It has long been acknowledged that one of the distinguishing features of nineteenth-century literary culture is the variety of formats in which literary works, especially those of prose fi ction, were made available to contemporary readers. These new formats included serial publication in magazines, general interest monthlies, or fortnightlies, as well as fi ction produced in weekly or (more usually) monthly part-copies. In addition there were a number of different book formats, such as (and most famously) the threedecker or three-volume novel sustained chiefl y by the circulating libraries, cheap one-volume novels, illustrated fi ction and, later in the century, the phenomenon of library, collectors’, or ‘de luxe’ editions. As we noted in Chapter 1, a signifi cant body of research has been devoted to documenting the technological and economic forces that lay behind the development of these publishing media, as well as their impact on literary creativity and concepts of authorship (Guy 2010). Attention has also been given to explaining the role of print culture more generally in facilitating the expansion and diversifi cation of nineteenth-century readerships (in terms of both class and gender) and in promoting new kinds of reading practices (Jordan & Patten 1991; Hammond 2010). The most fully researched aspect of this last topic, as regards prose fi ction, is serialization (Hughes & Lund 1995).