The First Appropriation of Editorial Style: Philip Luckombe’s A Concise History of the Origin and Progress of Printing

  • Jocelyn Hargrave
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)


This chapter examines the first appropriation, more or less verbatim, of Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (1683) and John Smith’s The Printer’s Grammar (1755) by Philip Luckombe, whose manual A Concise History of the Origin and Progress of Printing (1770) appeared 15 years after Smith’s own. The objectives of this chapter are twofold. The first is to determine the impact of Luckombe’s textual appropriation of Moxon’s and Smith’s manuals on the evolution of editorial style through a comparative textual analysis of these three manuals. The second is to reflect on the implications of such appropriation in early modern print culture in terms of plagiarism and copyright. Luckombe demonstrated unquestionably a determined vision—he sought to provide instruction to the print trade through a modern Britanno-centric lens. At times Luckombe succeeded; however, his personal contribution to editorial style was virtually non-existent and his adaptation of Smith’s text, which accounted for the majority of his editorial instruction, appeared inconsistent and indifferent to Smith’s original intent.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jocelyn Hargrave
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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