The self and it: novel objects in eighteenth-century England by Julie Park

By Julie Park

Gadgets we typically regard as "mere" imitations of the human—dolls, automata, puppets—proliferated in eighteenth-century England's quickly increasing industry tradition. in the course of the similar interval, there arose a literary style referred to as "the novel" that grew to become the adventure of lifestyles right into a narrated item of mental plausibility. Park makes a daring intervention in histories of the increase of the radical through arguing that the fabric gadgets abounding in eighteenth-century England's shopper markets labored together with the radical, itself a commodity fetish, as important instruments for fashioning the trendy self. because it constructs a background for the psychology of gadgets, The Self and It revises a narrative that others have seen as originating later: in an age of Enlightenment, issues have the facility to maneuver, have an effect on people's lives, and such a lot of all, permit a fictional style of selfhood. The ebook demonstrates simply how a lot the fashionable psyche—and its exciting projections of "artificial life"—derive from the formation of the early novel, and the reciprocal job among made issues and invented identities that underlie it.

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1 (Fall 2006): 23–49. An earlier version of Chapter 2 was published as “‘I Shall Enter Her Heart’: Fetishizing Feeling in Clarissa,” Studies in the Novel 37, no. 4 (Winter 2005): 371–93. An earlier version of Chapter 6 was published as “Unheimlich Maneuvers: Eighteenth-Century Dolls and Repetitions in Freud,” Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 44, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 45–68. Frontispiece: “Moll Handy,” 1740. Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of Stanford University Press.

5 The novel as a literary form—both in its material status as a book, a thing that binds printed paper, and as a purported “container” of an individual subjectivity and the objects that chart and surround it—operates in a fashion similar to the sacks and pockets that hold the Laputians’ tools for language in Gulliver’s Travels. As it foregrounds the status of objects by using them to express qualities of individual experience—Richardson’s catalogues of Pamela’s bundles of clothing and Defoe’s inventories of Moll’s stolen goods are two examples—and by being an object itself, the eighteenth-century English novel self-consciously incorporates the tools and language of “objecthood” as well as objectivity.

4. Commercial products in literature. 5. Capitalism and literature—England—History—18th century. I. Title. 509353—dc22 2009005429 For my parents With respect to the characters of mankind, my curiosity is quite satisfied: I have done with the science of men, and must now endeavour to amuse myself with the novelty of things. 5 Acknowledgments My first acknowledgment of indebtedness goes to my advisors and teachers at Princeton. Earliest on, Diana Fuss led me to think through objects and things. She gave me many other things as an advisor, including the courage for patience, clarity, and difficult questions.

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