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Writers, Readers, and ReputationsLiterary Life in Britain 1870-1918$
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Philip Waller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.001.0001

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Titles and Laurels

Titles and Laurels

(p.448) 12 Titles and Laurels
Writers, Readers, and Reputations

Philip Waller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One measure of writers' rising status is by their receiving honours, titles, and prizes. This period saw the first writer to be raised to the peerage solely for services to literature — Tennyson in 1883 — yet in this instance and in many others, where writers accepted or refused knighthoods, politics mattered too. Case studies involving J. M. Barrie, Arnold Bennett, Walter Besant, Thomas Carlyle, Conan Doyle, Galsworthy, Kipling, Lewis Morris, Quiller-Couch, Walter Raleigh, Leslie Stephen, Rabindranath Tagore, H. G. Wells, and W. B. Yeats, are examined. Comparisons are made with artists and actors, and publishers and newspaper proprietors and editors, upon whom titles were also conferred in this period. The efforts of writers to organise themselves and to exert influence, as by the Society of Authors or by a British equivalent of the Academie Francaise, are analysed. Finally, the chapter looks at the rival candidatures for the most prestigious domestic literary award, the Poet Laureateship, held in this period by Tennyson, Alfred Austin, and Robert Bridges; likewise international honours, such as the Nobel Prize for Literature, which was won by Kipling but which saw nominated at different times Swinburne, Herbert Spencer, and Thomas Hardy.

Keywords:   honours, society of Authors, acadmie Francaise, poet Laureateship, nobel Prize

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