Fugitive Sound

in The Fugitive's Properties

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226044330
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226241111 | DOI:
Fugitive Sound

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter examines the relation of new forms of intangible property to a concern in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century jurisprudence with the textuality of the law—the link, in short, between property's disputed ontology and legal hermeneutics. It considers property's drift in the direction of the commodification of personhood under the rubric of “property's personification.” It emphasizes one particular concern in these unfolding disputes over intangible property: the effort to secure one's voice as property in the face of its mechanical reproduction. In addressing the question of voice as property, the chapter draws into focus a sustained example of the changing form of the commodity relation. It situates the issues surrounding voice and its mechanical reproduction within the context of an ongoing crisis in American jurisprudence—that crisis in which personhood not only appears increasingly subject to the domain of property but, more specifically, its commodification resonates in the nineteenth-century moral imagination as theft, dispossession, unjust expropriation.

Keywords: intangible property; jurisprudence; legal hermeneutics; personification; commodification

Chapter.  30864 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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