John Payne Collier


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Scholarship and Forgery in the Nineteenth Century, Volumes 1 & 2

Arthur Freeman and Janet Ing Freeman

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John Payne Collier (1789–1883), one of the most controversial figures in the history of literary scholarship, pursued a double career. A prolific and highly influential writer on the drama, poetry, and popular prose of Shakespeare’s age, Collier was at the same time the promulgator of a great body of forgeries and false evidence, seriously affecting the text and biography of Shakespeare and many others. This monumental two-volume work for the first time addresses the whole of Collier’s activity, systematically sorting out his genuine achievements from his impostures.
Arthur and Janet Freeman reassess the scholar-forger’s long life, milieu, and relations with a large circle of associates and rivals while presenting a chronological bibliography of his extensive publications, all fully annotated with regard to their creditability. The authors also survey the broader history of literary forgery in Great Britain and consider why so talented a man not only yielded to its temptations but also persisted in it throughout his life.

Arthur Freeman and Janet Ing Freeman are widely published independent scholars living in London.

“These beautifully produced, slip-cased volumes are the definitive scholarly word on Collier. Essential.”—Choice

"In their definitive account of Collier's life, works, and his forgeries and fabrications, Arthur and Janet Ing Freeman have provided a splendid work of reference."—R.A. Foakes, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America

"The scope of this achievement is as remarkable as it is absorbing."—A.S.G. Edwards, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing

"Based largely on family letters and the diary of Henry Crabb Robinson, this critical biography treats in admirable detail events in the life of John Payne Collier, son of newspaperman John Dyer Collier. . . . Likely to be of lasting scholarly value."—Stanley Stewart, Ben Jonson Journal

"A study that will stand as a major contribution to nineteenth-century literary studies and bibliography."—Nick Groom, Victorian Studies

Winner of the ILAB Prize for Bibliography given by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
ISBN: 9780300096613
Publication Date: July 11, 2004
1532 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
31 b/w illus.
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