The Listener

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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The Listener

(1929-91) was a weekly magazine of the British Broadcasting Corporation, established to support the BBC’s educational and cultural mission by providing print versions of radio talks, along with reviews of books and the arts. It quickly became Britain’s most widely-read literary-cultural magazine, with a circulation of 70,000 in the mid-1930s, eventually peaking at 143,000 in 1948, before declining steadily from the 1960s. Under its first editor, Richard Lambert (to 1939), it became a remarkable showcase not only for literary radio talks such as W. B. Yeats’s “Modern Poetry” (1936) and Virginia Woolf’s “Craftsmanship” (1937), but for new poetry. 

The assistant editor, effectively literary editor 1930-35, Janet Adam Smith, strongly promoted younger poets in The

634 words

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "The Listener". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 April 2021 [, accessed 22 April 2024.]

19628 The Listener 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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