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The Rise of the Literary Agent

In: Logos
Author: John Thompson
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LOGOS 94 LOGOS 21/3-4 © 2010 LOGOS ‘This is the age of the middleman,’ wrote the Brit- ish publisher William Heinemann in 1893. ‘He is generally a parasite. He always fl ourishes. I have been forced to give him some little attention lately in my particular business. In it he calls himself the literary agent.’ Heinemann’s scathing indictment was penned shortly after this new actor had made his unexpected appearance in the publishing fi eld, carving out a role for himself as a cultural inter- mediary whose principal job was to arrange deals between the buyers and sellers of literary

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