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The Things Things Say
Jonathan Lamb

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"By listening to the things things say, Lamb succeeds in revealing just those aspects of the long eighteenth century we have been unable to apprehend because we have assumed literary culture's commitment to human interest stories. Lamb's vast knowledge of eighteenth-century literary history, philosophy of mind, political theory, and legal history is splendidly in evidence in this fascinating, panoramic study."--Deidre Shauna Lynch, University of Toronto

"Jonathan Lamb's fascinating study of the bizarre eighteenth-century genre known as 'it narratives'--in which a watch, coach, insect, dog, or body part tells its story--leads him to consider whether authors themselves have things in common with things. After reading this book you will never again think of ink as just ink."--Janet Todd, president of Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge

"This is a real tour de force--a very learned and far-reaching book. It is far and away the best account of how eighteenth-century''it narratives' work and where they come from. But it is far more than that. Lamb is a very good close reader of texts, and his ability to join principles and ideas with individual traits and examples in texts is nothing short of dazzling."--J. Paul Hunter, University of Virginia

"Passionately argued and electrifying in its intellectual capaciousness and theoretical scope, The Things Things Say offers an illuminating account of the enmity and intimacy that bound person and thing together in the literature and culture of the eighteenth century. Tracing the shifting thresholds between human and nonhuman, between authorial agent and intractable thing, Lamb unveils the way civil, political, and literary fictions of the person sought to describe what might be proper to the self while confronting all that obdurately cannot be claimed for one's own. This is a groundbreaking work of scholarship, an exhilarating and enchanting argument that is as provocative in the questions it raises as it is persuasive in the answers it tenders."--Lynn Festa, Rutgers University

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File created: 4/18/2014

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