Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 17. The Sunday Supplement

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XX. Newspapers Since 1860

§ 17. The Sunday Supplement

Closely related to this aspect of growth is the rise of the Sunday supplement. Sunday newspapers had occasionally vexed the pious all through the nineteenth century, and Sunday issues of daily newspapers, containing some news, but mainly fiction, features, and pictures, had gradually found a place, especially during and after the Civil War, when seven issues a week were deemed a necessity. But the old-fashioned journalists were unfriendly to the idea. Greeley in the later fifties had no sympathy with the proposal of Dana, then his managing editor, to issue a Sunday “picture paper.” The essence of the modern Sunday supplement is that it is made of pictures, light or sensational fiction, accounts of the strange, mysterious, or queer, gossip about persons of interest or notoriety—the frothiest part of the journalism of sensation. Its popularity has been due in great measure not merely to the lightness of tone but to the “comics” and the coloured pages, which interest the uneducated and the very young without making any demand on the intelligence. Only a small number of papers have been able to sustain, against the demand for the sensational, a Sunday supplement of real literary or pictorial worth.