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The Fugitive's Properties – Law and the Poetics of Possession - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Fugitive's Properties: Law and the Poetics of Possession

Stephen M. Best


This study of literature and law before and since the Civil War shows how American conceptions of slavery, property, and the idea of the fugitive were profoundly interconnected. It uncovers a poetics of intangible, personified property emerging out of antebellum laws, circulating through key nineteenth-century works of literature, and informing cultural forms such as blackface minstrelsy and early race films. The book argues that legal principles dealing with fugitives and indebted persons provided a sophisticated precursor to intellectual property law as it dealt with rights in appearance, ex ... More

Keywords: Civil War, slavery, property, fugitive, antebellum laws, blackface minstrelsy, early race films, legal principles, indebted persons, intellectual property law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780226044330
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226241111.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Stephen M. Best, author