With Authors, Stationers obey'd the call, The field of glory is a field for all; Glory, and gain, th' industrious tribe provoke; And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke.Since the basis of the assignment is taking imprint information seriously, I thought I'd turn to someone who took it more seriously than anyone I know of -- Pope places some of his enemies from the publishing world in the mock-epic games in book II of the Dunciad. The two major targets are Bernard Lintot and Edmund Curll, important London publishers, although he also alludes to other minor players (some not really booksellers, but mere printers). I started with those mentioned in II.117: Thos. Warner, Wm. Mears, and Wm. Wilkins. Pope identifies them in a note to the 1729 Dunciad Variorum as "Booksellers and Printers of much anonymous stuff."
I began by playing with their catalogues in the years before the appearance of Pope's 1728 Dunciad; for convenience' sake, I settled on 1720 to 1729. But then I thought I'd look at a few other important publishers of the day, figures I know from other research I've done. To the five above, I added Jacob Tonson, Anne Dodd, the Nutts, George Strahan, Samuel Ballard, and Benjamin Motte, and looked at their work from the 1720s, comparing the work of these eleven London publishers to what was going on in London at the time.
The ESTC turns up a total 19,682 titles for the period 1720-1729. This includes the entire English-speaking world; narrowing it down to London only is tricky, since you can't search for London as a place name. I did, however, do "NOT" with the thirty or forty biggest publishers outside London, and brought the 19,682 down to 14,568; of course I missed a few other cities, but the law of diminishing returns means we're getting close to the figure. I'm assuming that around 14,000 to 14,500 books were published in London in the 1720s.
My gang of eleven booksellers produced, alone or together, a total of 1,801 titles in the same period. Among them, therefore, they account for around 13% of London's entire book trade -- a hefty chunk.
I include discussions of their catalogues from the 1720s below, but much of that knowledge has long been familiar to scholars of the period -- they've of course made do with paper catalogues and a lot of note cards, but people with more free time than I've seen have managed to do most of it (I know of at least two full books on Tonson, for instance). It seems to me an interesting tack that would be nearly impossible without a tool like the ESTC, however, would be to examine publishing practices more closely, particularly the interaction among the various publishers who were operating at the time. It is not surprising that Lintot and Tonson, for instance, produced seventy titles together in this period. But there are some oddities. Tonson and Curll, for instance, are at opposite ends of the publishing spectrum, but they produced three volumes together in the 1720s. Lintot and Curll, however, did none.
I've restricted myself to eleven simply because I can't fit any more across the screen, but someone serious about this would want to include Gosling, Ward, Stagg, Tooke, Taylor, Walthoe, Bettesworth, and a whole gang of minor figures.
The table below shows every publisher on my list paired with every other; the intersection gives the number of volumes they did together. Where the table pairs the publisher with him- or herself (Lintot and Lintot = 212, for instance), that's the total number of titles that publisher spat out in the 1720s. The perceptive will notice the table is symmetrical along the diagonal axis: Lintot vs. Strahan is the same as Strahan vs. Lintot, so half the information is redundant. C'est la guerre.
