On March 20, 1760, a fire broke out in the Cornhill district of
Boston, destroying nearly 350 buildings in its wake. One of the
ruined shops belonged to the eminent Boston bookseller Daniel
Henchman, who had published some of Jonathan Edwards's most
important works, including The Life of Brainerd in 1749. Less than
one year after the Great Fire of 1760, Henchman died. Edwards's
chief printer Samuel Kneeland and literary agent and editor, Thomas
Foxcroft, had also passed away by the end of the decade, marking
the end of an era. Throughout Edwards's lifetime, and in the years
after his death in 1758, most of the first editions of his books
had been published in Boston. But with the deaths of Henchman,
Kneeland, and Foxcroft, the publications of Edwards's writings
shifted to Britain, where a new crop of booksellers, printers, and
editors took on the task of issuing posthumous editions and
reprints of his books. In Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print
Culture, religious historian Jonathan Yeager tells the story of how
Edwards's works were published, including the people who were
involved in their publication and their motivations. This book
explores what the printing, publishing, and editing of Jonathan
Edwards's publications can tell us about religious print culture in
the eighteenth century, how the way that his books were put
together shaped society's understanding of him as an author, and
how details such as the formats, costs, quality of paper, length,
bindings, and the number of reprints and abridgements of his works
affected their reception.
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