Abstract

This essay offers an account of a nowadays very rare late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century pocket diary-cum-almanac for a multifarious audience deriving largely from the middling ranks of British society, The Royal Engagement Pocket Atlas. A contribution to the history of the ephemeral book, it sketches the variety of illustrated pocket books in the 1790s and examines both the marketing strategies employed by its publisher and the importance of book illustration for the formation of a canon of literary texts at the end of the eighteenth century. Considering some of Thomas Stothard's vignette illustrations for the publication, the essay investigates the ideologically representative meanings of these illustrative paratexts and relates them to proliferating cultures of consumerism. Focusing on the genesis, fashioning, and long 'life' of the Pocket Atlas, it will explore some of the interpretive narratives of the printed designs and discuss the cultural phenomenon of the almanac for the middle and upper classes as an ephemeral and desirable production of the exploding field of eighteenth-century print culture.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1744-8581
Print ISSN
0024-2160
Pages
pp. 3-22
Launched on MUSE
2011-04-08
Open Access
No
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