Anxious Employment (London: Routledge UP, 2005)


The book's central theme is the struggle of eighteenth-century journalists to attain literary respectability and the strategies by which editors sought to improve the literary and social status of their publications. Early journalists adopted a host of bizarre and flamboyant identities. They wrote as hermits, Jesuits, lay-monks and pilgrims; High German doctors, hyp-doctors, conjurors and mountebanks; dreamers, rhapsodists and projectors; and lovers, devils, fairies, spinsters, harlots and knights-errant. The book examines the ways in which those writers manipulated their personae and self-presentations in order to appeal to and engage a wide audience, arguing that they were able to treat their alter egos with self-deprecatory humour, while still retaining their credibility as moralists and social and political commentators. It examines questions of journalistic integrity, self-presentation, editor/reader relations, political rhetoric and the court of public opinion.

The book has been continuously in print since its first appearance in 2005.