Mclaverty, James 1947-

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McLAVERTY, James 1947-


Born November 8, 1947, in Derby, England; son of James McLaverty and Joan Smith. Education: Pembroke College, Oxford, B.A., M.A. (English literature). Hobbies and other interests: Music.


Home—231 Church Plantation, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5AX, England. Office—English Department, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Author. Keele University, Keele, England, professor of English literature, 1972—.


Johnson Club, Johnson Society, Bibliographic Society.


Pope's Printer, John Wright: A Preliminary Study, Oxford Bibliographical Society (Oxford, England), 1976.

(Editor and revisionist) Pope and the Early Eighteenth-Century Book Trade, David F. Foxon/Clarendon Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor) J. D. Fleeman, A Bibliography of the Works of Samuel Johnson, Treating His Published Works from the Beginnings to 1984, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 2000.

Pope, Print, and Meaning, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Contributor of numerous scholarly articles to journals, including Studies in Bibliography, Library, Shakespeare Survey, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Philology, and Journal of the History of Ideas.


Pope, Print, and Property, a follow-up to the boo on Pope; textual adviser and editor of poetry for The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift; editing Swift's poems in that edition.


James McLaverty is a professor of English literature at Keele University in Great Britain and has as his chief interest the eighteenth-century book trade. On the Keele University Web site he wrote that he is "particularly interested in the ways in which the details of a book (illustration, layout, capitals, and italics, for example) can be used to express the author's meaning, and in the financial arrangements between authors and booksellers."

In 1991 McLaverty undertook a project his teacher, David Foxon, could not complete due to ill health. The book was Pope and the Early Eighteenth-Century Book Trade. This "lavish volume," wrote D. L. Patey for Choice, "is the fruit of years of painstaking study." The study covers the details of the book trade in Alexander Pope's time, sometimes exploring Pope's habits of editorializing his texts, such as removing some of the capitalization and italicization that were in use at the time. Researchers of Pope's works, such as McLaverty and Foxon, try to unravel these habits, displaying, especially in this work, that Pope had different ways of punctuating his texts, depending on what kind of audience his manuscripts were meant for. Patey suggested that McLaverty and Foxon's detailed work might not be appreciated by a mainstream audience, but for "18th-centuryists," the book is a must.

Pope is well known not just for his poetry but also for how he made a living from his creative endeavors. There were not many poets in his time who had managed to do so. This story of his "social and economic history," wrote Pat Rogers for Times Literary Supplement, "has been told many times, but never in quite the same detail or from quite the same perspective as found in Mclaverty/Foxon's book." Rogers also commented, "McLaverty has performed the main editorial tasks with discretion and self-effacing care. The entire book makes for absorbing, if also demanding, study."

The next book McLaverty was involved with was the work of his friend, the late J. D. Fleeman. McLaverty finished the text after Fleeman died, so that it might be published. The title of this volume is A Bibliography of the Works of Samuel Johnson, Treating His Published Works from the Beginnings to 1984, which Robert DeMaria, Jr., writing in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, referred to as a title that "can only begin to suggest the richness and importance of its contents." This volume not only lists all of Johnson's publications, but also provides a record of his life as a writer, "including the continuation of that life in the press for the 200 years following his death in 1784." The reviewer praised McLaverty's "labors" in bringing this work to fruition. One of the interesting facts about the text that DeMaria noted was how Johnson's career can be traced through "his presence in the Gentleman's Magazine. " In 1735 only two short poems are printed, but three years later the magazine carries twenty-two of Johnson's works. DeMaria also praised the McLaverty/Fleeman book for making Johnson "more intelligible than he was before," and he states that he doubts there will be another work on Johnson that will "ever achieve more." Writing forReview of English Studies, Allen Reddick credited the "expert" and "heroic hand of Professor James McLaverty" for his careful work and for his modesty for remaining "behind the curtain" of this book.

In 2001 McLaverty wrote his own book, Pope, Print, and Meaning, which, according to John Mullan in the Times Literary Supplement, demonstrates "how all Pope's means of publication shaped the meanings of his work for his contemporaries." McLaverty points out contradictions in Pope's life, such as in the poem "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot," in which Pope discusses the pain of being a poet and yet "presided painstakingly over the publication of his poetry." Thus much of his discomfort was, McLaverty concludes, self-imposed. Otherwise, why publish at all if it were so painful? Pope claimed that he wanted to be a private man, but McLaverty points out that the public that Pope often mentions as disdainful was not only his audience but also his source of income. So he could not afford not to publish. Another question that arises in the study of Pope's works is the idea of audience. For whom did Pope write? He wrote different versions of his poems depending on whom he thought might read his works. He wrote in one style for collectors; in another style for the general public. Mullan suggested that McLaverty leaves that question to be answered by literary critics "as well as the historian of publishing." D. L. Patey in Choice found McLaverty's "many small, extremely perceptive remarks" so informative that any serious student of Pope's "will want to consult" this work.



Choice, February, 1992, D. L. Patey, review of Pope and the Early Eighteenth-Century Book Trade, p. 893; June, 2002, D. L. Patey, review of Pope, Print, and Meaning, p. 1771.

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, January, 2002, Robert DeMaria, Jr., review of A Bibliography of the Works of Samuel Johnson, Treating His Published Works from the Beginnings to 1984, pp. 142-145.

Review of English Studies, November, 2001, Allen Reddick, review of A Bibliography of the Works of Samuel Johnson, pp. 588-590.

Times Literary Supplement, April 26, 1991, Pat Rogers, "The Business of Poetry," pp. 5-6; May 24, 2002, John Mullan, review of Pope, Print, and Meaning, p. 25.


Keele University Web site, (January 7, 2003), "Jim Mclaverty."

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