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Items tagged with 'authorship'

Resource: The Poetical Register’s Living Poets of 1801: A Checklist

The list of living poets below is taken from the Poetical Register, and Repository of Fugitive Poetry for 1801, pp. 487–91; the original can be viewed here. The version below is reformatted for the web and annotated … Continue reading

Article: Authors in an Industrial Economy

The House of John Murray was well known as one of the principal British publishers in the field of travel and exploratory literature throughout much of the nineteenth century. The titles that were published under the proprietorship of John Murray II (1778–1843) and John Murray III (1808–92) read like a who’s who of nineteenth-century travel writing. The John Murray Archive offers one of the richest archival sources for publishing history, providing unequalled insight into the way that a prominent London publisher dealt with its authors in the age of colonial expansion. This article examines the processes through which Murray’s works came to make their way from manuscript to publication over several decades. It will conclude with a discussion of authorial self-presentation, examining ways in which some of Murray’s travel writers fashioned themselves, through various discursive strategies, in accordance with their position within this new literary economy. Continue reading

Article: Copyright, Authorship, and the Professional Writer

Our modern conception of authorship founded on the Romantic ideal of individualism finds purchase and root in the figure of William Wordsworth. Using Wordsworth as a case study, Jacqueline Rhodes draws attention to ‘the critical abnormality’ of Wordsworth’s ‘Preface’ to his two-volume Poems by William Wordsworth (1815). Rhodes explains how ‘the culmination of the century-long development of the radical textual individual: the professional writer’ sees a change in the cultural meaning, and legal definition, of authorship in the eighteenth century, with the move towards author-centric rather than publisher-centric copyright laws. Rhodes demonstrates how authorship and copyright came to be applicable and how ideas of individual creativity, original genius and the solitary author in the context of the European Enlightenment sees plagiarism demonised and individuality valorised. Discussing the emergence of professional writers, and their payment as concurrently respectable, Rhodes charts how authorship is constructed and how the move towards a 42-year copyright period (1842) was based not only on ‘[t]he increased industrialisation of products in the eighteenth century [that] led to an increased commodification of culture, including textual culture’ but the ‘Romantic idea of ‘inspiration’’ which Rhodes argues contributes directly ‘to the idea of textual ownership’ and ‘text-as-capital and author-as-owner’. Continue reading

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