Patent Inventions - Intellectual Property and the Victorian Novel

Hardcover | April 4, 2005

byClare PettittAs told byClaire Pettitt

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Although much has been written about the history of copyright and authorship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, very little attention has been given to the impact of the development of other kinds of intellectual property on the ways in which writers viewed their work in this period.This book is the first to suggest that the fierce debates over patent law and the discussion of invention and inventors in popular texts during the nineteenth century informed the parallel debate over the professional status of authors. The book examines the shared rhetoric surrounding the creationof the 'inventor' and the 'author' in the debate of the 1830s, and the challenge of the emerging technologies of mass production to traditional ideas of art and industry is addressed in a chapter on authorship at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Subsequent chapters show how novelists Charles Dickens,Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot participated in debates over the value and ownership of labour in the 1850s, such as patent reform and the controversy over married women's property. The book shows the ways in which these were reflected in their novels. It also suggests that the publication ofthose novels, and the celebrity of their authors, had a substantial effect on the subsequent direction of these debates. The final chapter shows that Thomas Hardy's later fiction reflects an important shift in thinking about creativity and ownership towards the end of the century. Patent Inventionsargues that Victorian writers used the novel not just to reflect, but also to challenge received notions of intellectual ownership and responsibility. It ends by suggesting that detailed study of the debate over intellectual property in the nineteenth century leads to a better understanding of thecomplex negotiations over the bounds of selfhood and social responsibility in the period.

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From the Publisher

Although much has been written about the history of copyright and authorship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, very little attention has been given to the impact of the development of other kinds of intellectual property on the ways in which writers viewed their work in this period.This book is the first to suggest that the f...

Clare Pettitt worked in journalism and theatre in London for six years before completing a D.Phil at Oxford University, and then taking up a lectureship in Victorian literature at Leeds University in 1997. She is currently Director of Studies and Lecturer in English at Newnham College, Cambridge. She has published several articles abo...

other books by Clare Pettitt

Format:HardcoverDimensions:356 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.91 inPublished:April 4, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019925320X

ISBN - 13:9780199253203

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Table of Contents

1: Introductory. Heroes and Hero-Worship: Inventors and Writers from 1818 to 19002. Property in Labour: Inventors and Writers in the 1830s and 1840s3. The Art of Inventing and the Inventor as Artist: Intellectual Property at the Great Exhibtion4. 'The spirit of craft and money-making': The Indignities of Literature in the 1850s5. Women, Risk, and Intellectual Property: Elizabeth Gaskell and George Elliot in the 1860s6. 'The singing of the wire': Hardy, International Copyright, and the Ether

Editorial Reviews

`Historians of copyright will find much food for thought in Pettit's lucid expositions of the novelists' fictionalized relationships with their work and anxieties about its ownership.'Economic History Review