The Work of Print
Authorship and the EnglishText Trades, 1660-1760
Printers' manuals, tracts on typography, legal documents, and booksellers' autobiographies reveal that print workers conceived of their roles as central to the production of literature. Maruca's insightful readings of these documents alongside traditional works of fiction and authors' correspondence show that the claims of print workers and booksellers were part of a struggle for ownership and control as the concept of author as proprietor of his or her intellectual property began to take hold in the mid-1700s, gradually eclipsing print workers' contributions to the process of textual creation.
The print trade asserted its authority using a rhetoric of hierarchical and binary sexuality and gender, which affected women working in the industry and limited the type of work they were allowed to perform. In response, women developed strategies to redeploy conventional ideas of gender to gain concessions for themselves as publishers and distributors of printed material, strategies that formed a foundation for the rise of female authorship later in the eighteenth century.
Encompassing the histories of literature, labor, technology, publishing, and gender, The Work of Print ultimately offers significant insights into the ideology of authorship and intellectual property and our understanding of textuality and print in the digital age.
About the Author
"… whether one hails from an English Department or a History Department, Professor Maruca's research and conclusions offer much to anyone interested in the history of texts and their production.… with the right sources in her capable hands, Maruca makes The Work of Print an eye-opening and excellent study."—Sixteenth Century Journal
"An extremely thought—provoking study, one which convincingly balances its sophisticated theoretical awareness with its historicism."—Margaret J. M. Ezell, author of Social Authorship and the Advent of Print
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