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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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Our Native Classics, Complete and Uniform

Our Native Classics, Complete and Uniform

(p.7) Chapter 1. Our Native Classics, Complete and Uniform
The Most Disreputable Trade

Thomas F. Bonnell

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the development of a cultural maturity as expressed in the multi-volume collections of classics. Beginning in 1765, publications developed across a range of genres from such iconic series as Everyman's Library, Oxford World's Classics, The Modern Library, and The Library of America. The multi-volume poetry collections embodied several late eighteenth century phenomena, including a new awareness of nationalism, cultural construction of an aesthetic realm, and an explosion of consumerism. The convergence of these factors led to a large-scale production and distribution of book classics. A different picture emerges relative to poetry collections following 1765, when two or more series at once often competed for purchasers The publishers of poetry collections dealt with pressures to mimic other products, to keep expanding the basic project, and generally to steal away market share, open up new market niches, and enlarge the market altogether.

Keywords:   multi-volume collections, Everyman's Library, Oxford World's Classics, The Modern Library, The Library of America, 1765

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