world, when Thackeray found Punch’, said Shirley Brooks, its editor 1870–4 (Spielmann, History of ‘Punch’, p. 308): and Thackeray himself remarked to the Punch engraver Joseph Swain, ‘Ah, Swain! if it had not been for Punch, I wonder where I should be!’ (ibid., p. 253). It was ‘chiefly under his influence’, writes Spielmann (ibid., p. 422), that Punch ‘raised its eyes from Bloomsbury [i.e. Bohemia] to Belgravia’, becoming an agreeably conformist comic journal instead of mordantly radical, as Thackeray’s antagonist Douglas Jerrold desired.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1983

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  • Philip Collins

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