Joseph Cottle and the Romantics: The Life of a Bristol Publisher

Author:

Basil Cottle

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Joseph Cottle of Bristol is best known as the publisher of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. Publisher, editor and author, he was, effectively, the first to publish the work of Wordsworth and Coleridge, Southey and Charles Lamb. He produced an edition of Thomas Chatterton’s poems and wrote (rather second-rate) verse epics of his own. His controversial Recollections of Coleridge were notorious for publicizing the poet’s opium addiction. His life and correspondence included contact with notables of the period, both inside and outside the literary world: Wesley, Hannah More, the ‘milk-maid poet’ Ann Yearsley, Humphry Davy, de Quincey, Byron, Mary Russell Mitford and many others. This biography sheds light both on nineteenth-century Bristol and the literary world of the time, and on the emerging Romantic Movement. It offers fascinating insights into author-publisher relationships and aspects of the relationship between literature and economics, geography, theology, biography, private life, personal prejudices and other elements in the contemporary culture. With its rich sense of locales and relationships and their relevance to writers, Joseph Cottle and the Romantics is of interest not only to scholars of Romantic literature, but also to social historians and those interested in the history of Bristol. Basil Cottle was not related to his namesake. This biography, combining literary-historical and local interest, epitomises his special skills. A Reader in the Department of English at Bristol University, he wrote well-respected books on the history of language and literature, and was an expert on Bristol and its history. He was also noted for the vigour, wit and clarity of his style, as evidenced here in a book as readable and accessible as it is informative. 234 x 156mm approx 356pp, with black and white photographs Paperback ISBN 13: 978-1-904537-80-9

Basil Cottle
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