Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Romantic-Era Women's Writing


Susanne Schmid



First Page


Last Page



The literary annual – with its poetry, short stories, dramatic scenes, sheet music, travel accounts, political statements, historical renderings, classical references, descriptions of Europe, war accounts, artwork, portraits, lavish bindings, and bevy of famous authors – introduced a literary and visual genre that would be both scorned and embraced by the British reading public and literary evangelists from 1822 to 1860. Individual titles adorned with 10 to 12 engravings and published yearly in November were originally intended to replace conduct manuals as a way to define and control femininity. After initially promising this, publisher Rudolph Ackermann, the creator of this literary form, set the standard with each 300-page Forget Me Not by surreptitiously celebrating popular literary genres, such as the Gothic short story, and women’s poetic voices that shifted the ideals of beauty in the British Romantic period. American literary annuals followed suit to address disparate topics, such as abolition, by 1828. Despite the critics’ disdain that had begun to arise by 1830, burgeoning numbers of British middle-class readers encouraged exportation of annuals to some Latin American booksellers as well as British colonial holdings in India. American literary annuals developed at the same time but focused more poignantly on abolition and religious themes. The British annual’s popularity began waning after 1840 but it succeeded in derivative forms until being subsumed into women’s magazines and the periodical press by 1860.


Literary Annual, Beauty, Taste, British Romanticism, Germany, Publishing Industry, Women’s Authorship, Christmas, Engravings, Serials, Emblems, Almanacs, Readers


English and Comparative Literature