Séminaire MAPS avec David Duff

December 6, 5:00 pm

Bibliothèque de l'UFR d'études anglophones, Paris-Sorbonne.

"The Prospectus War of the 1790s: Literature, Politics and Advertising"


Bibliothèque de l'UFR d'études anglophones, Paris-Sorbonne.

Prospectuses, a form of printed advertisement widely used in the
British book trade of the 18th and early 19th centuries, played an
important in the French Revolution controversy, announcing forthcoming
publications and often making strong political statements in their own
right. This paper will examine this largely forgotten genre, whose art
of encapsulation, enticement and persuasion took on new significance in
a publishing context where commercial rivalry and ideological conflict
merged. Focussing on newspaper and journal prospectuses, the paper will
analyse examples from across the political spectrum, including
Coleridge’s ‘flaming prospectus’ to The Watchman, Canning’s hugely
influential Prospectus to The Anti-Jacobin and other examples by Sampson
Perry, William Playfair and others. The paper will show how
prospectus-writers exploited the communicative resources of the genre,
adapting its promissory rhetoric and hyperbolic language for political
effect. It will also explain how prospectuses interacted with other
forms of publication, mirroring the techniques of political pamphlets
and contributing to the polemical intertextuality that was a striking
feature of British writing on the French Revolution.