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Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel
Imitation, Parody, Aftertext

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Publication planned for: August 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108493079

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  • 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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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: August 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108493079
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue
    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
    Postscript
    Posthumous papers
    Aftertexts.

  • 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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