The first John Murray and the late eighteenth-century London book trade : with a checklist of his publications

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The first John Murray and the late eighteenth-century London book trade : with a checklist of his publications

by William Zachs

(A British Academy postdoctoral fellowship monograph)

Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, c1998

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A remarkably complete record of both John Murray's business career (1768-1793) and his private life is preserved in the archive of the London publishing house which still bears his name. Dr Zachs fully exploits this material to chart Murray's success in the competitive book trade - success achieved by his imaginative use of the many new practices which were revolutionizing the industry. The accounts of Murray's negotiations with authors and other traders, and the details of how he produced and marketed his publications, lay bare the fundamental economics of the book trade. Simultaneously, Dr Zachs tells the story of a remarkable life. Murray was a complicated man, honest and hypocritical, self-serving and generous, a constant schemer capable of considerable spontaneity, a strait-laced libertine. Married twice (to sisters), the father of an illegitimate son for whom he had lifelong affection, he was anything but conventional. Both fascinating narrative and work of scholarship, this volume offers many telling insights into the cultural history of its period. It also includes a comprehensive checklist of Murray's titles, with detailed information about their publication.

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