Charlotte Brontë and The Author’s Printing and Publishing Assistant

Upon publishing the Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, Charlotte Brontë equipped herself for dealing with the male realm of the literary marketplace—rather as a woman seeks male protection from being conned by a greasy mechanic—by purchasing The Author’s Printing and Publishing Assistant. Published in 1839, the chief aim of this ‘little Work’ is to ‘afford such a view of the Technical details of Printing and Publishing as shall enable Authors to form their own judgment on all subjects connected with the Publication of their Productions.’ The guide was indeed uncommonly enabling; it was not simply aimed at men but addressed itself more broadly to the gender-neutral ‘Author’. Thus, it provided Charlotte Brontë with guidance that authorised her use of a professional tone when dealing with her then-publishers, Aylott and Jones, and allowed her to dictate the material conditions of her text’s transmission. Continue reading “Charlotte Brontë and The Author’s Printing and Publishing Assistant”