Home  »  Volume XI: English THE PERIOD OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION  »  § 25. Little Britain

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

§ 25. Little Britain

By this time, Little Britain, with its artery Duck lane, had become an important centre of the retail book trade, threatening the long supremacy of the neighbourhood of St. Paul’s cathedral. In 1663, Sorbière, the French traveller, speaks of the vast number of booksellers’ shops he had observed in London, especially in St. Paul’s churchyard and Little Britain, “where there is twice as many as in the Rue St. Jacque in Paris.” And Roger North, writing of the same period, says,

  • Then Little Britain was a plentiful and perpetual emporium of learned authors; and men went thither as to a market. This drew to the place a mighty trade; the rather because the shops were spacious, and the learned gladly resorted to them, where they seldom failed to meet with agreeable conversation. And the booksellers themselves were knowing and conversible men, with whom, for the sake of bookish knowledge, the greatest wits were pleased to converse.