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ENG305 121126.docx

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Jennifer Harris

 Patronage system  Rich elite tell poor to write for him, have to obey  Payment could be nothing but social recognition  Total dependency of writers on aristocracy  Samuel Johnson (writer of first dictionary) vs Chesterfield patron… Johnson expect to be paid, when not, write calculating letter declaring he’s the author of the work  Pivotal bridge between Augustan (Pope, Swift) to romantics th  Figure whose personality is inseparable from writing and style (new in 18 century)  Pope first famous writer, Johnson first person people wanted to be like and relate to  Authoritative but not above people  Lord Chesterfield one of most important people in nation, famous to be well-spoken, most correct use of English, so Johnson’s publishers convince him to dedicate it to him  Not much money  Johnson considers it slavery, 7 years writing dictionary… miserable, sick, depressed, not much money  Finish dictionary, write Rambler, acquire name for himself but wasted health  Declare Chesterfield will not have any part of dictionary  Chesterfield assume everyone would be thankful to nobles but not Johnson  Pivotal letter, not personal but well-calculated rhetorical performance, tells Chesterfield that he isn’t needed anymore  Begins by playing dumb, thank you… then start saying don’t know how to thank because wasn’t really like patron, no experience in thanking patrons because he didn’t do anything for him  Naïve  Patronage at this time not what it used to be, by this time patrons not doing anything, just ceremonial formality (Vs swift and gay in patronage houses)  Like the boy in Emperor’s New Clothes  then goes radical, says “Is a patron not, my lord…” like staring at his eyes, are you really telling me you played a role in my dictionary?  Talking to him as an equal, scandalous idea  Calling him out as human being  Says because he is known now, Chesterfield not needed now  Subtle crushing impact, turning tables on Chesterfield  Carving out new role for writers, writer one with power  Seized imagination of authors and thinking about authorship, thinking of author as outside of
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