By Melissa J. Homestead
Via an exploration of girls authors'engagements with copyright and married girls estate legislation, American girls authors and Literary estate, 1822-1869, revises nineteenth-century American literary heritage, making women's authorship and copyright legislation vital. utilizing case reports of 5 well known fiction writers Catharine Sedgwick, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fanny Fern, Augusta Evans, and Mary Virginia Terhunee, dwelling house exhibits how the convergence of copyright and coverture either fostered and restricted white women's organisation as authors. ladies authors exploited their prestige as nonproprietary matters to virtue by means of adapting themselves to a copyright legislation that privileged readers entry to literature over authors estate rights. Homesteads' inclusion of the Confederacy during this paintings sheds gentle at the centrality of copyright to nineteenth-century American nationalisms and at the strikingly various building of author-reader relatives lower than U.S. and accomplice copyright legislation.
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Extra info for American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869
Chused, “Late Nineteenth Century Married Women’s Property Law: Reception of the Early Married Women’s Property Acts by Courts and Legislatures,” American Journal of Legal History 29, no. 1 (1985): 3–35 (focusing on Oregon, and citing many examples of courts’ severely limiting married women’s dispositional rights even after legislation specifying that married women could hold property for their “sole and separate use”). 27 Zeigler, “Uniformity and Conformity,” 490–3. On the common law, see Reeve, Baron and Femme: “The ground, on which the husband is joined with the wife, is this: the wife, by marriage, is entirely deprived of the use and disposal of her property, and can acquire none by her industry” (p.
This chapter maps out the gendered legal terrain of literary proprietorship in nineteenth-century America, the bumpy and shifting terrain over which Terhune herself traveled over the nearly twenty years of her career before textualizing it in Phemie’s Temptation and over which she continued to travel for twenty more years. 3 However, such studies have not fully engaged the complexities of both copyright law and married women’s property law as they intersected in the larger culture and in the careers of particular authors.
Thomas uncovers the ways that Stowe and others understood her agency as the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin quite differently than the “God wrote the book” anecdote suggests, and Derby’s tale conceals far more than it reveals about Evans’s proprietary activities during the war. In the course of each case study, I practice my craft as a literary critic and historian by reading literary texts backward and forward as emanations from the structures of copyright and property law and as commentary on them.