Author: Ruth Knezevich (University of Otago)
Authorship in eighteenth-century Aberdeen often functioned differently than in London and Edinburgh. The Aberdeen model of authorship relied heavily on an intricate network of booksellers, patrons, readers, and critics involved in preparing a text to be consumed by the reading public; yet the prevailing narrative of the author as rising to “inspired genius” disallows for this network. The authorial career of poet Alexander Ross and his friend/mentorship with philosopher James Beattie offers a useful case study of the Aberdeen model—especially when approached through a lens of book history to consider the material practices surrounding the production of a literary work. Both Ross’s career in particular and eighteenth-century Aberdeen offer ways to historicize the concept of the “inspired genius” emerging at the end of the eighteenth century. Therefore, addressing the authorial careers of Ross and Beattie opens up new avenues for discussion, both of these poets in particular and of discourses of authorial practices in general.
Keywords: authorship, James Beattie, Alexander Ross, eighteenth-century Scottish literature, book history, Ruth Knezevich
How to Cite: Knezevich, R. (2016) “Publishing at "the request of friends": Alexander Ross and James Beattie’s Authorial Networks in Eighteenth-Century Aberdeen”, Authorship. 5(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/aj.v5i1.2352