The Bookman

Date began: 
01 Oct 1891
Date ended: 
01 Dec 1934

The Bookman was a monthly magazine published by Hodder & Staughton. First published in 1891, The Bookman was initially conceived as an advertising tool for Hodder and Stoughton’s catalogue. The journal also published essays and reviews. The journal was quick to respond to new technological innovations, including columns on film, photography and a new supplement called 'The Illustrated Bookman', which featured articles on travel writing and accompanying photographs that from today's perspective could be read as 'orientalist'. These photographs exoticized the locale, highlighting the places' strangeness, otherness and their attraction as a space for adventure and exploration.

Under the editorship of Hugh Ross-Williamson in the 1930s, the journal increasingly reviewed books on India and Indian political issues. Aubrey Menen became the drama critic for The Bookman from October 1933 to May 1934. His columns engaged with the state of London's commercial theatre and argued for an alternative theatre that was poltically engaging and addressed a wider constituency. He also intervened into debates around the creation of a national theatre. He called for a more realist style of acting and lamented the influence of film that in his opinion had lead to a dumbing down of theatre. The journal published a number of survey articles on Indian writing, and regularly reviewed books on Indian politics. The journal was incorporated into the London Mercury in 1935, which was absorbed into Life & Letters today in 1939.

Key Individuals' Details: 

William Robertson Nicoll (editor), Arthur St. John Adcock (editor), Hugh Ross Williamson (editor).

Books Reviewed Include: 

Andrews, C. F., Mahatma Gandhi at Work (London: Allen & Unwin, 1931)

Bernays, Robert, Naked Fakir (London: Gollancz, 1931). Reviewed by J. R. Glorney Bolton.

Butler, Harcourt, India Insistent  (London: Heinemann, 1931)

Craig, A. E. R., The Palace of Intrigue (London: Harmsorth, 1932). Reviewed by  J. Vijaya-Tunga.

Crozier, F. P., A Word To Gandhi: The Lesson of Ireland (London Williams & Norgate, 1931)

Kennion, R. L., Diversions of an Indian Political (Edinburgh: Blackwell, 1932). Reviewed by  J. Vijaya-Tunga.

Polak, Millie Graham, M. Gandhi: the Man (London: Allen & Unwin, 1931)

Tagore, Rabindranath, The Golden Boat, trans. by Bhattacharya, Bhabani (London: Allen & Unwin, 1932). Reviewed by  J. Vijaya-Tunga.