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Encounters with the Object: Advertisements, Time, and Literary Discourse in the Early Eighteenth-Century Thing-Poem
Barbara M. Benedict
Vol. 40, No. 2 (Winter, 2007), pp. 193-207
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Sponsor: American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS).
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30053450
Page Count: 15
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Although consumption theory assumes a distinction between subjectivity and objectivity, this essay argues that early eighteenth-century poets, especially Swift, Pope, and Gay, view the margin between things and humans as hazardously pervious. Subjectivity might collapse into objectivity under the pressure of encountering things, while objects, in the contexts of a consumer culture and a literature of printed advertising, were becoming the subjects of literature and culture. The result is the thing-poem: a poetic redefinition of the relations of subject to time that borrows from occasional verse, satire, posies, and advertising to portray the clash between durable object and transient subject.
Eighteenth-Century Studies © 2007 The Johns Hopkins University Press