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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

Chapter 9 - The Eighteenth Century

from Part I - Historical Perspectives


We shall next declare the occasion and the cause which moved our poet to this particular work. He lived in those days, when (after Providence had permitted the invention of printing as a scourge for the sins of the learned) paper also became so cheap, and printers so numerous, that a deluge of authors covered the land: […] At the same time, the licence of the press was such, that it grew dangerous to refuse them either [applause or money]; for they would forthwith publish slanders unpunished, the authors being anonymous, and skulking under the wings of publishers. (Alexander Pope, “Martinus Scriblerus of the Poem,” The Dunciad, 1728)