Chapter

The Fugitive's Properties

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226241111.003.0003
The Fugitive's Properties

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Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin stands as more readily pertinent to the coupling of law and literature, imaginative labor and speculative valuation, than many scholars of that text have for much of its history presupposed. This chapter suggests that in Uncle Tom's Cabin, slaves stand alongside slaveholders and speculators as figures of fiscal and linguistic “imprudence”. In the discussion of the economic “character” that circulates among them, specific attention is drawn to the slaves' linguistic imprecision and an analogy between punning and usury. In this last connection, linguistic “nonsense” serves as the most oft-encountered sign of fiduciary impropriety; the slaves' linguistic imprecision provides the symptomatic externalization of the economy's subjective effects.

Keywords: Uncle Tom's Cabin; slaves; fiscal imprudence; linguistic imprudence; speculators; slaveholders

Chapter.  42465 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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