Silencing Joseph Johnson and the Analytical Review

By Oliver, Susan | Wordsworth Circle, Spring-Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Silencing Joseph Johnson and the Analytical Review


Oliver, Susan, Wordsworth Circle


Joseph Johnson's Analytical Review, from May, 1788, to December, 1798, offered a radical contribution to journalism that for a decade confounded the British government's attempts to restrict the freedom of the liberal press. The Analytical ceased publication shortly before Johnson went to jail for six months in February, 1799, for selling a "seditious" pamphlet in his bookshop. However, I argue that the unusual nature of the Analytical's editorial policy was the underlying reason for the Crown prosecution that silenced the proprietor and his journal.

In the context of my enquiry, "radical contribution" refers to editorial strategy more than to the content of the reviews in the Analytical Johnson and Thomas Christie, the cofounder, encouraged a multiple-editor approach that gave a legitimate public voice to the work of leading anti-government activists including Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Joseph Priestley, Thomas Paine, Joel Barlow and Gilbert Wakefield. I will look at the consequences of the initiatives taken by Johnson, as proprietor, and Christie in their rejection of a standard, autocratic editorial model of critical journalism. Johnson and Christie's alternative democratic form of editorship, in which a group of selected reviewers commissioned and collated articles, raises questions that are material to enquiries into why the British establishment took moves in 1798 to crush the Analytical Review. The British establishment's perception that a threat to civil order was embodied in the Analytical (considered later in this essay, in an account of Johnson's trial) owed as much to fear of a successful structural model of printed "democracy" as it did to the content of individual critical essays. In other words, the processes leading to the publication of contributions by writers including Wollstonectaft, Godwin, Priestley, Beddoes, Barlow, Fuseli, Cowper, Barbauld and Hays (amongst others) who participated in a journalistic Republic of Letters, comprised an overall language of print culture that made manifest a deeper veined form of "sedition" than where a single editor defined the character of a periodical. (2) Such a war of position was worrying to the British government led by William Pitt because it underpinned what Marilyn Butler calls in Burke, Paine, Godwin, and the Revolution Controversy "the innovative and Utopian enthusiasm" of liberal writers and the free press (5). In the anti-jacobin and regular press, a hierarchy of proprietors, publishers and editors replicated manifestations of power and control in the institutions of State including the monarchy, the government (and legislature), the Anglican Church and the judiciary. It follows that the suppression of liberal representation within the mainstream press contributed to a culture of the manipulation of public opinion, which is what Johnson and Christie--at least in theory--sought to counteract in favour of encouraging intellectual independence and enquiry amongst readers. Johnson, Christie, and the Analytical's reviewers' participation in a procosmopolitan movement that undermined national boundaries of legal and political authority is an important aspect to their promotion of active critical reading; because their practics endorsed the idea that governments and monarchies are answerable to the public within a wider, world view of politics and society. The texts reviewed in the Analytical, its notices of foreign intelligence and imported publications, and Johnson's own transatlantic correspondence with Joseph Priestley and other business associates in the United States, show that that cosmopolitanism derived jointly from European and North American sources already known to have radical connections.

The Analytical was a collaborative project, with Johnson perceived as leader. Even the anti-Jacobin establishment's desire to identify a leader where there did not appear to one reveals conservative anxiety over the success of a non-conformist venture. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Silencing Joseph Johnson and the Analytical Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.