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The International Copyright Law. in a Letter from Thomas Carlyle to Charles Dickens in America, 26th March, 1842, and the Response from the Editors of Brother Jonathan. In Brother Jonathan, Library Edition, Whole Number XX, For the Week Ending Saturday, May 14, 1842, Vol. II, No. 3, pp.74Ð5.

Carlyle, Thomas

Published by New York. Wilson and Company. ., 1842
From Gadshill (Providence, RI, U.S.A.)

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Whole number pp. 57Ð84. 4to. In January 1842, 30 year old Charles Dickens, already famous, sailed to America to examine "the Republic of my imagination". He became sorely and famously disappointed. Almost immediately, he publicly addressed the problem of international copyright, for he had lost considerable sums to piracy, because there was no International Copyright Agreement. The American Press attacked him severely. Dickens transmitted to the Press, an address to the American people on this subject which he had received from a host of illustrious English authors led by Edward Lytton Bulwer and a letter from Carlyle. Brother Jonathan here prints the Carlyle letter and its editorial response. Carlyle likens literary piracy to stealng, forbidden in common Biblical proscription and even by Utilitarian reasoning by Jeremy Bentham, the then-current vogue in moral philosophy. Brother Jonathan satirizes the skill of Carlyle, claiming he does not know the meaning of what he says and his listeners cannot understand him. Carlyle is accused of exaggerating the abuse Dickens has taken, claiming courtesy for his American opposition on the issue. Carlyle is treated sarcastically, his "words" distorted and exaggerated by the Editor, He, Carlyle, is accused of egotism, distortion of the English tongue, profanity and being sinister in his distortion. Dickens is attacked for urging attention to Carlyle's plain words. The Editor denies that an author has any right except that which his own government gives him; English authors have no rights in America and there is, consequently, no loss at all. A monopoly extended to authors across national boundaries would raise the price of books in America or reduce the sales of English books in America. Of course, Brother Jonathan was itself a pirate, in even printing this letter from Carlyle, Dickens having sent the letter to the American Press, widely, but not to this periodical. Also pirated in this issue of Brother Jonathan is a segment in the serial publication of Gilbert A. Beckett's (1811Ð56) "Comic English Grammar", illustrated by John Leech, published first in London in 1840 by Richard Bentley. Hinge separating. Mild toning of pages. Else, Very Good. Printed and illustrated papr wraps with 3 pp. of ads. Bookseller Inventory # 10846

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The International Copyright Law. in a Letter...

Publisher: New York. Wilson and Company. .

Publication Date: 1842

Edition: First Edition.

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