The Construction of Authorship

Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature

The Construction of Authorship

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 472 Illustrations: Published: January 1994

Cultural Studies, Law > Legal Theory, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

What is an author? What is a text? At a time when the definition of "text" is expanding and the technology whereby texts are produced and disseminated is changing at an explosive rate, the ways "authorship" is defined and rights conferred upon authors must also be reconsidered. This volume argues that contemporary copyright law, rooted as it is in a nineteenth-century Romantic understanding of the author as a solitary creative genius, may be inapposite to the realities of cultural production. Drawing together distinguished scholars from literature, law, and the social sciences, the volume explores the social and cultural construction of authorship as a step toward redefining notions of authorship and copyright for today's world.
These essays, illustrating cultural studies in action, are aggressively interdisciplinary and wide-ranging in topic and approach. Questions of collective and collaborative authorship in both contemporary and early modern contexts are addressed. Other topics include moral theory and authorship; copyright and the balance between competing interests of authors and the public; problems of international copyright; musical sampling and its impact on "fair use" doctrine; cinematic authorship; quotation and libel; alternative views of authorship as exemplified by nineteenth-century women's clubs and by the Renaissance commonplace book; authorship in relation to broadcast media and to the teaching of writing; and the material dimension of authorship as demonstrated by Milton's publishing contract.

Contributors. Rosemary J. Coombe, Margreta de Grazia, Marvin D'Lugo, John Feather, N. N. Feltes, Ann Ruggles Gere, Peter Jaszi, Gerhard Joseph, Peter Lindenbaum, Andrea A. Lunsford and Lisa Ede, Jeffrey A. Masten, Thomas Pfau, Monroe E. Price and Malla Pollack, Mark Rose, Marlon B. Ross, David Sanjek, Thomas Streeter, Jim Swan, Max W. Thomas, Martha Woodmansee, Alfred C. Yen


“Invaluable in its scrutiny of property rights, definitions of plagarism and piracy, perjury and other issues of legal quotation.” — , Forum for Modern Language Studies

"This important collection of essays begins to develop a coherent history of copyright and intellectual property doctrine and the place of both in organizing and policing cultural production. This volume should be read by everyone in cultural studies interested either in the history of authorship or in the ways electronic production is changing how we think about the processes of artistic creation." — Janice Radway, Duke University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Martha Woodmansee is Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University and Director of the Society for Critical Exchange.

Peter Jaszi is Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, The American University.

Table of Contents Back to Top


On the Author Effect: Recovering Collectivity / Martha Woodmansee

On the Author Effect: Contemporary Copyright and Collective Creativity / Peter Jaszi

Touching Words: Helen Keller, Plagiarism, Authorship / Jim Swan

Author/izing the Celebrity: Publicity Rights, Postmodern Politics, and Unauthorized Genders / Rosemary J. Coombe

The Pragmatics of Genre: Moral Theory and Lyric Authorship in Hegel and Wordsworth / Thomas Pfau

The Interdisciplinary Future of Copyright Theory / Alfred C. Yen

Milton's Contract / Peter Lindenbaum

From Rights in Copies to Copyright: The Recognition of Authors' Rights in English Law and Practice in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries / John Feather

The Author in Court: Pope v. Curll (1741) / Mark Rose

Authority and Authenticity: Scribbling Authors and the Genius of Print in Eighteenth-Century England / Marlon B. Ross

Charles Dickens, International Copyright, and the Discretionary Silence of Martin Chuzzlewit / Gerhard Joseph

International Copyright: Structuring "the Condition of Modernity" in British Publishing / N. N. Feltes

Sanctioning Voice: Quotation Marks, the Abolition of Torture, and the Fifth Amendment / Margreta de Grazia

Broadcast Copyright and the Bureaucratization of Property / Thomas Streeter

Authorship and the Concept of National Cinema in Spain / Marvin D'Lugo

"Don't Have to DJ No More": Sampling and the "Autonomous" Creator / David Sanjek

Beaumont and/or Fletcher: Collaboration and the interpretation of Renaissance Drama / Jeffrey A. Masten

Common Properties of Pleasure: Texts in Nineteenth Century Women's Clubs / Anne Ruggles Gere

Reading and Writing the Renaissance Commonplace Book: A Question of Authorship? / Max W. Thomas

Collaborative Authorship and the Teaching of Writing / Andrea A. Lunsford and Lisa Ede

The Author in Copyright: Notes for the Literary Critic / Monroe E. Price and Malla Pollack

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1412-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1382-3