Forging the London—edinburgh Publishing Axis

in The Enlightenment & the Book

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226752525
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226752549 | DOI:
Forging the London—edinburgh Publishing Axis

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Readers and consumers of books, in the eighteenth century as well as today, are often cognizant of where and by whom a book has been published, and this information may affect not only whether they buy or read it, but also how they categorize it in their own minds. Publishers' catalogues and printed advertisements (and today also web sites) add to this effect by providing a link between books and their makers. This chapter examines the relationship between “publisher function” and “author function,” taking into account the effect of time on perceptions of the printed word. As time passes, publishers often drop out of the consciousness of readers, leaving authors alone as the sole standard for ordering texts. Consider how the makers of Enlightenment books in Scotland were represented in the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB), the classic record of Victorian perceptions of personal merit and distinction in British history. The DNB contains entries for every one of the 115 Scottish authors, but only sixteen of the many individuals who produced the books have separate entries, and some of them were included for reasons other than their contributions to publishing.

Keywords: publisher function; author function; Scotland; Enlightenment; books; DNB; personal merit; distinction; publishing

Chapter.  26109 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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