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The "Illimitable Dominion" of Charles Dickens: Transatlantic Print Culture and the Spring of 1842

Collins, Michael James (2016) The "Illimitable Dominion" of Charles Dickens: Transatlantic Print Culture and the Spring of 1842. Open Library of Humanities, 2 (1). pp. 1-29. E-ISSN 2056-6700. (doi:10.16995/olh.23) (KAR id:54665)


This article explores Edgar Allan Poe’s May 1842 edition of Graham’s Monthly Magazine in the context of debates about international copyright circulating in the press at the time of Charles Dickens’s famous tour of the US. I offer a reading of Poe’s short story ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, and his review of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales that sees these texts as interventions in transatlantic debates at the forefront of the public imagination in the Spring of 1842. In particular, through an original close reading of ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ I demonstrate how Poe subtly drew upon penny press exposés to inform the short story’s discussion of class, status and rights of access. I also suggest that the argument Poe made in his review of Nathaniel Hawthorne about the importance of ‘invention, creation, imagination [and] originality’ to the ‘prose tale’ is usefully considered in the same context, as an American response to questions of authorship that were also raised by the popular hysteria surrounding Dickens.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.16995/olh.23
Uncontrolled keywords: Poe; Dickens; Whitman; "Red Death"; Copyright; 1842;
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Depositing User: Michael Collins
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2016 09:25 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2021 10:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Collins, Michael James.

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