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The Things Say
Author: Jonathan Lamb

ISBN: 9780691171258
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 7 June 2016
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5 x 1.8
Description:


One of the new forms of prose fiction that emerged in the eighteenth century was the first-person narrative told by things such as coins, coaches, clothes, animals, or insects. This is an ambitious new account of the context in which these "it narratives" became so popular. What does it mean when property declares independence of its owners and begins to move and speak? Jonathan Lamb addresses this and many other questions as he advances a new interpretation of these odd tales, from Defoe, Pope, Swift, Gay, and Sterne, to advertisements, still life paintings, and South Seas journals.


Lamb emphasizes the subversive and even nonsensical quality of what things say; their interests are so radically different from ours that we either destroy or worship them. Existing outside systems of exchange and the priorities of civil society, things in fact advertise the dissident obscurity common to slave narratives all the way from Aesop and Phaedrus to Frederick Douglass and Primo Levi, a way of meaning only what is said, never saying what is meant. This is what Defoe's Roxana calls "the Sense of Things," and it is found in sounds, substanc...

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