Home  »  Volume XI: English THE PERIOD OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION  »  § 10. Literature becomes a Profession

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

XIV. Book Production and Distribution, 1625–1800

§ 10. Literature becomes a Profession

Although the Copyright act of 1709 did not seem immediately to make the position of the author stronger, yet the leaven of betterment was surely at work, and it is during the eighteenth century that the author gradually comes to the front. True, there were, as there still are, sloughs which engulfed the needy writer, and Grub street flourished. But, in the upper walks of the profession, the author was becoming a person of some importance, and one to be considered by the publisher. Literature was rising to the rank of a liberal profession, and the man of letters occupies henceforth, a recognised, and not unimportant, place in society.