Robert Dodsley (1704-64), poet, playwright, prose writer and publisher, is one of the twenty-first century’s most unduly neglected, eighteenth-century, English, literary figures. He has considerable claims to be regarded as the person who did more to oversee and change literary taste in mid-eighteenth-century England than any other as well as to establish changes in the literary market place. He first made his mark on the literary scene as a poet, lionised in aristocratic circles for his unusual social position, for an author, as a footman. His first collection of poems,

A Muse in Livery

, published in January 1732, exploited this role and led on to his ballad opera,

The Footman

(modelled on Gay’s

The Beggar’s Opera

) performed in March of the same year. This invigorated his…

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Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Robert Dodsley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2005 [, accessed 19 June 2024.]

1282 Robert Dodsley 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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