Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Pirate Wright has been Wrongly Accused

Now, I'm not saying that John Wright wasn't a publishing pirate.  If Frank Kidson and William C. Smith agree that he indulged in piracy, then I'm not going to argue.  But what I am decisively saying, is that the anonymous book in Dundee's Wighton Collection, which Frank Kidson said was Wright's pirated copy of a John Walsh book, actually has nothing to do with Wright at all. It is not a Wright book, period.

What it is, is a compilation of two books, both published by John Walsh in the early 1730s, into one single volume, again published by Walsh.  I've explained more on our Bass Culture project blog.  You can read it here.  In due course, I'll write a more extensive article about it, so I won't go into too much detail right now.  

I feel a bit guilty about poor Mr Wright, though.  He could have indulged in all manner of underhand publications for all I know, but he is totally blameless in this particular instance.  So if you see the ghost of an early 18th century publisher traipsing the streets of London and wringing his hands in a mournful way, can I ask you a favour?  Please stop and tell him I'm sorry that he was falsely accused!

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