Originality and Intellectual Property in the French and English Enlightenment  book cover
1st Edition

Originality and Intellectual Property in the French and English Enlightenment

ISBN 9780415542982
Published October 10, 2012 by Routledge
250 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Are legal concepts of intellectual property and copyright related to artistic notions of invention and originality? Do literary and legal scholars have anything to learn from each other, or should the legal debate be viewed as separate from questions of aesthetics? Bridging what are usually perceived as two distinct areas of inquiry, this interdisciplinary volume begins with a reflection on the "origins" of literary and legal questions in the Enlightenment to consider their ramifications in the post-Enlightenment and contemporary world. Tying in to the growing scholarly interest in connections between law and literature, on the one hand, and to the contemporary interrogation of "originality" and "authorship," on the other hand, the present volume furthers research in the field by providing a dense study of the legal and historical context to re-examine our current assumptions about supposed earlier Enlightenment and Romantic ideals of individual authorship and originality.

Table of Contents

Reginald McGinnis, French, University of Arizona, Introduction

Robert McHenry, English, University of Hawaii. Plagiarism and Paternity in Dryden’s Adaptations

Elizabeth F. Judge, Law, University of Ottawa. Kidnapped and Counterfeit Characters: Eighteenth-Century Fan Fiction, Copyright Law and the Meaning of ‘Originality’

Simon Stern, Law, Harvard Law School. Copyright, Originality and Public Domain in the Eighteenth Century

Anne Sechin, French, Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface. On Plagiarism, Originality, Textual Ownership and Textual Responsibility: the Case of Jacques le fataliste.

Cristina S. Martinez, Law, University of Ottawa. Thomas Gainsborough: The Eloquence and Idiosyncrasy of the Brush

Tilar Mazzeo, English, Colby College. Plagiarism and Aesthetic Judgment in the Romantic Period

John Vignaux Smyth, English, Portand State University. Theft and Originality: Borrowings in Laurence Sterne, Samuel Beckett and Flan O’Brien




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Reginald McGinnis is Associate Professor of French at the University of Arizona. His publications include a book on Baudelaire, La Prostitution sacrée (Paris: Belin, 1994), as well as articles in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, l’Atelier du roman, PO&SIE, Cahiers de l’Herne and the Romanic Review.


"The range of authors, artists, and works addressed in these essays remains genuinely impressive. I feel compelled from the outset to underscore the extent to which there seems very often to be—in almost all of these essays—substantially more going on than perhaps first meets the eye." --Robert L. Mack, Eighteenth-Century Fiction