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2019 | 28/1 | 35-48

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Joseph Browne: Literature and Politics in Early Eighteenth Century England


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The system of propaganda employed by the competing political groups in early eight- eenth century England embraced the popular literary circles in order to gain their support, a process which was reflected in the prolific and politically inclined literary output of the period. One of the lesser known members of these circles was the writer and physi- cian Joseph Browne. Little information concerning Browne is available, something which perhaps can be attributed to the relatively scant attention paid to his person. One critic, Howard Weinbrot, in his study on Samuel Johnson, acknowledged Browne as the author of the poem “The Gothick Hero” (so far only accredited to Browne) and associated his political views with support for the Hanoverian dynasty that ascended the British throne in 1714. However, the works Browne actually authored, as well as those attributed to him, contradict such a statement. In fact, his literary output, journalism, literary and political circles as well as his posthumous opinion reflected in nineteenth century works and com- ments on his literary activity prove Browne’s anti-Harleyite, anti-Whig and therefore anti- Hanoverian views. This article attempts to draw a sketch of Joseph Browne, confirming the constancy of his political views, and contributes to the discussion on the authorship of a number of key texts hitherto only attributed to him.


  • Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities


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