Charles Dickens's 1842 American tour has in many ways been seen as a growth experience for the 30-year-old novelist. He was enthusiastic about his visit to the New World, but a substantial amount of evidence indicates that a major purpose behind the visit was to promote international copyright in the United States, a growing market for European writers, as the absence of such a law had been harmful to foreign authors whose works were pirated at an alarming rate. Frustratingly, what can more than plausibly be seen as a pre-planned campaign proved to be futile, as the author-turned-advocate had not factored in the historical and socio-economic circumstances of the young Republic, which were not conducive to the kind of law that would allow for a satisfactory remuneration of non-US writers, and a fair compensation for Boz himself. This article argues that the issue of the international copyright is surprisingly echoed by Martin Chuzzlewit's portrayal of Mrs. Gamp, one of Dickens's most memorable characters, a midwife and monthly nurse, who, just like her author, largely depends on the flights of her imagination to make a living.


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pp. 121-137
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