For the British book trade, one of the major by-products of the eighteenth-century advent of a commodity culture was an upswing in the intensity of its advertising efforts. Chief among the new marketing practices was the use of puffery, or insider reviewing, to create hype for new publications. So naturalized had puffery become by the early nineteenth century that many authors saw nothing ethically remiss in arranging for themselves or friends to review their own works. In fact, at some point in his or her career, nearly every major author of the Romantic period bene�ted from reviews penned by friends and literary allies. By the late 1820s, puffery had become so ubiquitous and shameless that several leading writers and critics, including Thomas Carlyle and Thomas Babington Macaulay, blamed corrupt reviewing practices for killing the nation's literary tradition. The recent slump of the literary book trade, it was widely argued, was less the product of the �nancial "Crash of 1826" than of the vitiation of society's tastes by a corrupt, self-interested reviewing establishment.
- 2005 by The Regents of the University of California