English 550: Authorship, Collaboration, and Literary Property


Michael Gamer

Class meets: Thursdays 9:00-12:00

Office: 203 Bennett Hall

Office Hours: Tuesday 4:30-5:00 and Thursday 12:00-2:00, 4:30-5:00

Course Homepage: www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Teaching/550/2000syllabus550.html

Course Listserv Address: gamer550-301@english.upenn.edu



Clare, John. Selected Poems of John Clare, ed. Raymond Williams (Methuen).

Coleridge and Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads (Routledge).

Rose, Mark. Authors and Owners:  The Invention of Copyright (Harvard)

Scott, Walter, Waverley; or, 'Tis Sixty Years Since (Oxford)

Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto (Oxford)

Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi, eds. The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (Duke; not required).


Bulkpack: Available at Wharton Reprographics, in the basement of the Wharton School.


Course Description: 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 early 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 productions, authorship, and ownership. Seminar participants should therefore be prepared to read and discuss a wide array of print media and "author-effects," from "W. Wordsworth" and "William Marshall, Gent." (Horace Walpole) to John Clare's Byron, "Laura Maria" (Mary Robinson), "The Author of Waverley" (Walter Scott), and the team of writers who produced Blackwell's Edinburgh Magazine. There will be several responses, a presentation, and an essay. 


Course Calendar:


Week #1 (Sept 7): On Original Authorship: Read Edward Young, Conjectures on Original Composition in a Letter to the Author of Sir Charles Grandison (1759). Samuel Foote, The Author (1762). William Wordsworth, Essay, Supplementary to the Preface (1815); Edward W. Said, "On Originality," in The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), 126-39; Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi, "Introduction" to The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature.


September 14: NO CLASS


Week #2 (date to be scheduled): Pseudonyms and Forgeries: Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, contemporary reception, and excerpts from correspondence on the Jacobite uprising, on Ossian, and on Otranto. Read Marlon Ross, "Authority and Authenticity: Scribbling Authors and the Genius of Print in Eighteenth-Century England."


Week #3 (Sept 21): Circulating Libraries. Read Paul Kaufman, Libraries and Their Users, 188-228; Jan Fergus, "Eighteenth-Century Readers in Provincial England: The Customers of Samuel Clay's Circulating Library and Bookshop in Warwick, 1770-2," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 78 (1984), 155-213; James Raven, "The Noble Brothers and Popular Publishing, The Library 12 (1990): 293-345; and Edward Jacobs, "Anonymous Signatures:  Circulating Libraries, Conventionality, and the Production of Gothic Romances," ELH 62 (1995), 603-29. Presentation: Juliet Shields.


Week #4 (Sept 28): Newsprint and Poetic Genius:  Read Judith Pascoe, "'That fluttering, tinselled crew': Women Poets and Della Cruscanism"; Lucyle Werkmeister, The London Daily Press 1772-1792 (1963; selections); the extracts from the writings of Robert Merry ("Della Crusca"), Hannah Cowley ("Anna Matilda"), Mary Robinson ("Laura Maria"), and William Gifford. Presentation: Lia Fantuzzo.


Week #5 (Oct 5): Poetry and Collaboration. Read Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads (1798); William Wordsworth, "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" (1800); James Butler and Karen Green, "Introduction" to the Cornell edition of Lyrical Ballads (1992); Alison Hickey, "Coleridge, Southey, 'and Co.': Collaboration and Authority," Studies in Romanticism 37 (1998), 305-49.


Week #6: (Oct 12): Poetry and Improvisation: Read the chapter from Germaine de Stael, Corinne; or Italy; Lord Byron, Beppo (1818); Peter Manning, "The Nameless Broken Dandy and the Structure of Authorship." See also the article from The Novel's Seductions in the coursepack. Presentation: Dahlia Porter.


Week #7 (Oct 19): Anonymity: Read first half of Walter Scott, Waverley; or, 'Tis Sixty Years Since. Read Fiona Robertson, Legitimate Histories (selections in coursepack). Presentation: Jane Degenhardt.


Week #8 (Oct 26): Finish Waverley. Read also Walter Scott, selections from Letters (on Waverley, laureateship and Doom). Presentation: Justine Murison.


