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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

During the eighteenth century, the activities of oeuvre-making and canon-formation unquestionably—and increasingly—fed off one another. Much of the reason had to do with changing intellectual property regimes, which made the Statute of Anne law in Scotland by 1751 and in England by 1774. After these dates, publishers in each country could reprint the works of given authors both as stand-alone sets (oeuvres) and as parts of larger, national collections (canons). Between 1774 and 1824, enterprising booksellers did just that, with sales registering in the millions of copies. These publishers’ canons shaped how writers of the Romantic period thought about canonicity. In addition, their publications verify fundamental assumptions about the relative prestige of genres and the rivalries that exist between them, with poetry garnering the most cultural status, followed by drama, and then prose fiction.

Keywords: copyright, reprinting, canon, oeuvre, collection, national, publishing, poetry, drama, novel

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