The Age of Authors

Eighteenth-century critics differed about almost everything, but if there was one point on which they almost universally agreed, it was that they were living through an age of extraordinary change. The texts in this collection respond to a series of fundamental questions about the changing nature of the literary field during a tumultuous age: What types of writing mattered in a thriving commercial nation? What kinds of knowledge ought literature to offer, if it was to continue to be relevant? What did it mean to be an author in this busy modern world, and what sorts of social distinction should authors expect to enjoy?

The Age of Authors explores the complexity, sophistication, and creativity with which the eighteenth century literary community (or "republic of letters") responded to the challenges of the time.

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    Acknowledgements and Introduction
    Ed. Paul Keen
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    A Timeline of Major Political and Legal Events
    Ed. Paul Keen
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    A Note on the Texts
    Ed. Paul Keen
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    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) A Tale of a Tub (1704)
    Jonathan Swift
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    Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) Essays upon Several Projects: Or, Effectual Ways for Advancing the Interest of the Nation (1702)
    Daniel Defoe
    9 pages @ $0.10/page
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    Richard Steele (1672-1729) and Joseph Addison (1672-1719) The Spectator (1711-14)
    Richard Steele and Joseph Addison
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    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) Letters (1724)
    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
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    Ephraim Chambers (1680-1740) Cyclopadia: Or, an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1728) Preface
    Ephraim Chambers
    7 pages @ $0.10/page
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    The Grub-Street Journal (1730-37)
    Anonymous
    16 pages @ $0.10/page
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    Henry Fielding (1707-54) The Author’s Farce (1730)
    Henry Fielding
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    Alexander Pope (1688-1744) An Epistle from Mr. Pope, to Dr. Arbuthnot (1735)
    Alexander Pope
    15 pages @ $0.10/page
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    David Hume (1711-76) Essays, Moral and Political (1742) “Of Essay-Writing”
    David Hume
    4 pages @ $0.10/page
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    David Hume (1711-76) Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects (1760) “Of Refinement in the Arts”
    David Hume
    4 pages @ $0.10/page
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    Eliza Haywood (c. 1693-1756) The Female Spectator (1744–46)
    Eliza Haywood
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    Sarah Fielding (1710-68) The Governess (1749)
    Sarah Fielding
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    Samuel Johnson (1709-84) The Rambler (1750–52)
    Samuel Johnson
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    Samuel Johnson (1709-84) The Adventurer (1752–54)
    Samuel Johnson
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    The World. By Adam Fitz-Adam. (1753-56)
    Adam Fitz-Adam
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    The Connoisseur by Mr. Town, Critic and Censor-General (1754-56)
    Anonymous
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    Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74) The Bee. Being Essays on the Most Interesting Subjects (1759)
    Oliver Goldsmith
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    Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74) Citizen of the World; or Letters from a Chinese Philosopher Residing in London to His Friends in the East (1762)
    Oliver Goldsmith
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    James Ralph (d. 1762) The Case of Authors By Profession or Trade, Stated (1758)
    James Ralph
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    Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800) An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear (1769)
    Elizabeth Montagu
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    Hester Chapone (1727-1801) Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (1773)
    Hester Chapone
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    Catherine Macaulay (1731-91) A Modest Plea for the Property of Copy Right (1774)
    Catherine Macaulay
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    Hannah More (1745-1833) Essays on Various Subjects, Principally Designed for Young Ladies (1777)
    Hannah More
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    Vicesimus Knox (1752-1821) Essays, Moral and Literary (1778)
    Vicesimus Knox
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    Vicesimus Knox (1752-1821) Winter Evenings; or, Lucubrations on Life and Letters (1788)
    Vicesimus Knox
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    The Mirror. A Periodical Paper, Published at Edinburgh in the Years 1779 and 1780
    Anonymous
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    The Lounger (1785-86)
    Anonymous
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    Clara Reeve (1729-1807) The Progress of Romance, Through Times, Countries, and Manners (1785)
    Clara Reeve
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    The Microcosm, A Periodical Work, by Gregory Griffin, Of the College of Eton (1786-87)
    Gregory Griffin
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    Isaac D'Israeli (1766-1848) An Essay on the Manners and Genius of the Literary Character (1795)
    Isaac D'Israeli
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    List of Major Figures, Places, and Terms
    Ed. Paul Keen
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    Editions Used & Works Cited and Suggested Further Reading
    Ed. Paul Keen
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