Thomas Keymer

Thomas Keymer’s A Very Short Introduction to Jane Austen comes out next year.

Invidious Trumpet: Find the Printer

Thomas Keymer, 9 September 2021

Tomodern eyes, The Memorial of the Church of England, Humbly Offer’d to the Consideration of All True Lovers of Our Church and Constitution might look like a benign, beard-and-sandals kind of title. It wasn’t. In 1705, a memorial was a petition and there was nothing humble about this one. In 56 snarling pages, it denounced dissenters from the established Church, excoriated...

John Keats​ went walking in the Lake District in June 1818. It was the first decent summer since the eruption of an Indonesian volcano three years before had tipped postwar Europe into a crisis of failed harvests, mass hunger and widespread social unrest. In Britain, Lord Liverpool’s government had suspended Habeas Corpus; Luddite organisers, revolutionary Spenceans and radical...

The Turk’s Head​ isn’t the kind of name you’d choose for a pub these days, though there’s still one in Wapping, and another in Twickenham. The famous Turk’s Head was in Gerrard Street in Soho, a precinct first laid out under Charles II, popular with authors and artists from the start (Dryden moved to Gerrard Street in 1687 while still poet laureate), and by the...

Bring some Madeira: Thomas Love Peacock

Thomas Keymer, 8 February 2018

Marilyn Butler​, whose Peacock Displayed was published in 1979, wasn’t the first to connect Peacock’s name with the showy wit of his satires. It started with Shelley, his friend and patron, who joked in 1820 about ‘the Pavonian Psyche’ (pavo: peacock), as though Peacock himself had the kind of name that he specialised in giving to his characters. In the seven novels...

I now, I then: Life-Writing

Thomas Keymer, 17 August 2017

You could​ say that in literature you don’t really have a genre until you have a name for it – and the word ‘autobiography’, it turns out, hasn’t been around for very long. In 1786, the labouring-class poet Ann Yearsley (‘Lactilla’, from her day job selling milk) published a memoir in which she berated her patron, the evangelical abolitionist Hannah...

You can’t prove I meant X

Clare Bucknell, 16 April 2020

When poets or printers weren’t clever enough with their ambiguities and disguises, the law moved in. Until the second quarter of the 19th century, those convicted of seditious libel – or obscene or...

Read More

Samuel Richardson’s account of a servant girl’s defence of her virtue against the advances of her lascivious master (‘Mr B’), given in her own letters, made what we now...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences