The Byron Journal

Mischievous Effects: Byron and Illegitimate Publication

The Byron Journal (2014), 42, (1), 21–34.

Abstract

The conflict between legitimate and ‘pirate’ booksellers in early nineteenth-century England was less about the direct loss of sales than issues of respectability and legality. As the best-known poet of his day and a controversial public figure, Lord Byron became embroiled in the ideological disputes over literary property. This essay examines the texts and paratexts of both authorised and pirated editions of Byron's work, such as Don Juan and William Hone's unauthorised collection, Poems on his Domestic Circumstances, within their economic and political contexts. It demonstrates how piracy impacted the poet's publication practices and reputation, forcing Byron to confront the phenomenon of Byronism and leading to innovations in the marketing of new books. The essay argues that the legal and ideological battles over piracy were a key factor in determining Byron's place in the literary canon and that this publication history represents a pivotal moment for the commodity status of books.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Kolkey, Jason