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A Very Secret Agent: an examination of James Brand Pinker and his circle of authors

Hamilton, Jennifer; (2018) A Very Secret Agent: an examination of James Brand Pinker and his circle of authors. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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This thesis examines the influence of the London-based literary agent James Brand Pinker, a former magazine editor who established his agency on Arundel Street in 1896. Working with archives in Britain and America, this investigation situates his career among the broader changes which were taking place within literary culture from the 1890s up to 1922: particularly, heightened commercialisation within the publishing industry and the increasing professionalisation of the author. Literary agents emerged in response – and as an antidote – to these changes. While there has been growing interest in J.B. Pinker for some time, there has been little concentrated study. Due to the impressive array of clients Pinker amassed over the course of his 26-year career, this thesis cannot be exhaustive; it is instead a consideration of selected writers with whom he developed sustained, intimate or unusual relationships. The chapters, organised by author, address Arnold Bennett, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford and finally D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce, the latter two considered together. This structure seeks to reveal the different types of relationship Pinker fostered, enacting roles as diverse as business partner, patron, bank manager, friend and even cinematic collaborator. While these authors enjoyed varying degrees of popular and critical success, taken together they testify to Pinker’s particular interest in promoting and developing the careers of struggling, young literary talent. The agency continued for some years after J.B. Pinker’s death, but this study covers the period from 1896 to 1922, from the establishment of the agency until his death. This thesis aims to contribute to the expanding fields of publishing history and network studies, and to the early history of modernism, as well as to our understanding of the authors concerned.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Very Secret Agent: an examination of James Brand Pinker and his circle of authors
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10046645
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