Lintot Curll Tonson Dodd Nutt Strahan Ballard Motte Warner Mears Wilkins ------ ----- ------ ---- ---- ------- ------- ----- ------ ----- ------- Lintot 212 0 70 0 21 8 0 1 0 11 0 Curll 0 189 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 Tonson 70 3 360 0 4 9 3 10 0 7 0 Dodd 0 0 0 245 50 1 0 3 20 4 0 Nutt 21 0 4 50 230 4 0 2 50 32 0 Strahan 8 0 9 1 4 176 6 9 1 32 0 Ballard 0 0 3 0 0 6 43 3 0 8 0 Motte 1 0 10 0 2 9 3 137 0 5 0 Warner 0 0 0 20 50 1 0 0 221 0 0 Mears 11 7 7 4 32 32 8 5 0 252 0 Wilkins 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 43Contrary to the spirit of Pope's 1729 footnote on II.49 ("We enter here upon the episode of the Booksellers: persons, whose names being more known and famous in the learned world than those of the authors in this Poem, do therefore need less explanation"), I offer some comments on these characters, drawn from a quick browse of their catalogues:
BERNARD LINTOT -- Lintot's catalogue is more respectable than Pope's attack would suggest. In addition to Pope himself (Essay on Criticism, Miscellany Poems, Eloisa, Rape of the Lock, Windor Forest, Homer translations), it includes Gay among the Scriblerians (Daphnis & Chloe with Tonson, What D'Ye Call It, Poems on Several Occasions), and many of the popular writers of the day: Farquhar (with Strahan), Rowe (Works, Jane Shore, Lady Jane Gray), Katharine Philips, Susanna Centlivre, Colley Cibber, Parnell, Fenton, Lady Mary Chudleigh, Steele's Dramatick Works, Otway (with Tonson, Strahan, and Motte), Ambrose Philips (The Briton). Philips would of course be enough to bother Pope, but perhaps a greater irritant was Lintot's publishing of the Broome/Dacier Homer (a rival to his own). Lintot also published Giles Jacob (as it seems did everyone else) and Welsted, as well as some Proceedings in Commons. Most of his catalogue was contemporary, but he did produce Urry's Chaucer, Bentley's Horace, and an English Seneca (Epistolae, with Tonson, Strahan, and Motte).
EDMUND CURLL -- The most famous literary pirate and all-around bad-guy publisher of the century. Many of his editions were pirated, and those that weren't included disreputable works such as Delariviere Manley's chronique scandaleuse, Rivella. Curll also imported some considerable works from the Continent: Boileau, Mme Dacier (Remarks on Mr Pope's Account of Homer), Fenelon, and even Castiglione and Albertus Magnus. And not only across the channel, but across centuries from the English Renaissance: Philip Sidney (with Mears), Surrey, Marvell (Works). He published Susanna Centlivre, Prior, Eustace Budgell, Defoe (Duncan Campbell with Mears), Jacob Giles (who didn't?), Sheffield (Buckingham), Hobbes (Historia Ecclesiastica), Buchanan's Scottish history, Addison (Dissertation on ... Roman Poets, Miscellanies, The Christian Poet, Oratio), Thos. Burnet, Congreve, Rowe (Works), Young (A Poem on the Last Day), & L'Estrange. I don't know his sole work by Pope (Popeana), but more characteristic is his own works against him (Codrus, Compleat Key to the Dunciad).
JACOB TONSON -- Where Curll is the arch-villain, Tonson is one of the century's publishing superheroes: his publishing empire fought (mostly successfully) to hold the copyright on both Shakespeare and Milton throughout nearly the entire century, and in the 1720s that meant Shakespeare editions and reprints by Rowe, Pope, and Theobald, as well as Milton's Paradise Lost, Paradise Regain'd, and the complete Works. We shouldn't forget that these two authors were becoming classics, perhaps in part because they were published in a house known for its classical editions: Terence, Sallust, Longinus, Origen, Sophocles, Plutarch (Lives, English, with notes by M Dacier), Cicero (De officiis in English with Strahan, Ballard, and Mears), Caesar, Horace (Odes, tr. Creech), Livy, Juvenal, Phaedrus, Seneca (Epistolae in English with Strahan, Lintot, and Motte), Ovid (Metamorphoses, tr. Garth, Addison, Dryden, &c.), Pliny the Younger. Tonson also kept a steady stream of Continental work flowing: Racine, Tasso (Gerusalemme liberata), Montaigne, Pascal (Pensees in English), Montesquieu (Persian Letters), Cervantes (Quixote, tr. Motteux), and Fenelon (Telemaque). And his catalogue of contemporary English works reads like the title page of Paul Fussell's anthology of 18th-c. British lit (with the inclusion of -- gasp! -- a woman, Behn): Steele (Conscious Lovers), Dryden (Miscellany Poems, Fables, Dramatick Works), Prior (Poems on Several Occasions), The Tatler, The Spectator, The Guardian, Gay (Fables, Shepherd's Week, Poems on Several Occasions with Lintot, Daphne & Chloe with Lintot), Tillotson's sermons, Addison (Cato, Works, The Campaign), Congreve (Works), Rowe (Tamerlane, Fair Penitent, Works), Young (Busiris),Eusden (birthday odes), Fenton, Newton (Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms), Etherege, Rymer, Echard (histories), Cowley (Works), Tickell, Shadwell (Dramatick Works), Steele, Waller (Works), Arbuthnot (Tables of Ancient Coins), Mandeville (Fable of the Bees), Berkeley (De motu), Anthony a Wood, Ambrose Philips (The Distrest Mother), Southerne (Works), Otway (Works with Lintot, Motte, and Strahan), Garth (Dispensary), Cibber (Plays), and Behn (Love Letters, withStrahan, Ballard, and Mears). When business was slow, Tonson could churn out mountains of Parliamentary documents (public acts, customs, excises, &c.).
