The life and works of Jeremiah Joyce

Issitt, John (2000). The life and works of Jeremiah Joyce. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis traces the life and works of Jeremiah Joyce (1763-1816). Chapter 1 introduces Joyce and presents the methodology applied in the production of the thesis. Chapter 2 traces his upbringing as a Presbyterian dissenter and his experiences as a glazier's apprentice in Georgian London. It also gives an account of the influence of Arian and Unitarian teachers on Joyce and the education he received at Hackney College. Chapter 3 records Joyce's activities in radical metropolitan societies and his involvement in the 1794 Treason Trials. Chapter 4 explores Joyce's early writings produced whilst in the employment of the Earl of Stanhope. Chapter 5 gives an account of Joyce's life as a jobbing author in the first sixteen years of the nineteenth century.

Chapter 6 is the largest chapter and traces Joyce's works. The chapter is organised around Joyce's publishers and explores his many titles, some of which were published under pseudonyms. It probes the nature of Joyce's work as a writer, compiler and editor, and the different strategies he used to present scientific knowledge. It also traces the compromises between the theological, pedagogical and commercial concerns which dictated the form and content of the works.

The thesis is concerned to resurrect Joyce as an interesting figure whose importance as a political activist and science educationalist has hitherto been overlooked. His life and work is cast against the influences of the French Revolution on British society. In the early 1 790s, Joyce was engaged in political education and the distribution of radical literature. From the later 1790s, his energies were focused on science education. The thesis traces this transition as revealed in Joyce's personal history and literary output.

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