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Literary mediality in the long eighteenth century: a textual, paratextual, and print-cultural study of James Thomson's 'The Seasons', 1730-1820

Book - Dissertation

James ThomsonU+2019s descriptive long poem 'The Seasons', originally published in 1730, had a profound impact on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and print culture in Britain and in Europe more generally. This dissertation aims to produce a textual, paratextual, and print-cultural study of ThomsonU+2019s poem, from 1730 to 1820. It adopts an interdisciplinary methodological framework, drawing on methodologies of genre theory, print culture studies, book history, and translation studies, to generate a novel understanding of the text by examining the ways in which the poem was mediated both textually and materially throughout the period. Engaging with the latest developments in print culture and book-historical research, it examines the paratextual apparatuses and material packaging of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century editions of The Seasons to make sense of their interpretative and cultural ramifications. It identifies the economic impulses and editorialising strategies informing developments in the make-up of editions of the poem to offer insights into the history of the production and marketing of books in Britain and beyond.
Publication year:2014