Home  »  Volume XI: English THE PERIOD OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION  »  § 20. Booksellers’ Clubs

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

§ 20. Booksellers’ Clubs

But the booksellers did not confine their meetings at coffeehouse or tavern to the business of dividing the profits on a book or of planning a new venture. They also met for social intercourse and good cheer; and occasional gatherings at the Devil tavern by Temple bar developed into a regular club. It was at this club that Davies first conceived the idea of writing his Life of Garrick, and, as the work proceeded, he brought instalments of it to the club which he read to the company “with much complacency, and not a little to their general information.” And, in their relations with authors, the festive side was not neglected by individual publishers, such as the Dillys—the big house in the Poultry—“at whose hospitable and wellcovered table,” says Boswell, “I have seen a greater number of literary men, than at any other, except that of Sir Joshua Reynolds.”