This is a pioneering study of the English provincial newspaper and book trades in the eighteenth century. Christine Ferdinand uses the first thoroughgoing study of the Salisbury Journal and its competitors to reveal how country newspapers worked within and influenced the developing information systems of a region. The detailed revelations of a community's social, economic, literary and cultural interests extend well beyond Salisbury to the surrounding
counties and to London. A hitherto hidden commercial infrastructure shows the interdependent relationship between the writers and makers of newspapers, the principal members of the London book trade, and the new
market for the printed word. Behind these news networks was the entrepreneurial spirit of Benjamin Collins, a figure of national importance, who set up Salisbury's first bank, established newspapers in London and the provinces, wrote children's books with John Newbery, and whose publishing interests brought him into contact with the literary and commercial life of London. This fascinating study of the information networks of eighteenth-century provincial life will be of interest to literary
students and biographers as well as historians.
`Christine Ferdinand's study not only presents a reliable synthesis of our present knowledge on the subject but enlarges upon and particularizes that knowledge through a close examination of Benjamin Collins's two primary newspapers ... Ferdinand reconstructs, by a patient and meticulous combing of the pages of the Salisbury Journal, a thorough and credible account of the paper over its fifty-year history under Collins's control ... Ferdinand's study is a
valuable contribution to our knowledge of eighteenth-century newspaper history, while it also affords some interesting insights into contemporary provincial life.'
James E. Tierney, The Library
`Ferdinand... deftly selects from her primary material to remind readers constantly of individual stories - entertaining, tragic, or moral - and so carries her audience easily through her analyses... this analysis of a successful and efficient business is of importance to anyone wishing to understand eighteenth-century England as a consumer society or how London-country relations worked or the commercial and information structures of the country. It takes
us into new realms of newspaper history and its impications.'
David McKitterick, Albion
`makes an important contribution to publishing history'
Times Literary Supplement