Grub Street  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Until the early 19th century, Grub Street was a street close to London's impoverished Moorfields district that ran from Fore Street east of St Giles-without-Cripplegate north to Chiswell Street. Famous for its concentration of impoverished 'hack writers', aspiring poets, and low-end publishers and booksellers, Grub Street existed on the margins of London's journalistic and literary scene. It was pierced along its length with narrow entrances to alleys and courts, many of which retained the names of early signboards. Its bohemian society was set amidst the impoverished neighbourhood's low-rent flophouses, brothels, and coffeehouses.

According to Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, the term was "originally the name of a street... much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems, whence any mean production is called grubstreet." Johnson himself had lived and worked on Grub Street early in his career. The contemporary image of Grub Street was popularised by Alexander Pope in his Dunciad.

The street name no longer exists, but Grub Street has since become a pejorative term for impoverished hack writers and writings of low literary value.

History

Until the early 19th century, Grub Street was the name of a street in London's impoverished Moorfields district. In the 1700s and 1800s, the street was famous for its concentration of mediocre, impoverished 'hack writers', aspiring poets, and low-end publishers and booksellers, who existed on the margins of the journalistic and literary scene. Grub Street's bohemian, impoverished literary scene was set amidst the poor neighbourhood's low-rent flophouses, brothels, and coffeehouses.

According to Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, the term was "originally the name of a street...much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems, whence any mean production is called grubstreet."

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Grub Street" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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