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ERIC Number: ED266481
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
The Concept of Authorship: An Historical Perspective.
Ede, Lisa
The word "authorship," like "ownership" or "professorship," reflects an appropriate and necessary connection between authors and their texts. First used in 1710, the concept of authorship is a relatively recent invention. To understand how constructed the concept is--not commonsensical or inevitable but a complex reflection of contemporary culture--requires a look at the Middle Ages, its reverance for authority, reliance on scriptoria for copies of manuscripts, and the development of such rhetorical arts as manuals for letter writing. There is, however, no full history in English that focuses explicitly on the development of the concept of authorship. The concept emerged as the result of a number of related influences--technical, philosophical, political, sociocultural, legal, economic, and literary. Most important to understanding the concept is recognition that authorship, especially humanistic or literary, has been almost exclusively limited to individuals writing alone. Also, the concept does not apply equally to different kinds of discourse. Tacit acceptance of this concept is reflected not only in the assignments given by composition teachers--with emphasis on individual rather than group invention and concern with plagiarism--but also in methods used for testing and in research. Composition teachers and researchers need to be more aware of the complexity and power of the concept of authorship. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A