The Secret Life of Things
Mark Blackwell (Ed.)
Animals, Objects, and It-Narratives in Eighteenth-Century England
This collection enriches and complicates the history of prose fiction between Richardson and Fielding at mid-century and Austen at the turn of the century by focusing on it-narratives, a once popular form largely forgotten by readers and critics alike. The volume also advances important work on eighteenth-century consumer culture and the theory of things. The essays that comprise The Secret Life of Things bring new texts, and new ways of thinking about familiar ones, to our notice. Those essays range from the role of it-narratives in period debates about copyright to their complex relationships with object-riddled sentimental fictions, from anti-Semitism in Chrysal to jingoistic imperialism in The Adventures of a Rupee , from the it-narratives of a variety of whore's biography to a consideration of its contributors to an emergent middle-class ideology. Other essays situate it-narratives in the context of changing attitudes toward occult powers, the development of still-life painting, the ethical challenges posed by pet ownership and slavery to the culture of sensibility, the circulation of books in the public sphere, the cult of Sterne and the appearance of genre fiction, and the emergence of moral-didactic children's literature at the turn of the nineteenth-century.
About the editor:
Mark Blackwell is Associate Professor of English, Chair of the English Department, and Chair of the Department of Rhetoric, Language, and Culture at the University of Hartford. He won the 2004-5 James L. Clifford Prize, sponsored by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, for an essay on live-tooth transplantation in eighteenth-century England. Dr. Blackwell has published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Modern Philology, Studies in Romanticism, and Eighteenth-Century Life. His research interests include prose fiction, practices of allusion, aesthetic theory, and theories of personal identity in the eighteenth-century.