Paying for Poetry at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century, with Particular Reference to Dryden, Pope, and Defoe

J. A. DOWNIE

NOTES

I would like to thank James Woolley for his advice and assistance in the preparation of this essay. Stuart Gillespie, Paul Hammond, David Hopkins, Rob Hume, Paul Hunter and Pat Rogers were also kind enough to respond to my queries.

1. It should be noted that Professor Barnard has acknowledged that he has now revised his “unwise statement, made in 1963, that the Virgil was ‘through and through a commercial venture’” (“Patrons” 174).
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2. Until the value of the guinea was fixed at 21 shillings by royal proclamation in December 1717, its value fluctuated. At the accession of George I, it was worth about 21 shillings and sixpence.
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3. It should be borne in mind, however, that if the second subscribers are taken into account, Dryden’s Virgil attracted 349 subscribers, two of whom, as Barnard points out, were both first and second subscribers (“Patrons” 180n22).
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4. A Second Volume of the Writings of the Author of the True-Born Englishman. Some whereof never before printed, sig. A3r.
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5. Charles Montagu’s well-received Epistle to Dorset, “one of the most widely-praised Whig poems” of the 1690s, according to Abigail Williams, cost sixpence (173).
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6. A True Collection of the Writings of the Author of the True Born English-man[.] The Second Edition Corrected and Enlarg’d by himself, sig. A3v.
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7. All the quotations in this paragraph are taken from the undated folio half-sheet, The Case of the Booksellers Right to their Copies, or Sole Power of Printing their Respective Books, represented to Parliament, which was almost certainly published to inform the parliamentary debate on copyright which led to the Copyright Act of 1709. It is interesting that the author should maintain that “the greatest Charge in Printing is setting the Letters together,” as opposed to the cost of paper, which was extremely expensive, unless, that is, he was speaking about the cost after the paper had been purchased.
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8. The invitation is to be found in the June 1693 issue of The Gentleman’s Journal: or the monthly Miscellany. In a Letter to a Gentleman in the Country. Consisting of News, History, Philosophy, Poetry, Musick, Translations, &c., vol. 3, 195.
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9. Johnson makes the remark in the Adventurer no. 115 (December 11, 1753): “The present age, if we consider chiefly the state of our own country, may be stiled with great propriety THE AGE OF AUTHORS; for, perhaps, there never was a time, in which men of all degrees of ability, of every kind of education, of every profession and employment, were posting with ardour so general to the press.”
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10. The most recent contribution to the debate is Dustin Griffin’s Authorship in the Long Eighteenth Century (2014), esp. Chapter 11, “The Rise of the Professional Author?,” but Brean Hammond’s Professional Imaginative Writing in England 1670-1740 (1997) should also be consulted.
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WORKS CITED

Anon. The Case of the Booksellers Right to their Copies, or Sole Power of Printing their Respective Books, represented to Parliament. London: no publisher, no date. Print.

Astbury, Raymond. “The Renewal of the Licensing Act in 1693 and its Lapse in 1695.” The Library 33.2 (1978): 296-322. Print.

Backscheider, Paula R. Daniel Defoe: His Life. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1989. Print.

Barnard, John. “Dryden, Tonson, and the Patrons of The Works of Virgil (1697).” John Dryden: Tercentenary Essays. Ed. Paul Hammond and David Hopkins. Oxford: Clarendon P, 2000. 174-239. Print.

———. “Dryden, Tonson, and the Subscriptions for the 1697 Virgil.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 57.2 (1963): 127-51. Print.

Defoe, Daniel. Jure Divino: A Satyr. London, 1706. Print

——. Review. Ed. John McVeagh. 9 vols. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2003–2011. Print.

——. A Second Volume of the Writings of the Author of the True-Born Englishman. Some whereof never before printed. London: Printed, and Sold by the Booksellers, 1705. Print.

——. A True Collection of the Writings of the Author of the True Born English-man[.] The Second Edition Corrected and Enlarg’d by himself. London: Printed, and are to be Sold by most Booksellers in London and Westminster, 1705. Print.

Downie, J. A. “Printing for the Author in the Long Eighteenth Century.” British Literature and Print Culture. Ed. Sandro Jung. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2013. 58-77. Print.

Dryden, John. Examen Poeticum: Being the Third Part of Miscellany Poems, Containing Variety of New Translations of the Ancient Poets. Together with many Original Copies, by the Most Eminent Hands. London: Jacob Tonson, 1693. Print.

——. The Letters of John Dryden. Ed. Charles E. Ward. Durham, N. C.: Duke UP, 1942. Print [Abbreviated Letters].

Dunton, John. The Athenian Oracle: Being an Entire Collection Of all the Valuable Questions and Answers in the Old Athenian Mercuries … By a Member of the Athenian Society. 3 vols. London: Printed for A. Bell, 1703-04. Print.

Foxon, D. F. English Verse 1701-1750: A Catalogue of separately printed poems with notes on contemporary collected editions. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1975. Print.

——. Pope and the Early Eighteenth-Century Book Trade. Revised and ed. James McLaverty. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1991. Print.

Griffin, Dustin. Authorship in the Long Eighteenth Century. Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 2014. Print.

Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. T. Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge: Polity P, 1989. Print.

Hammond, Brean. Professional Imaginative Writing in England 1670-1740: “Hackney for Bread.” Oxford: Clarendon P, 1997. Print.

Hunter, J. Paul. “Political, satirical, didactic and lyric poetry (I): from the Restoration to the death of Pope.” The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660-1780. Ed. John Richetti. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. 160-208. Print.

Lockwood, Thomas. “Subscription Hunters and their Prey.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 34.1 (2001): 121-35. Print.

McLaverty, James. “The Contract for Pope’s Translation of Homer’s Iliad: An Introduction and Transcription.” The Library 15.1 (1993): 206-25. Print.

Motteux, Peter Anthony. The Gentleman’s Journal: or the monthly Miscellany. In a Letter to a Gentleman in the Country. Consisting of News, History, Philosophy, Poetry, Musick, Translations, &c. London: Printed; and are to be sold by R. Baldwin, 1692-94. Print.

Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock. An Heroi-Comical Poem. In Five Canto’s … The Third Edition. London: Bernard Lintott, 1714. Print.

Rogers, Pat. “Pope and His Subscribers.” Publishing History 3 (1978): 7-36. Print.

Rowe, Elizabeth Singer. Philomela: Or, Poems by Mrs. Elizabeth Singer, [Now Rowe,] Of Frome in Somersetshire. The Second Edition. London: E. Curll, 1737. Print.

——. Poems On Several Occasions. Written by Philomela. London: John Dunton, 1696. Print.

Sherburn, George. “Letters of Alexander Pope, Chiefly to Sir William Trumbull.” Review of English Studies 9 (1958): 388-406. Print.

St Clair, William. The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. Print.

Tonson, Jacob. The Annual Miscellany: For The Year 1694: Being the Fourth Part of Miscellany Poems. London: Jacob Tonson, 1694. Print.

Williams, Abigail. Poetry and the Creation of a Whig Literary Culture 1681-1714. Oxford: Oxford UP. 2009. Print.

Winn, James Anderson. John Dryden and His World. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1987. Print.

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