The Self and It: Novel Objects in Eighteenth-Century England
Objects we traditionally regard as "mere" imitations of the human—dolls, automata, puppets—proliferated in eighteenth-century England's rapidly expanding market culture. During the same period, there arose a literary genre called "the novel" that turned the experience of life into a narrated object of psychological plausibility. Park makes a bold intervention in histories of the rise of the novel by arguing that the material objects abounding in eighteenth-century England's consumer markets worked in conjunction with the novel, itself a commodity fetish, as vital tools for fashioning the modern self. As it constructs a history for the psychology of objects, The Self and It revises a story that others have viewed as originating later: in an age of Enlightenment, things have the power to move, affect people's lives, and most of all, enable a fictional genre of selfhood. The book demonstrates just how much the modern psyche—and its thrilling projections of "artificial life"—derive from the formation of the early novel, and the reciprocal activity between made things and invented identities that underlie it.
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Addison aesthetic age of Enlightenment appears automata automaton Bartholomew Fair beautiful become Behn Behn’s body Burney Burney’s Cambridge Camilla castration Cecilia century character Charke Charke’s Charlotte Charke Clarabella Clarissa commodity commodity fetishism consumer Cox’s culture desire discourse Doody dress effects eighteenth eighteenth-century eighteenth-century England eighteenth-century novel embodies English Enlightenment essay Evelina experience Fable fashion doll female femininity fetishism fetishist fiction Fielding’s figures Frances Burney Freud genre Henry Fielding heroines Hoffmann’s human subject idol imagination imitation inanimate invention Lady letters libertine literary London Lovelace Lovelace’s machine main text Mandeville’s mechanical metaphor metonymy mimetic modern moral Museum narrative narrator natural novelty objectifying one’s Oroonoko Oxford Pamela penis period’s pleasure produced psychoanalysis puppet Rape readers relationship Richardson’s romance Roxana Sandman selfhood sensibility sexual Simon Schaffer social society spectacle status Surinam theater things trade trans uncanny University Press voice waxwork wish’d woman women wonder writing York