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Authorship, Collaboration, and Literary Property

ENGL 550.301
instructor(s):
R 9-12:00

This course will focus primarily on texts published between two foundational legal cases in Britain: Donaldson v. Beckett (1774), which limited the term of copyright and broke up the reprint monopoly of London booksellers; and the revised Copyright Act (1842), which still serves as the foundation of copyright law today. Our aim will be to reexamine eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literary culture through the series of legal and economic changes that were brought to bear upon it, and in doing so we'll take up several recent material accounts of literary production, authorship, and ownership by writers like Fredric Jameson, Martha Woodmansee, Michel Foucault, Pierre Macheray, and Mark Rose. Seminar participants should therefore be prepared to read and discuss a fairly wide array of authors and" author-effects," from "W. Wordsworth," "S. T. Coleridge" and "Currer Bell" (Charlotte Bronte) to Hester Piozzi's Johnson, John Clare's Byron, "Laura Maria" (Mary Robinson), "Rowley" (Thomas Chatterton), "The Author of The Monk" (Matthew Lewis), "The Author of Waverley" (Walter Scott), and the team of writers who produced Blackwell's Edinburgh Magazine. We'll then end the course by reading about the array of intellectual property issues raised by recent developments in technology. There will be a number of responses, a presentation, and an essay.