ANNE DODD -- Dodd (invariably "A. Dodd" in imprints) is as famous as she is (not much) for being the name on the title page of Pope's 1728 Dunciad, though the smart money says the name was a front, and the work was actually published by Bettenham. (The industrious will check out Sutherland's introduction to the Dunciad volume in the Twickenham Edition.) It's certain that Curll published his Compleat Key to the Dunciad in Dodd's shop rather than his own. Her catalogue is a big step down from the previous three, comprising mostly anonymous works, sometimes scandalous or pornographic, as Pleasure for a minute, or, the amorous adventure: a tale. To which are subjoin'd, the Grecian dame, dream of Venus, the lover's interrogatories, the water- engine, and other love-poems. Still, she was busy with the works of Defoe (Col. Jack with Mears, Protestant Monastery with Nutt, Plague Year with Nutt, Augusta Triumphans with Nutt, Evident Approach of War, Captain Singleton, Reasons for a War, Woolen Manufacture, Advantages of Peace and Commerce, Every-body's Business with Warner and Nutt, Royal Progress). She dipped into a few translations of the classics -- Sallust (Jugurtha, English, with Nutt), Horace (Ars poetica in English) -- and a few mid-level contemporary authors -- Gildon, a not-yet-famous Fielding (The Masquerade), Blackmore, and Welsted.
E. AND R. NUTT -- There's little distinguishing the two Nutts, so I treat them as one. As with Dodd (with whom the Nutts often worked), Defoe was a big part of the business: Some Objections ... Relief of Prisoners, Every-body's Business (with Dodd and Warner), Protestant Monastery (with Dodd), Plague Year (with Dodd), and Augusta Triumphans (with Dodd). Another biggie was Giles Jacob. The only other memorable work is an English Sallust (Jugurtha, with Dodd), a late edition of The Tatler, and Coke's Reports (with Mears).
GEORGE STRAHAN -- Strahan's peak of success was probably the 1750s (he did Johnson's Dictionary in 1755), but in the '20s he had a thriving (and eclectic) catalogue: Samuel Butler (Works), Dryden (Don Sebastian with Motte), Otway (Venice Preserv'd, Works with Lintot, Tonson, and Motte), Theobald (Richard II with Mears), Farquhar (Comedies with Motte and with Lintot), Collier (Short View with Ballard), Eliza Haywood (Agreeable Caledonian), Behn (Love Letters with Ballard, Tonson, and Mears), Defoe (Peter Alexowitz, Tour with Mears), D'Urfey (Love for Money), George Cheyne, Cicero (De officiis in English, with Tonson, Ballard, and Mears), Erasmus (Colloquia in English, with Motte), Oldham (Works with Ballard and Mears), Cowley (Works, with Mears and Motte), and Seneca (Epistolae in English, with Tonson, Lintot, and Motte).
SAMUEL BALLARD -- Not much of note other than the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions. Much of his work is routine (Latin grammars, school texts). He also turned out Xenophon (Symposium, English), Plautus, Behn (Love Letters, with Tonson, Strahan, and Mears), Juvenal, Cicero (De officiis, English, with Tonson, Strahan, and Mears), Oldham (with Strahan and Mears), Sallust (with Motte), Juvenal (with Motte and Mears), and Bacon (Essays).
