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September 16 , 2009

Dominion and Agency

Copyright and the Structuring of the Canadian Book Trade, 1867-1918


The 1867 Canadian confederation brought with it expectations of a national literature, which a rising class of local printers hoped to supply. Reforming copyright law in the imperial context proved impossible, and Canada became a prime market for foreign publishers instead. The subsequent development of the agency system of exclusive publisher-importers became a defining feature of Canadian trade publishing for most of the twentieth century.

In Dominion and Agency, Eli MacLaren analyses the struggle for copyright reform and the creation of a national literature using previously ignored archival sources such as the Board of Trade Papers at the National Archives of the United Kingdom. A groundbreaking study, Dominion and Agency is an important exploration of the legal and economic structures that were instrumental in the formation of today's Canadian literary culture.

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