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Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism

Hardback
, 216 pages

26 b&w illus.

ISBN:
9781421409986
August 2013
Subject:
Literature
$49.95

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Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism

Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism investigates the entwined histories of the advertising industry and the gradual commodification of literature over the course of the Romantic Century (1750–1850). In this engaging and detailed study, Nicholas Mason argues that the seemingly antagonistic arenas of marketing and literature share a common genealogy and, in many instances, even a symbiotic relationship.

Drawing from archival materials such as publishers' account books, merchants' trade cards, and authors' letters, Mason traces the beginnings of many familiar modern advertising methods—including product placement, limited-time offers, and journalistic puffery—to the British book trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Until now, Romantic scholars have not fully recognized advertising’s cultural significance or the importance of this period in the origins of modern advertising. Mason explores Lord Byron’s appropriation of branding, Letitia Elizabeth Landon’s experiments in visual marketing, and late-Romantic debates over advertising's claim to be a new branch of the literary arts. Mason uses the antics of Romantic-era advertising to illustrate the profound implications of commercial modernity, both in economic practices governing the book trade and, more broadly, in the development of the modern idea of literature.

Nicholas Mason is an associate professor of English at Brigham Young University.

"A well-written, thoroughly researched, and impressively argued project. Mason has produced a timely and important addition that will do a great deal to clarify and enrich an already energetic set of debates. This book will become required reading for anyone interested in the rich connections between advertising, cultures of modernity, and Romantic literature."

"A book that has an entire chapter on Lord Byron and 'branding'—who would not be intrigued?... Highly Recommended."

"This book substantially enriches our understanding not just of British Romanticism but also of the history of advertising... The book's thoroughly historical argument works within the sub-fields of print culture and material culture to reveal the intimate connections between consumer culture and literary writing... Mason's work performs a number of valuable services for the study of Romanticism... This book deserves attention."

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