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Walter BesantThe Business of Literature and the Pleasures of Reform$
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Kevin A. Morrison

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620351

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620351.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Besant and Collaboration

Besant and Collaboration

(p.19) Chapter One Besant and Collaboration
Walter Besant

Kirsty Bunting

Liverpool University Press

At the heart of this chapter is the assertion that it is impossible to understand the full complexity of the nineteenth-century literary tradition without acknowledging that as the result of the expansion of the marketplace and the proliferation of collaborative modes of writing, the mid-to-late nineteenth century underwent a re-evaluation of the inherited Romantic constructs of authorship. It examines Walter Besant’s role as a central figure in this re-evaluation through his extended examinations of, and experiments with, collaborative authority, and the status of the author in general. This chapter discusses Walter Besant’s treatments of the topic of literary collaboration with close reference to his public commentary in the press and in his life-writing which expose and examine cultural—and some of Besant’s own—anxieties circulating at the fin de siècle about the perceived negative and disruptive effects of reading collaboratively written works. This chapter unpacks Besant’s ‘spousal’ collaborative model and situates Besant’s attitudes to literary collaboration against its marketplace contexts generally, examining how they compare with other contemporaneous literary and journalistic commentators’ treatments of shared writing across genres.

Keywords:   Collaboration, Coauthorship, Literary marketplace, Genre, Shared writing, James Rice, Walter Besant

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