Abstract: Gentlemanly Business: The Influences of the Gentlemen's Club on Literary Life in Victorian London

Marrisa Joseph


London literary life for those who had power and influence over the production and consumption of art was a world of evening dinners and the entertaining of society elite at some of London's most exclusive gentlemen's clubs. Although from the outset, it appears that literary professionals spent their days socializing, in reality authors, publishers, and agents were immersed in establishing relationships with those they deemed to be the people of influence, as they could provide them with jobs or a route to market. Research on the Victorian publishing industry has highlighted that the institution of the gentlemen's club facilitated social networking and furthermore influenced the social construction of the industry. Although the gentlemen's club as an institution has been examined in terms of gender studies and in studies on social culture, the club has not been widely explored as a metaphorical facilitator for literary businesses in the nineteenth century. This paper is concerned with examining how the cultural institution of the gentlemen's club influenced business practices of those who worked within the Victorian publishing industry in London, through an analysis of primary source qualitative documents.