Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture
On March 20, 1760, a fire broke out in the Cornhill district of Boston, destroying nearly 350 buildings in its wake. One of the ruined shops belonged to the eminent Boston bookseller Daniel Henchman, who had published some of Jonathan Edwards's most important works, including The Life of Brainerd in 1749. Less than one year after the Great Fire of 1760, Henchman died. Edwards's chief printer Samuel Kneeland and literary agent and editor, Thomas Foxcroft, had also passed away by the end of the decade, marking the end of an era. Throughout Edwards's lifetime, and in the years after his death in 1758, most of the first editions of his books had been published in Boston. But with the deaths of Henchman, Kneeland, and Foxcroft, the publications of Edwards's writings shifted to Britain, where a new crop of booksellers, printers, and editors took on the task of issuing posthumous editions and reprints of his books. In Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture, religious historian Jonathan Yeager tells the story of how Edwards's works were published, including the people who were involved in their publication and their motivations.
This book explores what the printing, publishing, and editing of Jonathan Edwards's publications can tell us about religious print culture in the eighteenth century, how the way that his books were put together shaped society's understanding of him as an author, and how details such as the formats, costs, quality of paper, length, bindings, and the number of reprints and abridgements of his works affected their reception.