These passages speak about some of the tensions between the general market "Man of Letters" of the 18th century and the rising professional class of authors created by the industrial revolution of the 19th. The movement known as Romanticism might be seen, at least in part, as an atavistic attempt within the industrialization of letters to step back from an increasingly mass-produced culture and to create new meanings from stale, habitual ways of seeing and interpreting the surrounding reality. The Romantics lionized the author as a cultural contributor (in William's sense), but with the proviso that culture stood apart from and in opposition to technological materialism. Yet, even as Romanticism tried to shield the image of the author from the industrial revolution, the revolution was quietly creating its own indigenous image of the author, whose role was well integrated with mechanization: the professional author. Professions came to the fore to address the manifold problems brought on by urban industrialization; a new specialist class was needed to pose the problems in a public forum and to communicate solutions. Unlike the
Romantic author, whose tool was language and the imagination, the rising professional class of writers took as tools of the trade the specialized knowledge required of the increasingly scientific and technologybased occupations. Professions and the writing they sponsored promised to surpass "lay" thinking in the pursuit of solutions toward societal problems. Professionals attributed their comparative advantage to their group identity and to the training protocols and practices furnished by the group. By contrast, authors on the open market during industrialization had no group or professional credentials to speak of. They were on their own and they were achieving more and more independence from the culture at the expense of a cultural identity. Dillard (1989) described the highs and lows of this freedom in stark terms:
The symbolic rift between an older authorial and a newer professional culture is a theme that has played itself out in many contexts since the industrial revolution. It played out in 1850s London-the decade that Turner (1953, pp. 100-101) called the best in history for the budding writer to enter journalism-when the bohemians of Grubb Street debated whether to abandon their "art" for a career on Fleet Street (Cross, 1985); it played out among the American progressive writers who often turned to muckraking when their fiction did not sell (Schudson, 1978; Wilson, 1985); it played out among young aspiring American and European writers in the 1920s who debated whether to matriculate to the university or to seek their "education" in the cafes of Paris, where they hoped to mingle with the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, and Macleish; and, finally, it continues to be played out in modern day American departments of English, which debate whether their mission is compromised when they "train" student writers for the world of work.