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Joint Ventures

Authorship, Translation, Plagiarism


Fritz Gutbrodt

The book discusses the concepts of authorship, translation, and plagiarism in literature and philosophy from 1750 to 1850, offering detailed readings of Young, Goethe, Poe, and Baudelaire in the context of contemporary and current debates about literary theory and criticism. Originality, translation, and plagiarism have played an important role in the cultural construction of authorship. While originality provided the basis for a modern concept of aesthetics and intellectual property, the 18 th -century relegated translation to a secondary role in the transmission of literature and knowledge. Plagiarism underwent an even more radical reassessment with the advent of the figure of the original genius and the call for copyright protection. Drawing on current discussions the study investigates how the relationship between texts undermines Romantic notions of authorship and originality. Language and the act of writing are always some form of joint ventures.
Contents: The Genius as Compositor: Young’s Conjectures on Original Composition – The Worth of Werther: Goethe’s Literary Marketing – The Volatility of the Letter: Baudelaire Translates Poe – Transplants: Poe, Plagiarism, and Les Fleurs du mal.