The Achievement of William Creech

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:
The Achievement of William Creech

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter examines the publishing career and reputation of the most prominent bookseller in late eighteenth-century Edinburgh, William Creech (1745–1815), whose name appears in the imprint of more than sixty first editions. It shows how Creech emerged as the protege not only of Alexander Kincaid in Edinburgh but also of William Strahan and Thomas Cadell in London, and how he balanced feelings of loyalty and deference toward his London partners with a strong commitment to publishing Enlightenment books. These findings are then contrasted with the unsympathetic portrayal of Creech's career by commentators associated with a younger rival in the Edinburgh book trade, Archibald Constable, whose views have shaped perceptions of Creech's reputation since the early nineteenth century. Beyond a solid foundation in the classics and other marks of elite education, this combination brought the right social connections and lifelong patterns of bonding that cut across social classes.

Keywords: publishing; Edinburgh; William Creech; Alexander Kincaid; William Strahan; Thomas Cadell; Enlightenment; Archibald Constable; bonding

Chapter.  16138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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