The Bagman’s Bioscope

The word ‘bioscope’ next appears (see post on February 6th) in the title of William Bayley’s 1825 publication The Bagman’s Bioscope, an enertaining collection of anecdotes, stories, homilies and histories, described in the book’s subtitle as presenting Various Views of Man and Manners, Being the Points in Conversation in Commercial Room; Collected for the Use of Johnny Newcomes on the Road. A bagman was a travelling salesman. It was therefore presented as a handy collection of yarns for someone on the road to use. The use of the word ‘bioscope’ is not elaborated upon, so by this date it was presumably already understood to have a general sense of something that offered a view of life.

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