Literary journalism in England and Egypt : a comparative study of the essay and the review
Before the rise of the modern newspaper with its mass circulation in the 19th century, journalism was regarded as a branch of English letters. Journalism had universalized literature and enormously increased the number of readers. Many writers have succeeded in maintaining a fair balance between literary merit and success in the market through their serious literary contributions to newspapers and magazines. The writers themselves found in journalism an open platform to express themselves in essays or reviews as well as printing their works in serialized form so as to establish contact with their readers. The urgent need of the press in general for both entertainment and education in its content led to a demand for gifted writers which stemmed from a growing and increasingly discriminating audience. The early nineteenth century, was the flowering period of the great literary reviews which tended deliberately to select works, direct taste, criticise, judge and influence both the writers and their audience in the literary process of communication. Long before The Tatler and The Spectator newspapers and periodicals had begun to attract essay writers and to use them as authors of leading articles. Some of the papers, instead of featuring news, disseminated views or information on popular subjects or reviews of books, laying the foundation of modern periodical literature in Britain, while much early literature, itself, was accessible through early reviews and journals. The essay in its turn developed towards the review, in line with the nature and function of the great periodicals of the 19th century. The slashing style of the Edinburgh Review marked the beginning of a new style of journalism. Reviewing began to establish and set the limits of an integral type or species of journalism. At the time when Lamb, Hazlitt and their contemporary Romanticists, became outmoded in their own country, there was a growing interest overseas in their achievements. In the spreading of English Romanticism and literature to the Arabic world it was Egyptian journalists who played the major role. The forceful influence of the English essayists revealed itself in the works of al- Aqqad, al- Mäzini, Müsa, and their contemporaries. The effect of English literature has been noticeable in the Saxon School of Egyptian Writers who were referred to as the Diwan Group whose influence was widespread.