What is the history of authorship, of invention, of intellectual property? Joseph Loewenstein describes the fragmentary and eruptive emergence of a key phase of the bibliographical ego, a specifically Early Modern form of authorial identification with printed writing. In the work of many playwrights and non-dramatic writers - and especially that of Ben Jonson - that identification is tinged, remarkably, with possessiveness. This 2002 book examines the emergence of possessive authorship within a complex industrial and cultural field. It traces the prehistory of modern copyright both within the monopolistic practices of London's acting troupes and its Stationers' Company and within a Renaissance cultural heritage. Under the pressures of modern competition, a tradition of literary, artistic and technological imitation began to fissure, unleashing jealous accusations of plagiarism and ingenious new fantasies of intellectual privacy. Perhaps no-one was more creatively attuned to this momentous transformation in Early Modern intellectual life than Ben Jonson.