I came across an article in the National Journal entitled “From Dickens to Amazon: A Brief History of Literary Feuds.” Playing off the recent controversy between Amazon and Hachette Books, the author touches upon a few famous historical literary debacles.
The first one mentioned is Tolkien’s major copyright battle with Ace Books. I’ll let you read the article for the details, if you don’t already know them. What interested me the most is that Tolkien was listed first–before Dickens (!) and George Orwell. Considering how so many critics dismiss Tolkien’s works as mere “escapism,” it’s heartening to see an article that ranks him among other such serious authors.
Of course, one does have to question the legitimacy of the entire article when it states, “When Dickens traveled to the U.S. for the first time in 1941…” Sure, it’s probably a typo, but it’s a pretty bad one. And considering how fuzzy a lot of people are on history in general and dates in particular, it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people failed to recognize this for the typo that it (hopefully) is.