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Patent Inventions - Intellectual Property and the Victorian Novel$
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Clare Pettitt

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253203.001.0001

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‘The spirit of craft and money-making’: The Indignities of Literature in the 1850s

‘The spirit of craft and money-making’: The Indignities of Literature in the 1850s

Chapter:
(p.149) 4 ‘The spirit of craft and money-making’: The Indignities of Literature in the 1850s
Source:
Patent Inventions - Intellectual Property and the Victorian Novel
Author(s):

Clare Pettitt (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253203.003.0004

Both Charles Dickens and William Thackeray supported Sir Henry Cole's aim to publicise the benefits to the consumer of free international trade through the Great Exhibition of 1851 held in London, England. For the writer or inventor in Victorian England, private property was necessarily staked on an open marketplace, and retaining a ‘free power of control’ could prove hazardous in such a competitive and unregulated environment. The extent to which display both underwrote and threatened the value of intellectual property became very clear at the Exhibition, revealing how closely the debates about patents and copyright mirrored one another in their anxieties about privacy and utility. This chapter discusses two of Dickens's most complex works, Bleak House and Little Dorrit, showing the ways in which the displacements of authorship in these texts can only be properly understood in the context of the debates about the professionalisation of authorship.

Keywords:   Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Great Exhibition, copyright, intellectual property, patents, authorship, private property

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