Home  »  Volume XI: English THE PERIOD OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION  »  § 22. Literary Booksellers

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

§ 22. Literary Booksellers

Naturally, most of those who engaged in bookselling and publishing were primarily men of business, but there were among them not a few who knew something more of books than merely their title-pages and selling price. Many were attracted to the calling by a taste for, and appreciation of, literature, and several even aspired to enter the lists of authorship. Besides such outstanding instances as Robert Dodsley, Samuel Richardson and Thomas Davies, there was John Dunton of the Life and Errors, and Lackington of the Memoirs and Confessions. Thomas Evans, the humorist, who edited Shakespeare and Prior, and Andrew Jackson, the Drury lane dealer in old books, who published the first book of Paradise Lost in rime and cast his catalogues in similar form, are representative of another class. To the criticisms of his publisher, Joseph Johnson, William Cowper acknowledged himself to be indebted; and Peter Elmsley, the Strand bookseller and honoured friend of Gibbon, was noted for his discriminating nicety in both the French and the English languages. To these may be added Alexander Cruden, who compiled his Concordance at his shop under the Royal Exchange; Arthur Collins, of the Peerage; the younger William Bowyer, styled “the learned printer,” and his partner John Nichols, of the Anecdotes.