The Significance of the 19th century Punch Magazine

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The Significance of Punch Magazine

Two brilliant men named Ebenezer Landells and Henry Mayhew got the idea of creating a magazine while sitting in a pub one night .They were somewhat inspired by the satirical French daily called Charivari. Therefore, the first issue of the magazine was subtitled, "the London Charivari". The first edition of this extraordinary magazine was published in 1841, and its publicists had agreed that it should be less bitter then other British publications. As for the magazine's name:

"We'll call it Punch - for it's nothing without Lemon"

These were the words uttered by an anonymous member of the staff, and they significantly pointed out that just as a drink is nothing without its main ingredient, neither is a good magazine. Thus, Mark Lemon became the first editor of the Punch. He was the one to be made responsible for its becoming an important part of English literary life in the decades to follow.

Mark Lemon's introduction to the very first issue was The Moral of The Punch, in which he clearly stated what Punch's future attitude would be. He quoted Byron:

And laugh at all things, for we wish to know, what, after all, are all things but a show!

This was what Punch became famous for, its name stood for a good laugh. The plan was to combine humour and political comment. They had some respect for crowns or titles, much less, however, for the individuals who held them.

Punch never stood still. One of the best examples for this was Thomas Hood's "Song of the Shirt", a sorrowful poem, which moved people's consciousness of working conditions and also increased the magazine's circulation.

Amongst many popular and famous writers who contributed to the success of the Punch was Thackeray. Many of his...