The Ministry of the Press

in Science and Salvation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780226276472
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226276465 | DOI:
The Ministry of the Press

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The most common image for authorship in the mid-nineteenth century was as a learned profession, primarily because of the possibility it offered of earning a genteel living. Other ways of making money had less highbrow connotations. Chambers's Journal, for instance, suggested the image of “authorcraft.” This gave authorship the status of a highly skilled but manual occupation. Although the combination of physical activity with skill was an accurate description of many writers’ lives, authorcraft was not a commonly used image. Most writers were from the middle classes, and preferred to gloss over the physical aspect of their work. An alternative image for authorship was as a trade, such as publishing, which was, “like all other trades, undertaken with the one object of making money by it.” A trade was purely mercenary and involved no apparent creativity.

Keywords: authorship; profession; manual occupation; physical activity; publishing; trade

Chapter.  16233 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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