The Kit-Cat Club Criticism: Overviews - Essay

John Timbs (essay date 1872)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Timbs, John. “The Kit-Kat Club.” In Clubs and Club Life in London: With Anecdotes of Its Famous Coffee-Houses, Hostelries, and Taverns, from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Time, pp. 47-53. 1872. Reprint. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1967.

[In the following excerpt from a work that was originally published in 1872, Timbs summarizes what is known of the Kit-Cat Club's origins and membership.]

This famous Club was a threefold celebrity—political, literary, and artistic. It was the great Society of Whig leaders, formed about the year 1700, temp. William III., consisting of thirty-nine noblemen and gentlemen zealously attached to the House of...

(The entire section is 2139 words.)

Robert J. Allen (essay date 1931)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Allen, Robert J. “The Kit-Cat Club and the Theatre.” Review of English Studies 7, No. 25 (January 1931): 56-61.

[In the following excerpt, Allen traces the Kit-Cat Club's interest in and patronage of the theater, which included raising £3,000 for the building of London's famous Haymarket Theatre in 1705.]

No select social group was more on the tongues of the Town during the early years of the eighteenth century than the Kit-Cat Club. There were among its number such gallants as Somerset and Manchester, such statesmen as Godolphin and Halifax, such warriors as Marlborough and Sir Richard Temple, and such poets as Walsh, Garth, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Steele,...

(The entire section is 2049 words.)

Robert J. Allen (essay date 1933)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Allen, Robert J. “The Club and the Town: The Kit-Cats and the Toasters.” In The Clubs of Augustan London, pp. 35-54. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1933.

[In the excerpt below, Allen provides a detailed history of the Kit-Cat Club, with particular emphasis on the members' engagement in political skirmishes.]

The greatest political society of the day was the Kit-Cat Club. The name of this august assembly has been of enough curiosity to call forth a number of explanations. That most frequently quoted is in the famous “Epigram on the Toasts of the Kit-Cat Club, Anno 1716,” generally attributed to Dr. John Arbuthnot.


(The entire section is 6132 words.)

Harry M. Geduld (essay date 1969)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Geduld, Harry M. “The Kit-Kat Club.” In Prince of Publishers: A Study of the Work and Career of Jacob Tonson, pp. 151-71. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969.

[In the following essay, Geduld discusses the origins and history of the Kit-Cat Club, paying special attention to the role of publisher Jacob Tonson as founder and secretary.]

The social aspect of Jacob Tonson's career is well represented in his role as chairman-secretary to the celebrated Kit-Cat Club, which he helped to inaugurate towards the end of the seventeenth century.1

During Dryden's lifetime the evolution of the English club was accelerated primarily...

(The entire section is 8109 words.)