GRUB STREET: The Origins of The British Press

Book number: 93863 Product format: Hardback Author: RUTH HERMAN

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Bibliophile price £6.00
Published price £20

'This is the day on which many eminent authors will probably publish their last words' - said Joseph Addison, one of the originators of The Spectator, following the 1712 Stamp Act which introduced a tax on paper used for newspapers and journals. Love it or loathe it, in these days of fake news, the British press is still a remarkable institution. Accused of wielding power without responsibility, it has often been a channel for the dissemination of information that those at the top of the pyramid of power would rather stay hidden. The press has also delighted in scraping the bottom of the barrel of public interest, deliberately manipulating facts and revelling in gossip and scandal to sell more newspapers. Ruth Herman takes readers back to the early days and unsuccessful attempts of the government to strangle it at birth and looks at how an army of journalists found their feet and honed their craft. It considers the personalities who wrote fearlessly, and the role played by some of English literature's most famous names like Jonathan Swift and Dr Johnson. There are wayward printers and booksellers who played a big part in the development of the press, and they are given their own share of the limelight. The book looks at the variety of content in early periodicals, writing targeted at women, downright astonishing advertising, wayward text and wayward printers. Along with stories of sedition and insider trading, the book looks at two sides of the press - one that serves the greater good with noble intent, and the other preoccupied with profit, scandal, and circulation. A hugely entertaining read, 16 pages of photos.

Additional product information

ISBN 9781445688848

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