Paleontology in parts: Richard Owen, William John Broderip, and the serialization of science in early Victorian Britain.Isis. 2012 Dec; 103(4):637-67.ISIS
While a great deal of scholarly attention has been given to the publication of serialized novels in early Victorian Britain, there has been hardly any consideration of the no less widespread practice of issuing scientific works in parts and numbers. What scholarship there has been has insisted that scientific part-works operated on entirely different principles from the strategies for maintaining readerly interest that were being developed by serial novelists like Charles Dickens. Deploying the methods of book history, this essay examines the reporting of Richard Owen's celebrated paleontological reconstructions from the 1830s and 1840s in the serialized formats of the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, his own History of British Fossil Mammals, and, in particular, the Penny Cyclopaedia. It argues that Owen, along with his close friend William John Broderip, clearly recognized the affective possibilities of the serial format and that they exploited the Penny Cyclopaedia's sequential mode of publication to evoke suspense and expectation in their anonymous but collaboratively authored accounts of Owen's paleontological researches.