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Reading Rochester$
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Edward Burns

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780853230380

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317644

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date: 18 January 2019

Obscene Libel and the Language of ‘The Imperfect Enjoyment’

Obscene Libel and the Language of ‘The Imperfect Enjoyment’

(p.42) Obscene Libel and the Language of ‘The Imperfect Enjoyment’
Reading Rochester

Jim McGhee

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the early censorship of the printed texts of Rochester. A manuscript collection of approximately 60 poems associated with Rochester and his court circle had fallen into the hands of some enterprising London printers. Within a month or two of Rochester's demise, the poems appeared in print as Poems on Several Occasions By the Right Honourable, the E. of R. The text comes with typographical errors and presented without time-consuming details as prefatory matter or running titles. The printers went on to preserve their anonymity and appear to have had little to fear from the law as far as prosecution for obscenity was concerned. A new collection of Rochester's poems emerged in 1707, the first issue in the version that was to become the dominant collection of Rochester's poetry throughout the eighteenth century.

Keywords:   Rochester, censorship, obscenity, poetry, London printers, eighteenth century, poems

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