The Grub-Street Journal

The Grub-Street Journal

The Grub-Street Journal

The Grub-Street Journal

Excerpt

The present study began merely as an attempt to discover the nature of Pope's connection with the Grub-street Journal, and incidentally to identify its editors, especially the mysterious ----- Russel. A study of the Journal and other contemporary sources of information, however, has thrown very little light on the first and main point. It is impossible to say whether the idea of the Journal originated with Pope, or precisely what he had to do with it after it got under way. That it began as little more than an organ of Pope is clear enough; that fact had indeed been recognized by many writers. It can be said, however, that very soon the paper abandoned its original scheme of being simply a continuation of The Dunciad, and went its own ways, quite prosperously and quite independently of Pope, a fact which seems to have been ignored or slighted in previous discussion of it.

The second point, the matter of editors, Russel in particular, turned out to be much more important than it had seemed. It has been possible to add considerably to Mr. Lounsbury's account ofRussel in The First Editors of Shakespeare, and to come to the conclusion that he was much more of a force in the Journal than had appeared before. In fact, it does not seem extravagant to say that during most of its life Russel was the Grub-street Journal.

As this became clear, and as further exploration revealed the fact that, despite the importance of the Pope material, the paper was very interesting quite apart from any concern of Pope's, it seemed worth while to try to give an account of it for its own sake; to make clear what was in it. The most obvious method, that of reprinting it, was impractical. It is extremely bulky, and much of it is not worth reprinting. The selection of interesting and significant items was also for several reasons unworkable and unsatisfactory. The best scheme finally seemed to be the description and discussion of the material, in chapter form. The Journal spent most of its time in combat; hence the matter of organization consisted largely of tracing out its campaigns and grouping them according to their nature. Thus there took form, after an introductory chapter describing the paper and . . .

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