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Professional Imaginative Writing in England,
1670–1740'Hackney for Bread'$
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Brean S. Hammond

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112990

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112990.001.0001

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An Allusion to Horace, Jonson’s Ghost, and the Rhetoric of Plagiarism

An Allusion to Horace, Jonson’s Ghost, and the Rhetoric of Plagiarism

(p.82) (p.83) 3 An Allusion to Horace, Jonson’s Ghost, and the Rhetoric of Plagiarism
Professional Imaginative Writing in England, 1670–1740

Brean S. Hammond

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on dramatic writing in the 1670s and 1680s, wherein the problematic nature of borrowing from earlier works was already under heated negotiation. In this milieu, clear financial interests were wrapped up in the issue of allusion. Competing for the production of potentially lucrative playscripts, professional writers saw the theatrical stock of the pre-Civil War era as a rich ground for looting. It was much less prodigal of valuable professional time to annex plots, characters, and dialogue of already proven worth than to create from scratch. Writers could justify this on an aesthetic that required them to make acts of obeisance to eminent literary predecessors. Opponents would seek to deprive them of any honorific status thus collected by making the charge of plagiarism. Examining dramatic practice and the rhetoric of plagiarism as it operates in the literary quarrels between Rochester, Dryden, and Shadwell offers a valuable observation-point on the nature of the first phase of professional writing in England.

Keywords:   Dryden, writing, literature, plagiarism, Rochester, Shadwell

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