BENJAMIN MOTTE -- That he's known at all is because he published Swift (Gulliver, Miscellanies, a late Tale of a Tub), but he also did Dryden (Don Sebastianwith Strahan), Otway (Venice Preserv'd with Strahan, Works with Tonson and Strahan), Wycherley (Country Wife), Vanbrugh, Budgell, Pope (verses on Gulliver), Butler (Hudibras), and Wm. Chillingworth. Belles lettres constituted only part of his catalogue, which also included Euclid (Elements, English), Pufendorf, Juvenal (with Ballard and Mears), Newton (Principia in English), Demosthenes, Erasmus (Colloquia in English, with Strahan), Cowley (with Strahan), Eutropius, Vossius, Thucydides (English, with Lintot), Juvenal (with Ballard and Mears), Seneca (LEpistolae, English, with Strahan, Tonson, and Lintot), de Thou, and Terence.
THOMAS WARNER -- We're now working our way down the list. Warner was apparently successful (he turned out more titles than Lintot), but apart from a thriving Defoe business (Jonathan Wild, Roxana, Political History of the Devil, Memoirs of a Cavalier, Captain Singleton with Dodd, Conjugal Lewdness, The Chimera, A New Family Instructor, Captain Jeane, Siege of Gibraltar, Brief Case of the Distillers, General History of the Pyrates, Every-body's Business with Dodd and Nutt), there's little of note except Swift's "Cadenus & Vanessa." The few recognizable names in his catalogue -- Diemerbroeck, Dufresnoy, John Dennis -- don't even begin to balance what Pope calls "much anonymous stuff," such as Saynought Slyboots's The tavern scuffle: or, the club in an uproar, occasion'd by a hot dispute, between Mr. Swell-Gut, ... and Mr. Scorch-Gut, ... concerning Geneva, the reigning liquior [sic] now in vogue.
WILLIAM MEARS -- Mears seems to have had his hand in just about everything, and to have worked with more publishers on the list than any other (all but Warner and Wilkins). His interests seem thoroughly catholic, so I'm not surprised to see three titles from the 1720s in his own name: A catalogue of modern books in divinity, history, law, philosophy, husbandry, poetry, &c., A compleat catalogue of all the plays that were ever yet printed in the English language, A catalogue of modern books in divinity, history, law, philosophy, mathematicks, poetry, &c. If I had the patience, I'd put this mess in some order; since I haven't, I'll just present it in a lump: the ever-present Giles Jacob, Cicero (De officiis in English with Strahan, Ballard, and Tonson), Behn (Love Letters with Strahan, Ballard, and Tonson), Coke (Reports, with Nutt), Defoe (Moll Flanders, Tour with Strahan, Col. Jack with Dodd, Duncan Campbell with Curll, New Voyage, General History of Discoveries, 7th ed. of Crusoe), Oldham (_Works_ with Ballard and Strahan), Cowley (Works with Strahan & Motte), Juvenal (with Motte & Ballard), John Dennis, Tibullus (both English & Latin), Gilbert Burnet, Holinshed (Supplement to the Chronicles), Pliny the Younger (in English), Grotius's Annotationes, Massinger (Roman Actor), Shakespeare (surreptitious seventh vol. to Pope's Shakespeare and tenth to Theobald's), Collier (Short View, with Strahan), Thos. Browne (Posthumous Works), Walter Raleigh, Cibber, The Spectator. Edward Bysshe, Aubrey (Antiquities of ... Surrey), Philip Sidney (with Curll), Wm. Lowth, Pomfret, Gilbert Burnet, Eliza Haywood (Frederick), Southerne, Wycherley, Abelard (Epistolae, English), Horace (English), Centlivre, Theobald (Richard II with Strahan).
WILLIAM WILKINS -- I include Wilkins only because Pope skewered him, but he seems an odd choice of a target. He produced only forty-three titles in the 1720s and didn't work with any of the major publishers during this period. Of those forty-three, only six are even slightly recognizable: Young (Paraphrase on ... Job), Benj. Hoadly, Welsted, Shaftesbury (letters to Molesworth), Euripides (Hecuba in English), and Richard Blackmore (Just Prejudices against the Arian Hypothesis).