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The Most Disreputable TradePublishing the Classics of English Poetry 1765-1810$
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Thomas F. Bonnell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532209.001.0001

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John Bell's Little Trifling Edition Revisited

John Bell's Little Trifling Edition Revisited

Chapter:
(p.97) 4. John Bell's Little Trifling Edition Revisited
Source:
The Most Disreputable Trade
Author(s):

Thomas F. Bonnell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532209.003.0005

This chapter discusses the contributions of John Bell to publishing and examines some practices prevalent at the time such as piracy and reprinting. Bell invoked the admired edition of the Latin classics by Elzevir. His literature-for-the-masses volume, Poets of Great Britain Complete from Chaucer to Churchill, was published from 1777 to 1783. Each volume cost just six shillings, at a time when similar volumes usually cost multiple times that. The drawings and illustrations with which Bell adorned his publications influenced later publishers, as did his abandonment of the long s. Most notable, perhaps, was Bell's joint-stock organization of his publishing company, which defied the trade — forty dominant publishing companies — in order to establish a monopoly on the best publications. The rest of the chapter examines the progress of piracy and the trade war in the reprinting industry.

Keywords:   John Bell, Poets of Great Britain, piracy, reprint industry

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