John Camden Hotten

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John Camden Hotten (12 September 1832, Clerkenwell - 14 June 1873, Hampstead) was an English bibliophile, writer and publisher. He was a pioneer publisher of spanking fiction in the Victorian era.

Hotten was born in Clerkenwell, London to a family of Cornish origins. He spent the period 1848-1856 in America. On his return he opened a small bookshop in London at 151a Piccadilly, and founded the publishing firm later known as Chatto & Windus.


Illustration from The Romance of Chastisement.

Hotten was a compiler of an English language dictionary of slang: first published in 1859 under the title A dictionary of modern slang, cant, and vulgar words, which was reprinted numerous times. He was also a collector, author and clandestine publisher of pornographic/flagellant works such as:

Hotten also published poetry such as The Rodiad (1871). He was an associate of the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, publishing his Poems and Ballads after Moxon and Co. rejected them. However, Cecil Lang claims in his preface to Swinburne's Letters that Hotten had effectively blackmailed Swinburne into providing him with pornographic verse.

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