Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

The American Novel To 1870

Series Title

Oxford History Of The Novel In English


This chapter examines the perils associated with American authorship during the early nineteenth century, with particular reference to issue of intellectual property and copyright. It begins with an analysis of the impact of intellectual property rights on publishing and the culture of reprinting, along with the influence of copyright on the American novel. It then considers the problem concerning the definition of “American authorship” and how the unstable nature of American authorship subjected writers who wished to promote it to charges of fraudulence. It also explores the question of originality among writers before concluding with a discussion of the radical expansion of publishing in the post-Civil War era and its effects on literary property and literary nationalism.


American authorship, intellectual property, copyright, publishing, reprinting, American novel, American authorship, fraudulence, originality, literary property, literary nationalism

Published By

Oxford University Press


J. G. Kennedy And L. S. Person


This material was originally published in The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 5: The American Novel to 1870 edited by J. Gerald Kennedy and Leland S. Person, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit

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