On the eighth day God said "let there be boilerplate"

O Glorious Miss Snark
Answering my question will really help nobody in any way because it isn't a particularly useful question, but I've been curious about this for a while. Please share your wisdom. When and why did the profession of Literary Agent come about? I understand how invaluable you are in the current market, but I get the feeling people in "olden days" didn't have agents. So what happened?

thanks for any illumination on the subject, and please give my love and this juicy steak to KY.

KY is pretty bummed out that "this juicy steak" is made from electrons and not a steer. I'm not sure if he's sulking or plotting in the corner and but he appears to be mapquesting your house.

And no, Shakespeare and Milton didn't have agents. The profession is pretty new.

Here's a link that gives a nice overview of things got started if you're interested.


McKoala said...

Owie. Henry Holt didn't think much of agents.

ithaca said...

John Hawkins Associates (www.jhalit.com) has an account of its precursor, the Paul Reynolds agency, which begins as follows:

In 1893 Paul Reynolds was told by his parents that he could not hang around Harvard any longer but had to get down to New York and earn a living. He did that first by helping friends such as William James from Harvard place their work for publication, then by accepting a few other writers who heard about his services. In short order he established the first literary agency in this country.

A P Watt claims to be the longest-established literary agency in the world (founded 1875), so the Brits got there first.