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The Agency of Objects in English Prose, 1789–1832

Conspicuous Things

Authors: Hatton, Nikolina

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  • Participates in the methodological shift within literary studies that challenges the supremacy of the human
  • Bridges existing scholarship on objects in eighteenth-century literature and culture and objects in Victorian literature and culture
  • Analyzes multiple genres including short narrative, novel, didactic literature, and autobiography
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-49111-6
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-49110-9
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About this book

The Agency of Objects in English Prose, 1789–1832: Conspicuous Things engages with new materialist methodologies to examine shifting perceptions of nonhuman agency in English prose at the turn of the nineteenth century. Examining texts as diverse as it-narratives, the juvenile writings and novels of Jane Austen, De Quincey’s autobiographical writings, and silver fork novels, Nikolina Hatton demonstrates how object agency is viewed in this period as constitutive—not just in regard to human subjectivity but also in aesthetic creation. Objects appear in these novels and short prose works as aids, intermediaries, adversaries, and obstructions, as well as both intimately connected to humans and strangely alien. Through close readings, the book traces how object agency, while sometimes perceived as a threat by authors and characters, also continues to be understood as a source of the delightfully unexpected—in everyday life as well as in narrative.

About the authors

Nikolina Hatton is Assistant Professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, where she researches early modern women’s writing. She is co-editor of Hacks, Quacks & Impostors: Affected and Assumed Identities in Literature (2019). Her work has appeared in Open Cultural Studies.


Reviews

The Agency of Objects refreshes the scholarly conversation about the impact of so-called ‘new materialism’ on literary studies while training attention on a pivotal transitional period: after the first heyday of it-narratives in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, but before the ascendancy of the Victorian novel. Following Latour, Hatton offers a thought-provoking account of the networked agency of human-object assemblages in early nineteenth-century British prose." (Mark Blackwell, Professor of English, University of Hartford, USA)

 

“This book is a remarkable contribution for its readings of the It Narrative, Austen’s juvenilia, De Quincy’s autobiographical works, and the silver fork novel. It brilliantly employs an emergent body of critical theory in New Materialisms and Thing Theory to uncover a vital social history of people, things, and literary forms. Opening our eyes to the work of literary objects, it demonstrates how non-human items played a crucial role in constructing human fictions.” (Elizabeth Kowaleski Wallace, Professor of English Boston College, USA, and author of Consuming Subjects: Women, Shopping, and Business in the Eighteenth Century (1997))

 

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction: Objects in Prose, from Actants to Things

    Pages 1-42

    Hatton, Nikolina

  • A Pin, a Mirror, and a Pen: Everyday It-Narrators, Conspicuous Tools

    Pages 43-89

    Hatton, Nikolina

  • “Very Conspicuous on One of His Fingers”: Generative Things in Austen’s Juvenilia, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma

    Pages 91-136

    Hatton, Nikolina

  • Unwieldy Objects in De Quincey’s Confessions (1821): Things That Undermine Subjectivity

    Pages 137-183

    Hatton, Nikolina

  • Performing Authorship in the Silver Fork Novel: Managing a Thing Filled with Objects

    Pages 185-227

    Hatton, Nikolina

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-49111-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-49110-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Agency of Objects in English Prose, 1789–1832
Book Subtitle
Conspicuous Things
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-49111-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-49111-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-49110-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 247
Number of Illustrations
4 b/w illustrations
Topics

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