Scandal Nation: Law and Authorship in Britain, 1750-1832

Overview

Kathryn Temple argues that eighteenth-century Grub Street scandals involving print piracy, forgery, and copyright violation played a crucial role in the formation of British identity. Britain's expanding print culture demanded new ways of thinking about business and art. In this environment, print scandals functioned as sites where national identity could be contested even as it was being formed.Temple draws upon cases involving Samuel Richardson, Samuel Johnson, Catharine Macaulay, and Mary Prince. The public ...
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Overview

Kathryn Temple argues that eighteenth-century Grub Street scandals involving print piracy, forgery, and copyright violation played a crucial role in the formation of British identity. Britain's expanding print culture demanded new ways of thinking about business and art. In this environment, print scandals functioned as sites where national identity could be contested even as it was being formed.Temple draws upon cases involving Samuel Richardson, Samuel Johnson, Catharine Macaulay, and Mary Prince. The public uproar around these controversies crossed class, gender, and regional boundaries, reaching the Celtic periphery and the colonies. Both print and spectacle, both high and low, these scandals raised important points of law, but also drew on images of criminality and sexuality made familiar in the theater, satirical prints, broadsides, even in wax museums. Like print culture itself, the "scandal" of print disputes constituted the nation—and resistance to its formation. Print transgression destabilized both the print industry and efforts to form national identity. Temple concludes that these scandals represent print's escape from Britain's strenuous efforts to enlist it in the service of nation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Temple offers some intriguing ideas about how anxiety over textual 'piracy' has resurfaced as anxiety over globalized, digital, or electronic 'piracy' today. . . . This book offers many interesting insights into Englishness, Britishness, gender, and authorship from 1750 to 1832."—Patrick Brantlinger, Indiana University, American Historical Review, February 2004

"an impressively wide-ranging but essentially high-minded account of the relationship between literary authorship, law, and the development of English national identity in the latter half of the eighteenth century. . . . Temple's main concern is to show how certain high-profile cases of piracy, infringement of privacy, authorial copyright and literary libel helped shaped English 'authority,' balancing the relative claims of writers and readers, men and women, literary and oral culture, nation and empire."—Gregory Dart, Times Literary Supplement, December 12, 2003

"This interesting book deserves considerable attention, and it would be worth considering how far the method could also be extended to other publications and aspects of media culture."—Jeremy Black, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 27.1

"Scandal Nation combines careful scholarship, astute literary and cultural criticism, and theoretical sophistication. Kathryn Temple's graceful and lucid writing does justice to the complexity of her arguments."—Joseph Bartolomeo, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Kathryn Temple argues for a link between the emergence of modern authorship and the arrival of a modern British nation. Scandal Nation is a truly outstanding book."—Kristina Straub, Carnegie Mellon University

"Scandal Nation is a brilliant and subtle completion of the nationalism narratives here tested against doubters, detractors, and marginal figures. Her knowledge of both legal and literary theory enables Kathryn Temple to reveal a far more complex late eighteenth century than anyone else has yet imagined."—J. Paul Hunter, University of Chicago/University of Virginia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801440427
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2003
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The National Print Spectacle 1
1 Printing like a Postcolonialist: The Irish Piracy of Sir Charles Grandison 20
2 Ossian's Embrace: Johnson, Macpherson, and the Public Domain 73
3 Nation Engendered: Catharine Macaulay's "Remarkable Moving Letter" and The History of England 121
4 Libels of Empire: Mary Prince and British Slavery 172
Epilogue : The Ends of National Scandal: Globalization 207
Works Cited 213
Index 235
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