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The Enlightenment & the BookScottish Authors & Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America$
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Richard B. Sher

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226752525

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226752549.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Rewards of Authorship

The Rewards of Authorship

(p.195) 3 The Rewards of Authorship
The Enlightenment & the Book
University of Chicago Press

In an age when patronage often defined power, James Boswell's attribution to Samuel Johnson of the view that booksellers were “the patrons of literature” was significant. It was an assertion that publishers constituted the driving force behind serious writing—an assertion borne out in this particular case by the evidence of Johnson's own career as a writer who regularly responded to commissions from booksellers. This passage occurs at the end of a long section on the making of the Dictionary, and must be understood within that context. Early in the section Boswell reproduces Johnson's caustic letter to Lord Chesterfield, in which Johnson spurns the earl's pretense of patronage on the eve of publication by pointing out that it was when he was struggling to complete his work that he was badly in need of support.

Keywords:   patronage, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, booksellers, Dictionary, Lord Chesterfield, publishers

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