John Hunt (publisher)

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John Hunt (1775 – 7 September 1848) was an English printer, publisher, and occasional political writer. He was an elder brother of the poet and essayist Leigh Hunt and a brother of the critic Robert Hunt.

Hunt was born in Philadelphia,[1] the fourth of eight children (five of whom survived to adulthood) born to Isaac Hunt and Mary Hunt.[2] He was taken to London in or about 1777.[3] On 1 February 1791 he was apprenticed to the printer Henry Reynell.[4] Known as a staunch, outspoken, and uncompromising radical, Hunt was more than once imprisoned for his publication of items that were considered libelous, even seditious.

John Hunt was responsible for various periodicals over the years, all of them politically left-leaning. His first publishing venture, in 1805 (after a failed beginning the year before), was the eight-page weekly newspaper The News.[5] This was followed by The Reflector, the Yellow Dwarf, The Liberal, and, the most famous and influential, The Examiner, edited by his brother Leigh Hunt.

He was also known for publishing radical or controversial works no one else would touch. Among the miscellany, including one book by Jeremy Bentham, there were others more obviously incendiary or scandalous, such as some of Byron's later works, including The Vision of Judgment, Hazlitt's Liber Amoris, and writings of both Percy and Mary Shelley.

Although Hunt was closely attached to, and a frequent collaborator with, his younger brother Leigh, there was a period of many years, beginning in 1825, during which the brothers were not on speaking terms.[6] They were finally reconciled in 1840.[7] Hunt and his wife Sally[8] had at least two sons, one of whom, Henry Leigh Hunt, eventually took over many publishing and editing responsibilities from his father.

John Hunt spent his last decades retired to Upper Chaddon near Taunton, Somerset. After many years in poor health, he died in Brompton, Middlesex, on 7 September 1848.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Roe 2005, pp. 12, 16.
  2. ^ Roe 2005, pp. xviii, xix.
  3. ^ Roe 2005, p. 18.
  4. ^ Roe 2005, p. 27.
  5. ^ Holden 2005, p. 26.
  6. ^ An estrangement arising from bitter feelings caused by what, as they later agreed, was a misunderstanding over financial matters. See Roe 2005, pp. 354–55.
  7. ^ Wu 2008, p. 365.
  8. ^ Whom he had married in 1797. Roe 2005, p. 46.

References[edit]

  • Holden, Anthony. The Wit in the Dungeon: The Remarkable Life of Leigh Hunt—Poet, Revolutionary, and the Last of the Romantics. New York and Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2005.
  • Roe, Nicholas. Fiery Heart: The First Life of Leigh Hunt. London: Pimlico, 2005.
  • Webb, Timothy. "Hunt, John (1775–1848)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. (Online edition, 2008; accessed 5 September 2013.)
  • Wu, Duncan. William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.