Week #9 (Nov 2): Pantomime, Spectacle, and Corporate Authorship: Read Matthew Lewis, Timour of Tartar and Harlequin and Humpo. Read David Mayer III, Harlequin in His Element: The English Pantomime, 1806-1836 (1969, selections); Frederick Burwick, chapter 6 of Illusion and the Drama (1991); and Jeff Cox, "Spots of Time: The Structure of the Dramatic Evening in the Theatre of Romanticism (1999). Presentation: Marissa Greenberg.


Week #10 (Nov 9): Authorship, Periodicals, and Libel: Read Peter T. Murphy, "Impersonation and Authorship in Romantic Britain," ELH 59 (1992), 625-49; Marilyn Butler, "Culture's Medium: The Role of the Review"; Percy Shelley to Clara Mary Jane Clairmont, 22 June 1821 (Letters 10:279); Neil Fraistat, "Illegitimate Shelley: Radical Piracy and the Textual Edition as Cultural Performance," PMLA 109 (1994), 409-23; "'A Scourge for the Laureate': William Benbow vs. Robert Southey," Wordsworth Circle 19 (1988), 45-9. Presentation: Sara Honig.


Week #11 (Nov. 16): Pornography: Read Lynn Hunt, "Introduction" to The Invention of Pornography; David Foxon, Libertine Literature in England:  1660-1745 (selections); Walter Kendrick, The Secret Museum (selections); the article by Randolph Trumbach; and Michel Foucault, "What Is an Author?"


Week #12 (Nov 30): From Authorship to Copyright: Read Mark Rose, Authors and Owners; Susan Eilenberg, "Mortal Pages: Wordsworth and the Reform of Copyright," ELH 56 (1989): 351-74; Martha Woodmansee, "Genius and Copyright"; and "Notice" in Mrs. Thomson's Widows and Widowers: A Romance of Real Life (1842).


Week #13 (Dec 7): Copyright Revisited: Read The Selected Poems of John Clare and the recent newspaper articles in the coursepack. Abstracts due.


Week #14 (Dec 14): End of semester Conference.





Weekly Responses:  This course requires you to be on e-mail, since part of the weekly preparation for our meetings will be for you to write a weekly response that you will send to the e-mail address gamer550-301@dept.english.upenn.edu.  These responses will be due on Tuesday, by noon, beginning on September 19 (week three).  They constitute the single most important part of the course, since they will be the basis from which we begin our discussions, and will play a key role in my sense of your involvement and performance in the course.  You will also find, if you look on your e-mail before you compose your response, that many times the responses of your colleagues will prove to be as much a catalyst to your own writing as the reading itself.  Before class on Thursday, then, you will be required to read through the responses, and to print them up and bring them in. (I will usually thread the responses so that you can print them from the web). So, for weeks 3-11 (until Thanksgiving), this will be our weekly schedule: responses due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, reading and printing of responses done by the time we meet as a class on Thursday.


The Short Presentation:  Once during the semester, I am going to ask you to do a ten-minute presentation on a writer, publisher, or periodical connected with that week's reading. You should focus on introducing to the seminar something pertinent to our reading for that day but beyond the reach of the syllabus--ideally the topic should be interesting and a potentially fruitful arena for research. It would be nice, therefore, if you provided in the form of handouts basic biographical and bibliographical information as well as a bibliography of criticism. During the week that you present, you are not required to do a response on the class listserver, though you're welcome to contribute to that discussion if you would like to do so.  I promise to stop anyone who goes over ten minutes.


The Final Paper:  Rather than having you write an article-length essay of 25 or more pages, I am instead assigning a conference paper of no more than 2500 words, which you will give at our final meeting, which will take place in the form of a proper conference at the end of the semester. Your paper titles, and a 1-2 page abstract, are due on December 7.  I will attempt, as far as I am able, to organize them into panels for our conference.  If you would like to organize your own panels of three papers, I absolutely welcome and encourage you to do so.  As conference papers are usually abbreviated or skeletal versions of an article, you should expect this final assignment to require significant research and your utmost care in the formulating of its argument.  For your abstract and for your paper, I plan to make practical suggestions regarding the various problems of professionalization ("How does one write an abstract?"), as well as responding to your formulations and arguments with an eye toward how to revise your paper into an article.