The Life and Errors of John Dunton, Citizen of London: With the Lives and Characters of More Than a Thousand Contemporary Divines and Other Persons of Literary Eminence: Volume 1

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This two-volume work, originally published in 1705 and now reissued in John Nichols' edition of 1818, was one of the earliest examples of autobiographical writing in English. John Dunton (1659-1732), a highly eccentric bookseller and publisher, was also responsible for one of the first periodicals in London, the Athenian Gazette, which invited its readers to submit questions on any topic, to be answered by the Athenian Society, a group of learned men (in fact, Dunton himself and some cronies). However, he was not a practical businessman, and the death of his wife and his own illness led to poverty, and to hack-work for others. The Life and Errors was followed by pamphlets attacking those whom he blamed for his misfortunes. The work gives a fascinating picture of authors and the book trade in Restoration London. Volume 1 contains Dunton's autobiography, preceded by a short biography by Nichols.