The Transatlantic Moonstone: Part XXXI
The Moonstone, an 1868 novel by Wilkie Collins, exists as one of the many Victorian novels to be published in weekly journals rather than all at once in book form. As a tale that has no problem engaging and enticing readers with its captivating story full of mystery, thievery, and even romance, The Moonstone has little trouble becoming a Victorian bestseller. The work was published concurrently in both the English journal All the Year Round and the American journal Harper’s Weekly, both appealing to a different audience and both intent on luring readers, new and old, to read their print publications.
On the first day of August, in 1868, both of the aforementioned journals published the thirty-first part of The Moonstone, detailing the fifth narrative of the character Franklin Blake, ending in the great and climactic reveal of Godfrey Ablewhite as the stone's thief all along, and his subsequent death. While both journals relay the same set of words printed as they were written by Collins himself, All the Year Round and Harper’s Weekly each have their own unique approach to the text, and appear to have a primary focus and main intention with how they chose to present the journal and Collins’ story.
Each journal utilizes different methods in an effort to entice their readership. Dickens’ All the Year Round uses the print medium to promote the journal itself, placing little emphasis on the stories and capitalizing on Dickens’ reputation in an effort to draw readers. Harper’s Weekly, unlike All the Year Round, concentrates its material on the published works themselves by highlighting the author’s name and ‘richly’ illustrating the story being told, attracting readers by attempting to engage them in the stories and articles. While neither journal features advertisements in this particular installment, All the Year Round appears to prioritize Dickens’ name and notoriety as the main draw while also boasting about the journal’s prestige, leaving Collins’ name out of the publication entirely and instead using page space to spotlight his name and insert Shakespeare quotes as if to imply the deceased playwright is endorsing the journal himself. The pages examined assert and demonstrate the contrast between these two journals, supporting the notion that All the Year Round was concerned with advertising itself as a journal while Harper’s Weekly was determined to promote the individual articles they published.