Spoo, Robert. Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2013. xvi, 355 pp.

This book tells the story of how the notoriously protectionist American copyright law impacted transatlantic modernism by encouraging the piracy of works published abroad. From its inception in 1790, U.S. copyright law withheld protection from foreign authors, creating an aggressive public domain that claimed works just as soon as they were published abroad. When Congress finally extended protection to foreign works, legal technicalities caused many authors to continue to lose their copyrights.

 The American public domain made vast numbers of foreign works freely available to American publishers. In order to avert ruinous competition for these unprotected resources, publishers evolved "trade courtesy," whereby the first house to announce plans to issue a foreign work acquired informal rights in the work-a kind of makeshift copyright grounded on unwritten norms and elaborate professional etiquette. Courtesy was a form of order without law that safeguarded publishers' interests, punished deviants from the code, and remunerated foreign authors for the exploitation of their works.

 Drawing on previously undiscovered archives, this book reveals the convergence of law, piracy, and courtesy in the dissemination of transatlantic modernism in the United States. The chief actors are James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and the New York pirate-pornographer Samuel Roth, with their very different attitudes toward intellectual property. Joyce's growing reputation in America, Pound's proposals for copyright reform, Roth's activities as purveyor of a hybrid modernism compounded of verbal experiment and entertainment for men-these and other developments cannot be understood apart from the contemporaneous American law and the voracious public domain it created.

 The book also tells the untold legal stories behind key events of modernism. When Roth reprinted the uncopyrighted Ulysses without permission, Joyce retaliated by drawing upon the punitive dimension of trade courtesy and by filing a lawsuit seeking damages for Roth's exploitation of his valuable name. Later, the courtesy tradition enabled Joyce to enjoy informal protection for Ulysses after Random House published the authorized American edition in 1934. Publishing norms, not copyright, kept pirates from Ulysses.

Book summary at

 Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: "The American Public Domain and the Courtesy of the Trade in the Nineteenth Century"
Chapter 2: "Transatlantic Modernism and the American Public Domain."
Chapter 3: "Ezra Pound's Copyright Statute: Perpetual Rights and Unfair Competition with the Dead."
Chapter 4: "James Joyce's Ulysses and American Copyright Protectionism."
Chapter 5: "James Joyce v. Samuel Roth and Two Worlds Publishing Company."
Chapter 6: "The 1934 Random House Ulysses: Copyright and Trade Courtesy.



Schulze, Robin G. The Degenerate Muse: American Nature, Modernist Poetry, and the Problem of Cultural HygieneOxford: Oxford University Press, 2013

This book offers an important reconsideration of the cultural impulses that drove American literary modernism. America's modernist poets came of age in a nation struggling to redefine its relationship with poetry and with nature. In the early twentieth century, Darwinian science dictated that as countries became more civilized, as their citizens dwelt increasingly in the realms of artifice they created, they ceased to engage in the invigorating struggles against nature that kept them fit. Civilization led to the medical condition known as degeneration, the morbid deviation of men from an identifiable "normal type." Eager to save America from the fate of a degenerate Europe, Progressive Era reformers prescribed the invigorating contact with American nature as a means to keep the American race clean and healthy. In order for nature to serve as an antidote for degeneration, however, it needed to remain a realm of hard facts and unremitting forces, a delusion-free place free of art that cleansed the mind rather than clouded it. Drawing on a wide range of primary and archival sources, this book argues that the widespread American turn back to nature in the early twentieth century had profound consequences for America's modernist poets. Like other Americans of their day, Harriet Monroe, Ezra Pound, and Marianne Moore heeded the widespread American call to head back to nature for the sake of the nation's health, but they faced a difficult challenge. Turning to American nature as a means to combat the threat of American degeneration in their literary work, they needed to create a form of American poetry that would be a cure for degeneration rather than a cause. My work reveals the ways in which Monroe's, Pound's, and Moore's struggles to create and publish poems that could resist degeneration by keeping faith with American nature influenced ideas about what American poetry should be and do in the twentieth century.

Book summary at

 Table of Contents:

 Introduction: Toward a Modern Nature

Chapter One: Nature Study, Degeneration, and the Problem of Poetry
Chapter Two: Harriet Monroe's Pioneer Modernism
Chapter Three: Ezra Pound and the Poetics of Hygiene
Chapter Four: Marianne Moore, Degeneration, and Domestication
Chapter Five: Marianne Moore, Nature, and National Health