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Abstract

In this essay on eighteenth-century authorship, Kathryn Temple sketches a history of authorship from the perspective of the cultural, regional, and national conflicts that led to modern authorship's emergence. Arguing that the figure of the modern author arose in the mid- to late-eighteenth century, not from an uncontested common moral and ethical center, but from a maelstrom of conflicting practices and standards emanating from an amazingly varied array of national, class, and gendered sources, she suggests that ‘literary scandals’ played a special role in the construction of a nationalized author in that they brought high, low, and official juridical culture together to construe what authorship would come to mean in the modern world.