The advent of statutory copyright in eighteenth-century England raised questions about ensuring access to the materials that writers need to produce new books. The public domain did not spring into being as the obverse of the rights afforded by the Act of Anne (1710), nor was it created by nineteenth-century doctrines such as fair use; rather, it developed out of practices and assumptions predating the Act of Anne and others that emerged in the statute’s wake. To explore these ideas, this chapter considers booksellers’ and authors’ conceptions of copyright as property, the metaphors proposed by advocates of anti-piracy measures, arguments about copyright’s duration and its basis in the common law, and analogies between copyright and patent law during this period. Finally, the chapter discusses the booksellers’ strategic litigation in the equity courts, where pleading could rely on imaginative premises that, in some respects, rival those of contemporaneous novelists.
Jayne Elizabeth Lewis
Integral to both Anglican liturgy and nonconformist devotional practice in the eighteenth century, the “Englished” Psalm supplied a common currency between competing but increasingly compatible confessional groups. The Psalms also turn up everywhere in emergent, nonreligious literary genres. In both settings, the Psalms calibrated signature speech acts of imprecation, petition, and praise with lexical praxes that a commercialized print culture made not only possible and common but visible and adjustable by individual writers and readers. A novel experimental culture of the English Psalms held unprecedented potential to turn class, credal, and historical division into unity but also posed uniquely “modern” perils. While the Psalms could now be experienced directly as sources of freedom and pleasure available to a wide range of Christian readers and writers, they also potentially transferred the experience of pleasure from a many-personed God to printed English words.
Drawing on literary, visual, and philosophical sources from the period, this article asks what is landscape, how was it represented and understood in the eighteenth century, and how might we understand its different forms and agenda now? It focuses on why terms such as landscape, nature, and beauty remain problematic; explores ideas of location, scale, and point of view; and discusses the influence of classical georgic and pastoral models on eighteenth-century ways of seeing. The article argues that landscapes were experienced quite differently because of class, gender, and education, and stresses the wide range of landscapes created by eighteenth-century writers of quite different kinds. Finally, it suggests the importance of emotion as a driving force in the construction of landscape and the need to understand landscape not as something “out there,” but rather as centrally concerned with the expression of self.
This article explores how changing ideas about time and time-telling had a powerful and lasting impact upon the literature of the long eighteenth century (i.e., c. 1660–c. 1830). After a brief overview of the dominant technological, scientific, and philosophical preoccupations, the discussion concentrates on influential recent critical studies of topics such as the relationship between clock time and narrative structure in the novels of Samuel Richardson and Laurence Sterne, the appearance of poetical subgenres directly inspired by mechanical timepieces, and the characteristic skepticism of certain Romantic authors toward the alleged merits of temporal rationalization. Although most of these studies have focused on how the (quasi-)isochronicity of pocket watches and pendulum clocks directly influenced particular literary forms, structures, and themes, this article concludes by arguing that the relationship between literature and time was (in fact) partially reciprocal, and that the former therefore sometimes profoundly altered contemporaneous attitudes toward the practical business of time-telling.
This article begins by discussing seventeenth- and eighteenth-century notions of media, mediation, and communication. How did early modern notions of the “medium” and of “mediation” overlap with and differ from common understandings of these terms today? The second section provides an overview of media and mediation in the eighteenth century, heeding recent calls for a new history of mediation that includes not only what we now identify as communications media (e.g., print, voice, and script) but also new genres, protocols, opportunities, and infrastructures for communication. The penultimate section addresses eighteenth-century histories of mediation. Enlightenment authors increasingly conceptualized their era as an age in history defined by a particular set of communication practices and tools. The concluding section addresses the challenges and opportunities of the “media turn” in literary and cultural studies and the future of the history of media and mediation.
This article focuses on the relationship between naturalism and poetry. The main intellectual trends of twentieth-century poetry are inimical to a naturalist verse tradition. On the other hand, nothing in the generally assumed definition disqualifies poetry from the genre. Regarding naturalist poetry in terms of genre, a rather clear narrative comes into view: naturalist poets began by critiquing convention, as naturalist novelists did, and went on to adopt modernist techniques to reflect the changing notion of what constitutes reality. Common to all is an enduring strain exploring the severe restraints on human possibility. The poetry of Stephen Crane, Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, Theodore Dreiser, Robinson Jeffers, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Sharon Olds are analyzed.
This article examines a number of the key political and philosophical questions in the poetry, drama, and philosophical treatises of Fulke Greville, first Lord Brooke (1554–1628), arguing that the philosophical complexity and linguistic obscurity for which Greville’s style is known offer an appropriate tool for the examination of some of his enduring intellectual preoccupations: the paradoxes of political power and the rise and fall of empires, examined in the choruses of his Ottoman closet drama Mustapha; and the examination of the mechanisms of idolatry and spiritual servitude that link the erotic poetry of the lyric sequence Caelica to the treatises on monarchy and religion. A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney, Greville’s biography of his long-deceased friend, by contrast, offers a different perspective on political life and freedom, one that is constructed on Sidney’s exemplarity and modeled on the ethics of friendship.
Barbara L. Packer
This article explains the concept of Romanticism relating it with Transcendentalism and Puritanism. Romanticism influenced future Transcendentalists at different times. During the first period, which extended from around 1810 to the end of the 1820s, the Transcendentalists read Romantic authors with uncritical delight. The exclusion of women from higher studies made Transcendentalist women especially fond of Romantic writings as the intellectual fearlessness of the Romantic writers appealed to their hidden sense of defiance. Transcendentalists such as Alcott, Emerson, Fuller, and Peabody were prominent lovers of Romantic literature. Wordsworth was one such writer who was widely read in that sense. Romanticism had different levels of influence on Transcendentalism. Though the works of the Transcendentalists and Romanticists differed at some level, all their footprints mingled at another level. The article also explains the differences that had occurred among the Transcendentalists over the period of time.
This article examines the effects of the unprecedented number of prosecutions for political opinion in the 1790s and afterward on romantic period literature. The chief instrument for these prosecutions was the law on libel. This legal framework placed a premium on various forms of metaphor, irony, and allegory, which the Crown had to construe as concrete libels in any prosecution. Many trials became major public events, a visible part of the period’s print culture, widely reported in newspapers and eagerly consumed by the public in a variety of media. The courtroom provided a theater of radical opinion in which defendants could publicize their views and mock the authority of the state. The pressure exerted on writers by the law on libel also conditioned a more general anxiety and may even have influenced developing ideas of the autonomy of the aesthetic.
The rich and expanding rhetorical universe of the English Renaissance annexed the expressive possibilities of painting and the plastic arts using a variety of figures and tropes. These—ekphrasis (intense description), blason (anatomizing description), paragone (the contest between the arts), and emblems and imprese (formal verbal-visual symbols)—allowed English writers to press the visual into the service of the verbal, creating powerful rhetorical tools and distinctive literary expression. This article describes the development of these verbal-visual tools from the late medieval period through the early seventeenth century by Italian art theorists and in the exemplary works of Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare.