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Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel
Imitation, Parody, Aftertext

$105.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: October 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108493079

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • How can we tell plagiarism from an allusion? How does imitation differ from parody? Where is the line between copyright infringement and homage? Questions of intellectual property have been vexed long before our own age of online piracy. In Victorian Britain, enterprising authors tested the limits of literary ownership by generating plagiaristic publications based on leading writers of the day. Adam Abraham illuminates these issues by examining imitations of three novelists: Charles Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton, and George Eliot. Readers of Oliver Twist may be surprised to learn about Oliver Twiss, a penny serial that usurped Dickens's characters. Such imitative publications capture the essence of their sources; the caricature, although crude, is necessarily clear. By reading works that emulate three nineteenth-century writers, this innovative study enlarges our sense of what literary knowledge looks like: to know a particular author means to know the sometimes bad imitations that the author inspired.

    • Studies literary imitation in Victorian Britain with a focus on the work of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Edward Bulwer Lytton
    • Recovers plagiaristic works that have been neglected by critics over the years
    • Argues that the way in which famous writers responded to imitations and assaults of their work shaped the view we have of them today
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Focused on three important Victorian novelists, Charles Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton, and George Eliot … Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel is an illuminating, stylish, and necessary archeology of some of these lost works.' Monica F. Cohen, The Review of English Studies

    ‘Abraham’s book, among its other aspects, demonstrates a seismic shift in English studies over the past half-century. Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel presents itself as part of a specialism-wide, co-operative effort.’ John Sutherland, Times Literary Supplement

    ‘Plagiarising the Victorian Novel makes a useful contribution to the ongoing conversation surrounding forms of textual afterlife, recognizing the productive overlap between issues of plagiarism and those of identity, fraud, agency and intent …’ Elly McCausland, Dickens Quarterly

    ‘Adam Abraham’s meticulously researched, expertly theorized, and engagingly written Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel upends traditional conceptions of the canon …’ Carrie Sickmann, Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History

    ‘… the book makes for pleasurable reading. Abraham’s prose is clear, witty, jargon-free, and the work he has done on these aftertexts, including his concise summaries, will provide future scholars with rich new material for years to come.’ Lisa Rodensky, Victorian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108493079
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Pickwick phenomenon
    2. Charles Dickens and the pseudo-Dickens industry
    3. Parody
    or, the art of writing Edward Bulwer Lytton
    4. Thackeray versus Bulwer versus Bulwer: parody and appropriation
    5. Being George Eliot: imitation, imposture, and identity
    Posthumous papers

  • Author

    Adam Abraham, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Adam Abraham is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA (2012) as well as articles on Victorian literature and culture.

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