Open University Book History Research Group Seminar: Literature and Copyright
20 Feb 2017, 17:30 to 20 Feb 2017, 19:00
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Edmund G.C. King, The Open University
“Editing, Connoisseurship, and Attribution in Eighteenth-Century England: Editing William Shakespeare; Compiling William Hogarth”
Connoisseurship was originally developed by art critics as a discourse for authenticating paintings and drawings. In the early eighteenth century, literary editors began to draw upon it as an analogy for representing authorial style. However, this paper will argue, the convergence between art criticism and textual criticism involved more than a simple exchange of metaphors. Connoisseurship offered critics new ways of looking at artworks and assessing their genuineness, modes of vision that could be applied as readily to plays as to paintings. The eighteenth-century art market relied upon the expertise of the connoisseur, who could guarantee that a given painting stemmed from the hand of a particular master. The Tonsons’ copyright monopoly over Shakespeare likewise came to depend on the expertise of the editor, who could reliably identify Shakespeare’s personal style and distinguish the genuine from the spurious.
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