Wallace is heir to a literary tradition that has historically sought to limit interpretation in just this way. Modernism and postmodernism are aesthetic movements that evolved alongside the strengthening of intellectual property laws and the growth of a hyper-protectionist rights-based culture, particularly in America. “Modernist authors thought of their work as ownable and resented assaults on it,” Spoo writes. “The idea of literary property was talismanic, emblematic of respect for artistic labor, an acknowledgment of the dignity of the attic.” Like many of the ideas modernist writers espoused, this one was tinged with anxiety: “The fear of failed copyrights lay behind many developments of modernism.”

via Paris Review – How Far Should a Writer Go to Police His Public Image?, Evan Kindley.

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