The Letters, Life and Works of John Oldmixon: Politics and Professional Authorship in Early Hanoverian England (Studies in British Literature S. No. 9

The Letters, Life and Works of John Oldmixon: Politics and Professional Authorship in Early Hanoverian England (Studies in British Literature S. No. 9

By: Pat Rogers (editor)Hardback

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As the present volume reveals in remarkable detail, however, life was immensely precarious for those who tried to make their living by the pen. Party writers rarely received adequate remuneration for their pains, and Oldmixon, always short of money, was reduced to writing supplicating letters to publishers such as "genial" Jacob Tonson. It is letters such as these which, when taken in conjunction with Oldmixon's own Memoirs of the Press (1742), offer unique details about the life of the professional writer, and reveal the significance of the sub-title of Professor Rogers's book: "Politics and Professional Authorship in Early Hanoverian England." Hardship had forced Oldmixon to turn from writing plays and poetry to writing political pamphlets and essays. Yet despite "submitting to labour at the Press like a Horse in a Mill" (as James Ralph graphically put it) Oldmixon was never financially secure. Forced to try his hand, in turn, at literary biography, literary criticism, and history, he became "the miscellaneous compiler Oldmixon, who could turn his hand to scandalous memoirs, secret history, court tales or whatever the booksellers would buy." In his Introduction, Professor Rogers observes that "The letters as a whole provide valuable insights for the students of authorship in this age," and this collection of letters and documents certainly succeeds in its aim of offering new information about the book trade in early Hanoverian England. By including, in addition, a definitive account of Oldmixon's life, an authoritative checklist of his writings, and valuable appendices detailing his literary skirmishes with Defoe, Pope, and Swift, among others, it also goes some way towards correcting the harsh verdict of posterity on his literary endeavours." - (from the Foreword) Professor J.A. Downie, Goldsmiths' College, University of London This book provides the first detailed treatment of John Oldmixon (c.1673-1742), one of the most prolific and conspicuous English writers at the start of the eighteenth century. It contains a fully annotated text of his letters, written to many notable figures of the age, and dealing with Jacobite affrays, disputes with publishers such as Jacob Tonson and Edmund Curll, and Oldmixon's own clashes with the law. The contents include: firstly, Oldmixon's letters to individuals and government authorities; secondly, a biography of Oldmixon, which includes many new findings; thirdly, a checklist of Oldmixon's abundant works, containing over twenty new attributions, and fourthly, appendices provide documentation and analysis of matters concerning Oldmixon, including his quarrels with Pope, Defoe and Swift. An introduction sets out the nature of the letters and their interest to historians. There is a family tree, a bibliography, an index of correspondents and a general index. The book is based on extensive study in primary sources, and uses over 200 unpublished manuscripts from a wide range of archives. Written almost into oblivion by Pope and Johnson, Oldmixon now emerges as a figure of rich historical interest and an archetypal figure in the evolution of Augustan professional writing.

About Author

Pat Rogers, DeBartolo Professor in the Liberal Arts at the University of South Florida, holds degrees of MA, PhD, and LittD from the University of Cambridge, and DLitt from the University of Bristol. Among his many books on eighteenth literature and history are Grub Street, The Augustan Vision, The Samuel Johnson Encyclopedia and The Text of Great Britain. Recent publications include The Alexander Pope Encyclopedia (2004) and The Symbolic Design of Windsor-Forest (2004). Pat Rogers, an associate editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, is completing a life of Edmund Curll, co-written with Paul Baines. Also in progress is Pride and Prejudice for the Cambridge Edition of Jane Austen.


Acknowledgements i; Abbreviations iii; Foreword v; Introduction 1; Life 13; Letters by Oldmixon 27; Letters from the Duke of Chandos 88; Petitions, Memoranda, and Other Documents 91; Index of Correspondents 95; A Checklist of Oldmixon's Published Works 101; Appendix 1 Oldmixon and the Clarendon Controversy 115; Appendix 2 Defoe and Oldmixon 123; Appendix 3 Pope and Oldmixon 133; Appendix 4 Dedications 139; Appendix 5 Swift vs. Oldmixon 143; Appendix 6 Oldmixon and the Trustees for Road Repairs 145; A Note on Oldmixon's American Contacts 147; Family Tree 149; Bibliography 151; General Index 153

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773462649
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 167
  • ID: 9780773462649
  • ISBN10: 0773462643

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