John Hotten (1832-1873) was working for a bookseller, and was, by all descriptions, a rather promising young man. Until, one day, Macaulay appeared in the shop, beat him with a quarto volume for not handing over change fast enough, which apparently ruined poor John’s mind forever, and he was turned from a path of righteousness towards a path of filth. Or some such.
Later, Hotten went to America for a while, but then opened a bookshop in London in 1856.
He founded an eventually quite successful publishing house, wrote several books himself (including a dictionary of slang and a number of biographies) as well as publishing, among more respectable titles, a large number of pornographic texts and plates, his “flower garden.”
Possible causes of death included: too much porn, brain fever, and, my personal favourite, “a surfeit of pork chops.”