The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (Post-Contemporary Interventions)

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What is an author? What is a text? At a time when the definition of “text” is expanding and the technology whereby texts are produced and disseminated is changing at an explosive rate, the ways “authorship” is defined and rights conferred upon authors must also be reconsidered. This volume argues that contemporary copyright law, rooted as it is in a nineteenth-century Romantic understanding of the author as a solitary creative genius, may be inapposite to the realities of cultural production. Drawing together distinguished scholars from literature, law, and the social sciences, the volume explores the social and cultural construction of authorship as a step toward redefining notions of authorship and copyright for today’s world.
These essays, illustrating cultural studies in action, are aggressively interdisciplinary and wide-ranging in topic and approach. Questions of collective and collaborative authorship in both contemporary and early modern contexts are addressed. Other topics include moral theory and authorship; copyright and the balance between competing interests of authors and the public; problems of international copyright; musical sampling and its impact on “fair use” doctrine; cinematic authorship; quotation and libel; alternative views of authorship as exemplified by nineteenth-century women’s clubs and by the Renaissance commonplace book; authorship in relation to broadcast media and to the teaching of writing; and the material dimension of authorship as demonstrated by Milton’s publishing contract.

Contributors. Rosemary J. Coombe, Margreta de Grazia, Marvin D’Lugo, John Feather, N. N. Feltes, Ann Ruggles Gere, Peter Jaszi, Gerhard Joseph, Peter Lindenbaum, Andrea A. Lunsford and Lisa Ede, Jeffrey A. Masten, Thomas Pfau, Monroe E. Price and Malla Pollack, Mark Rose, Marlon B. Ross, David Sanjek, Thomas Streeter, Jim Swan, Max W. Thomas, Martha Woodmansee, Alfred C. Yen

One thought on “The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (Post-Contemporary Interventions)

  1. 1
    7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Fascinating studies on authorship–from Gutenberg to the Net, August 27, 1996
    By A Customer
    This review is from: The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (Post-Contemporary Interventions) (Paperback)

    This is a beguiling and enjoyable collection of essays on our
    changing ideas of authorship. Rap music and sampling, Milton’s
    book deal, movies and the “auteur”, the author and the Net –
    Woodmansee and Jaszi are not only the most interesting people
    writing today about authorship and texts, they have assembled
    some of the most readable academic papers I have seen in a
    long time. If you have ever wondered whether e-mail is
    changing our notion of writing, wanted to know how copyright
    got started, or read John Perry Barlow on the collapse of
    intellectual property, this book is for you.

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