18c Perspectives on Authorship, Part III

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18c Perspectives on Authorship, Part III

  1. 1. 18c Perspectives, IIISaturday, February 9, 13
  2. 2. Saturday, February 9, 13
  3. 3. Tamara: How is Young situated within the culture of 18c book production?Saturday, February 9, 13
  4. 4. Writer in multiple genres, for patronage: - plays - literary - political - personalSaturday, February 9, 13
  5. 5. Saturday, February 9, 13
  6. 6. Popularity: - Translated into 7 languages - Multiple editions - Illustrated edition by William BlakeSaturday, February 9, 13
  7. 7. Saturday, February 9, 13
  8. 8. Saturday, February 9, 13
  9. 9. Conjectures on Original CompositionSaturday, February 9, 13
  10. 10. 2 editions in 1759Saturday, February 9, 13
  11. 11. Genius Originality ImitationSaturday, February 9, 13
  12. 12. But there are, who write with vigor, and success, to the world’s delight, and their own renown. These are the glorious fruits where genius prevails. The mind of a man of genius is a fertile and pleasant field, pleasant as Elysium, and fertile as Tempe; it enjoys a perpetual spring. (339)Saturday, February 9, 13
  13. 13. Of that spring, originals are the fairest flowers; imitations are of quicker growth, but fainter bloom. Imitations are of two kinds; one of nature, one of authors: the first we call originals, and confine the term imitation to the second. ... Originals are, and ought to be, great favorites, for they are great benefactors; the extend the republic of letters, and add a new province to its dominion: imitators only give us a sort of duplicates of what we had, possibly much better, before; increasing the mere drug of books, while all that makes them valuable, knowledge and genius, are at a stand. The pen of an original writer, like Armida’s wand, out of a barren waste calls a blooming spring : out of that blooming spring an imitator is a transplanter of laurels, which sometimes die on removal, always languish in a foreign soil. (339)Saturday, February 9, 13
  14. 14. But suppose an imitator to be most excellent (and such there are), yet still he but nobly builds on another’s foundation; his debt is, at least, equal to his glory; which therefore, on the balance, cannot be very great. On the contrary, an original, though but indifferent (its originality being set aside), yet has something to boast.... (339)Saturday, February 9, 13
  15. 15. ...The man who thus reverences himself, will soon find the world’s reverence to follow his own. His works will stand distinguished; his the sole property of them; which property alone can confer the noble title of an author; that is, of one who (to speak accurately) thinks, and composes; while other invaders of the press, how voluminous, and learned soever, (with due respect be it spoken) only read, and write. (346)Saturday, February 9, 13
  16. 16. What is the role of learning? How does it intersect with genius?Saturday, February 9, 13
  17. 17. Jess: In Young’s piece, he compares “original” work with vegetable growth, a “blooming spring” out of “barren waste” (339). He uses imitation to express a sort of “manufacturing” of words and ideas, words with “quicker growth, but fainter bloom” in the nature metaphor (339). So, we have Milton’s extension of himself, and Young’s idea of growth, but outside of the author, in some ways. When I think of this line between imitation and originality, I have a bit of trouble. In my own work, it has always seemed quite defined by what is mine and what is someone else’s. Thinking of other examples though, I find it a bit harder to draw a line. ...Saturday, February 9, 13
  18. 18. Martha Woodmansee Professor of English & Law Director, Society for Critical Exchange Areas: 18/19c British & European Literature/ Culture History of the Book Law and Literature Critical TheorySaturday, February 9, 13
  19. 19. Saturday, February 9, 13
  20. 20. The Genius & the CopyrightSaturday, February 9, 13
  21. 21. Defining the AuthorSaturday, February 9, 13
  22. 22. How does the Author eat? Keep warm?Saturday, February 9, 13
  23. 23. Martin Luther: Knowledge is God-given and had therefore to be given freely.Saturday, February 9, 13
  24. 24. Honoraria v PrivilegesSaturday, February 9, 13
  25. 25. What genres pay? (435)Saturday, February 9, 13
  26. 26. Lindsey: If Woodmansee concludes by reminding us that “the specific circumstances” of writers during the late 18th century is what contributed to the concept of the author as we know it today, then was social circumstances allowed writers before the late 18th century to accept that all they could be conceived as was either a vehicle or an instrument? [Perhaps relatedly: how did cultures understand the division between writers and artists?]Saturday, February 9, 13
  27. 27. What if writers cut out the middleman and create an “independent dignity?”? (441)Saturday, February 9, 13
  28. 28. Lindsey: Next, I’m interested in how we define a “work’s originality,” “original genius,” and for that matter genius in the modern day because Woodmansee presents a notion of genius from 1815 where “the genius is someone who does something utterly new, unprecedented, or in the radical formulation that he prefers, produces something that never existed before” (430). Do we accept this as a cultural definition that exists today and does this definition apply to our understanding of “originality” today— especially in terms of hypertext, remix, or mash-ups? Jess: If writing is a social act, where do we draw the line between imitation and originality? And is the “writing” and “authorship” of Wordsworth or Cicero or Demosthenes held to different standards than that of today? Who are “authors” today (is it popular writers such as J.K. Rowling, since she has some cultural capital or are we all “authors” if we write and create?Saturday, February 9, 13

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