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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The genres of “misrepresentational literature” encompass many forms of writing in the eighteenth century and bear on questions of subjectivity and identity, legal definitions of deception, antiquarian collecting, experimentation, and the position of producers in a mass-consumer market. This chapter examines the implications of fraud in poetry in practices such as forgery, plagiarism, counterfeiting, pirate printing, and imposture. Recent critical work has reassessed this material through investigations into areas such as political history, satire and hoaxing, intellectual property, and forensic science. Writers investigated include the canonical figures of the Scriblerians, Samuel Johnson, the Wartons, James Macpherson, and Thomas Chatterton, alongside the less familiar, such as Nicholas Tindal and Eustace Budgell. The argument also touches upon Shakespearean editing and canon formation. While no poets in the period can simply be described as “frauds,” cases of literary malpractice enable an understanding of authenticity to be incorporated into definitions of poetry.

Keywords: poetry, forgery, counterfeits, plagiarism, fakery, identity, scholarship

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