Why Dickens Resumed his Association with American Publishers in 1851

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On return from his first American tour in 1842, Charles Dickens published a letter declaring his intention to cease negotiations with all American publishers. Dickens had asserted the importance of international copyright during his US tour from January to May, but this did nor bring about any positive changes in the movement for international copyright. His statement in the letter: 'I will never from this time enter into any negociation[sic]' gives the impression that he would stick to this principle for the rest of his life, but, in fact, some ten years later he changed his mind and agreed to provide advance sheets of his forthcoming Bleak House for Harpers in late 1851. In this paper, I will explore the reasons why Dickens resumed his relations with American publishers by examining his decision in the context of Anglo-American copyright protection from the 1840s to the early 1850s. In these years, there were several important cases concerning whether UK copyright could be granted to foreigners, and, in the early 1850s, there were also undisclosed negotiations over the Anglo-American copyright treaty.



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