Title of Lecture

Copyrights, Portraits, and Pope: Marketing Poetry in Early Eighteenth-century England


David R. Wheeler

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Description of Lecture

As England's economy evolved from feudalism to capitalism, so too did that nation's literary economy. No single event vaulted literary texts from the control of wealthy patrons and the powerful Stationers' Company into a market economy than did the Copyright Act of 1709, and no author profited form the changes as did Alexander Pope. Pope published his first poems in the year of the Copyright Statute and was the first non-dramatic English writer to get rich from literary labor. He wrote the poetry we wanted, negotiated print contracts , and controlled marketing. A trained portratist himself, Pope sat for eighty paintings and sculptures. Through slides and text, I explain how Pope used these formal portraits to fashion a public identity and to sell his poetry.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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