Authors Unformed: Reading "Beauties" in the Eighteenth Century

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    Abstract

    In no small way this lends credence to the scholarly truism that as print culture expanded authors became increasingly visible proprietors of their own corpora, in name at least, even if booksellers retained their copyrights.5 However, the Beauties format has never been limited to canonical, popular, or otherwise salable writers, or even to imaginative works. In their own right Beauties fall into two camps: mono-author selections, such as The Beauties of Homer (1775), and the miscellaneous, such as A General Key to the Writings of the Poets of the Last Age (1723), which displays not only "Beauties and Excellencies," but also "Blunders, Expos'd and RidicuVd" In the second group we find the vestiges of a dominant strand of neoclassical aesthetics: the "beauties and faults" model of literary criticism as an act of objective judgment of taste, as practiced most notably by Joseph Addison and Lord Karnes.\n Circulated in the form of both reprints and loosely pirated versions, this collection reappeared throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a stand-alone volume and as a centerpiece in popular series like "Jones's Diamond Poets."
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)283-309
    Number of pages27
    JournalPhilological Quarterly
    Volume89
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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