By Melissa J. Homestead
Via an exploration of girls authors'engagements with copyright and married ladies estate legislation, American ladies authors and Literary estate, 1822-1869, revises nineteenth-century American literary historical past, making women's authorship and copyright legislation important. utilizing case reviews of 5 well known fiction writers Catharine Sedgwick, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fanny Fern, Augusta Evans, and Mary Virginia Terhunee, home 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 topics to virtue through 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 mild at the centrality of copyright to nineteenth-century American nationalisms and at the strikingly diverse development of author-reader kinfolk below U.S. and accomplice copyright legislation.
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Extra info for American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869
Macdonald, Feminine Ingenuity: Women and Invention in America (New York: Ballantine, 1992). ”6 Terhune was neither a feminist nor an abolitionist, and her use of the trope clearly serves to write black slaves out of slavery. Terhune wrote Phemie after the Union victory in the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves. Born and raised in Virginia in a Whig family, she moved North when her Northern husband accepted a call to a church in New Jersey, and during the war she supported the Union. However, she did not support abolition, and she indignantly portrays Phemie as her husband’s chattel not to protest the injustice of the abolished institution of chattel slavery (she did not believe the institution to be unjust – at least when the chattel were persons of African descent in the southern states).
Scribner points to the persistence of the intersection between coverture and copyright. From the vantage point of this dispute, I briefly look forward from 1892 to consider the implications of my study for literary history and for the future of copyright law in the twenty-first century. The events that feature prominently in my case studies (particularly in my chapters on Stowe, Fern, Evans, and Terhune) do not appear at all in Private Woman, Public Stage, Mary Kelley’s influential collective biography of a group of nineteenth-century women popular novelists and their perceptions of themselves as authors, even though all of my primary figures are also primary figures in her study.
United States Patent Act of April 1790, quoted in Khan, “Married Women’s Property,” 365. , 10 Dec. 1830, H. Rep. 3, 1. P1: NPK/ICD 0521853826c01 0 521 85382 6 CUNY038B/Homestead July 28, 2005 16:15 Authors, Wives, Slaves 29 author-husband has no means to feed and clothe her family, except royalties earned from the continuing sales of her dead husband’s works. While Congress needed to specify that the widow of a male author had the right to renew her dead husband’s copyright, the surviving husband of a dead female author needed no such congressional intervention because his wife’s copyrights were, in the case of most marriages in 1831, always his in the first place.