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This book examines how the concept of the poet as a male professional emerged during the Restoration and 18th century. Analyzing works by writers from Rochester to Johnson, Linda Zionkowski argues that the opportunities for publication created by the growth of a commercial market in texts profoundly challenged aristocratic conceptions of authorship and altered the status of professional poets on the hierarchies of class and gender. The book proposes that during this period, discourse about the poet’s social role both revealed and produced a crucial shift in configurations of masculinity: the belief that commodifying their mental labor undermined writers’ cultural authority gave way to a celebration of the market’s function as the proving ground for both literary merit and bourgeois manhood.
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