Robert Spoo’s Without Copyrights lucidly unpacks the evolving story of modernism’s engagement with copyright and piracy in the American public domain, relying on decades of literary and legal erudition, practice, and pedagogy. Delivered in the fresh and exciting prose of a scholar emerging triumphantly from the archives, Spoo offers a perspective that alters our perceptions of modernist authorship and production, asking us to rethink copyright in the present day, and fundamentally reframing some of modernism’s canonical heroes. He reveals James Joyce’s self-righteous and opportunistic campaign to crush the reputation of irreverent, yet well-intentioned Samuel Roth, pirate of Ulysses, while Roth — small-time publisher and promoter of what Spoo calls “ libidinous confections of the avant-garde” (11) — emerges as a not-to-be-forgotten protagonist. In between is Pound, key theorist of copyright reform, who refuses to sign the protest against Roth and testify against him.


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pp. 171-179
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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