Blackwood, William (1776–1834)

Edinburgh-based publisher whose firm, William Blackwood and Sons, became the leading Scottish publisher of the 1820s and 1830s. Blackwood’s career started in the antiquarian bookselling business, but gradually moved into publishing. His appointment, in 1811, as Edinburgh agent for John Murray gave him excellent links to the English book trade and English authors. In 1817 he founded a new Tory periodical – the Edinburgh Monthly Magazine. Within six months this was refounded as Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, which rapidly emerged as a major counterpart to the Edinburgh Review. Blackwood, travelling with Murray in the latter’s coach, visited Southey in Keswick in September 1818. Although his (and Murray’s) attempts to enlist Southey as a contributor to the new magazine failed, Blackwood and Southey did correspond occasionally. The publisher was more successful with Caroline Bowles. She contributed to Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine and published her other writings with Blackwood’s firm. This connection ensured that, after Southey’s death, Bowles chose Blackwood as the publisher of two works co-authored with her late husband: The Life of the Rev. Andrew Bell (1844; also co-authored with Cuthbert Southey) and Robin Hood: A Fragment; with Other Fragments and Poems (1847).

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