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Dissecting The Labouring Body: Frankenstein, Political Anatomy And The Rise Of Ca Pitalism

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Chapter Summary

It is often forgotten that capitalism fully emerges only where older, communal forms of economic life have disintegrated, or, more accurately perhaps, where they have been dissected. For capitalism to develop, customary ties between people and the land must be severed, and communal obligations among people disrupted. Capitalism is a society of systematic market-dependence, one in which survival depends upon individuals finding a buyer for a good or service (usually labour) that they offer on the market. The term political anatomy emerged during the 1650s, as the new order of property gave rise to an unprecedented cartography of English lands. By failing to heed the plight of the poor, the hungry and the homeless, England's rulers, like Coriolanus, risk creating a rebel-monster that will turn the world upside down by using the methods of political anatomy against the rich. A similar dialectic of monstrosity emerges in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Keywords:capitalism; Coriolanus; economic life; Frankenstein; monstrosity; political anatomy



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