Prospectuses, Specimens and “National Works”: Hookham Frere, Byron and Book-Trade Satire
22nd March, IN-PERSON
6.30pm-8.00pm, Art Workers Guild
Ticket Price: £5.00
Wine reception 6.30 pm
Lecture at 7.00 pm
Dinner from 8.00 pm
John Hookham Frere’s pseudonymous Prospectus and Specimen of an Intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft (1817) is recognised as a model for Byron’s use of comic ottava rima and the figure of a chatty, self-reflexive narrator in Beppo and Don Juan. But the poem’s significance for Byron extends beyond that. Frere’s wide-ranging satire of the British book trade, including marketing devices such as prospectuses, specimens, and grandiose-sounding labels like ‘national work’, has multiple echoes in Byron’s poetry. David Duff will show how Frere draws on his experience as a co-founder of The Anti-Jacobin and the Quarterly Review, and how his techniques mirror other contemporary experiments with mock-prospectuses and bibliographic satire. Byron takes this subject matter and satiric method to a new level of imaginative accomplishment, creating a comic poetry that is genuinely ‘national’, and international, in scope. Byron’s personal connections with Frere through the John Murray circle provide a further context for my exploration of this under-researched but formative literary relationship.
Art Workers Guild
6 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AT
There will be a dinner for those who wish to join, details will be confirmed closer to the time.