The Politics of Authorship: The Effects of Literary Property Law on Author-Publisher Relations
Abstract

Abstract:

This article argues that the shift in author-publisher relations over the course of the nineteenth century, which has been characterized by scholars as alternatively either a “consecration” or a “degradation” of the author, was connected to a change in the law on literary property. Through a comparison of the terms of letters and contracts between authors and publishers before and after a landmark law of 1866, which extended literary property to 50 years after the death of the author, it shows that the new law favored publishers, by enabling them to monopolize and control the work of authors to an unprecedented extent. (ch )