Conclusion: The Fall of the Sequel
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This book has traced the history of narrative continuations from the end of the sixteenth century to the middle of the eighteenth, in a period of rapid development for both prose fiction and the literature industry within which these works appeared. It has examined the contexts shaping the composition of continuations, as well as the available evidence for how they were presented and received. By focusing on texts continued by more than one writer, my argument has highlighted moments of particular tension in which the rights of authors over their literary creations were being defined. In the case of the Arcadia, posthumous publication meant that the text’s incompletions and its author’s death were at the forefront of most of the continuations. The paratexts of these works frame them as memorials to Sidney, using humanistic ideas about the imitation of virtue to describe a relationship to Sidney’s text. By the Restoration, such an association no longer seems to have been possible, with the relationship between ‘original’ authors and continuators instead becoming one of commercial and moral competition. This more antagonistic dynamic comes to a head in the career of Samuel Richardson, who attempted to assert his originating authority within the marketplace by discrediting the rights of his competitors to be called ‘authors’ at all.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Source Text Copyright Infringement Literary Creation Humanistic Idea
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- 1.For Cleland’s authorship of this anonymous review, see William H. Epstein, John Cleland (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1974), 189.Google Scholar