The Nineteenth-Century Literary Marketplace Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Richard D. Altick (essay date 1957)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Altick, Richard D. “Public Libraries.” In The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public 1800-1900, pp. 213-39. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957.

[In the following excerpt, Altick examines early public libraries in England, many of which were devoted to theological works and antiquities of little interest to the general reader.]


As early as the fifteenth century, posthumous benevolence in England sometimes took the form of library endowment. Here and there, instead of leaving part of one's fortune to found and maintain a grammar school, or to relieve future generations of the worthy poor, a...

(The entire section is 10515 words.)

James Hepburn (essay date 1968)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hepburn, James. “The Historical Background: The Long Quarrel Between Author and Publisher.” In The Author's Empty Purse and the Rise of the Literary Agent, pp. 4-21. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

[In the following excerpt, Hepburn discusses the animosity between authors and publishers in the nineteenth century, theorizing that this tension was the result of developing ideas about ownership and originality, and the uneasy relationship between art and commerce.]

What, art thou not cured of scribbling yet?
No, scribbling is as impossible to cure as the gout.

(The entire section is 7336 words.)

Victor Bonham-Carter (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bonham-Carter, Victor. “Chapter Four.” In Authors By Profession, Vol. 1, pp. 71-89. Los Altos, Calif.: William Kaufmann Inc., 1978.

[In the following excerpt, Bonham-Carter discusses developments in international copyright law in the mid-nineteenth century and the founding of the Society of British Authors.]

It has been shown how, after about 1830, periodicals and part publication provided authors with the main means of communicating new works to the public en masse. Such means did not inhibit publication in volume form, indeed serialisation usually preceded it, by which time a work could be issued as a relatively cheap reprint. But to launch a new...

(The entire section is 9115 words.)