The Representation of Persons and What They Own Themselves to Be

by Jonathan Lamb

A novel was published in 2012 by a Canadian writer called Sheila Heti whose title, and indeed whose theme, are pat to the enquiry of this Colloquy (`What is the nature of literary being’), since they pose the same question, as it were from inside and outside the book: How should a person be?: a novel from life. The first person narrator and leading character, Sheila, is trying to find an answer by a series of experiments—writing, painting, travelling, friendship, and sex—intended to foster a union with herself, Sheila with Sheila, and perhaps with the other Sheila too. She goes to New York, for instance, and her friend Margaux complains:  `You figured out how a person should be and then you went to New York to be it' (Heti 2012: 247). But like so many of her adventures this proves to be an illusion, or an impersonation, of being, and it isn't until she discovers her relation to something like property that the secret is disclosed and she can emerge hors de page as herself alone: `You have an apple. Put a fence around it. Once you have put a fence around everything you value, then you have the total circle of your heart' (300). Her story stops soon afterwards, when she no longer needs to represent her person as the fictional Sheila. Presumably she is that person now, self-authored. Being belongs to her, the circle of her heart is closed, and she needs no further alibi in print.

The novel has been widely welcomed as an exercise in irony. Personally I find its masquerade of a Bildungsroman an example of transcendent frivolity, but Heti seems alert to some of the issues raised by the function of the person in the inextricable histories of fiction and civil society. For example, if the job of the novelist goes beyond representation, and moves into the business of creating personality or character as a kind of ontological event, what resources would be needed—rhetorical, generic, imaginative—to succeed in such an enterprise? Are we perhaps looking in the wrong place when we read a novel expecting this fuller presence to appear, and might it not be in some other genre we would find it or experience it? And in the event it happens, would this emanation of being belong to a human or something else? I don't promise to examine all of these matters today, but I shall attempt to probe some of them.

The fiction that Samuel Johnson is aiming to define in his 4thRambler under the heading of comic romance is what we now call the novel; and what distinguishes the novel from chivalric and salon romance is its function as either a reflection or a medium of experience. That is to say, in order to define more exactly the duties of novelists, Johnson has two different kinds of reader in mind. The first one is a person like himself, with plenty of experience of the world, able to compare what he has seen with what the story purports to reflect of it. So the modern novel has no obligations toward such a reader except to present an image of life whose fidelity will be judged according to the standard of probability. It will resemble the world or it won't. There is no engagement of the experienced reader's imagination. But the other reader has no experience and very few ideas, and must rely entirely on imagination if what is read is to be interesting. So Johnson calls upon the novelist to engage the aroused imagination of this reader in `mock encounters in the art of necessary defence,’ that is, to present the world not as a reflection of what actually exists, but as a series of hypotheses of events that are likely to come about in the future of a young and unlearned female. When experience catches up with imagination, she will be ready-armed to deal with it; so the experience and its consequences will have been framed and managed by conjecture. This is how fiction works, by presenting speculative accounts of what can be supposed to happen that are capable of shaping or influencing actual events. Consequently the most dangerous fiction young people are likely to read is not romance filled with blatant improbabilities; rather it is a probable reflection of real life from which the conjectural element of self-defence has been removed, supplanted by promiscuous representations of characters who exhibit equal mixtures of good and bad qualities. Johnson is thinking of Fielding's Tom Jones, but Richardson's Clarissa is quite as perilous.

Johnson’s essay summarises a century of thought and experiment devoted to the constitutive power of fiction that arose from a revolutionary union between poetics and political history in the seventeenth century. The implications of this union have been admirably explored by Vicky Kahn in her book Wayward Contracts, and all I want to do here is to outline how civil society relied on conjectural fictions before the novel began to use them; and then to exhibit the strains that developed in the process of actualizing mock encounters. When Robinson Crusoe structures the polity of his island according to the decrees of his prophetic imagination (`as I imagined it, so it was,’ is the phrase he uses on two important occasions, one at the beginning of his island sojourn and the other at its end), he invokes the sequence of the fiction on which civil society was actually reared. This was the fiction of the original contract, the hypothesis that at some stage human beings migrated en masse from a state of nature to civil society. Although they both relied on it heavily, Hobbes and afterwards Rousseau readily conceded that the original contract was not an historical account of how society began:  `It may peradventure be thought, there never was such a time . . . and I believe it was never generally so’ (Hobbes 2004: 89); but it was a powerful and probable fiction of self-defence, or self-preservation as it was usually called, and he dared his opponents to challenge the reality of the happy consequences of believing in it.  

With regard to that former crowd of individuals who were once natural persons, but now are grown into artificial ones enfolded by the unity of the state, fiction has a lot more to do. The artificial mortal god Hobbes dubbed Leviathan is, as he puts it, the person of that former multitude, just as the sovereign is the person of Leviathan. From those joint icons of personhood extends the chain of offices, commissions, charters, and rights held by virtue of being one of the many persons of the person of the king. It is an endless circuit of personate activity and Hobbes explains how fictions not only begot it, but now proliferate from it, enclosing more than just adult human beings, `There are few things, that are uncapable of being represented by Fiction.  Inanimate things . . . may be Personated . . . Likewise, Children, Fooles, and Mad-men . . . may be Personated’ (Hobbes 2004: 113). Hobbes was not at all reluctant to make a space for things, as long as they were properly represented. Pufendorf thought this was going too far, `For there appears no Necessity of introducing a Fiction of the Law, to constitute Persons by which [a Church, an Hospital, a Bridge, etc.] should be represented' (Pufendorf 1729: 8 [I, xii]). That was because Pufendorf relied on distinctions between political and moral persons that Hobbes could never allow, since they dispensed with personate representation. For Pufendorf authority is not a matter of performance but of empowerment of `particular Men’ from a real central source (ibid.); whereas Hobbes presents all functions of the state as a circuit of delegations originating in a fiction through which power flows, never pausing to consolidate. It doesn’t matter that the history emerging from such an artificial network looks like `drawing up a plan for a novel,’ as Kant was to put it later in the next century in his essay `Conjectures on the Beginning of Human History’ (Kant 1991: 221), because the fiction of a personate state works in the exactly same way as the novel defined by Johnson. You begin with a conjecture designed for self-preservation, and a real commonwealth emerges from it, strengthened and enlarged by subsidiary fictions. It doesn't matter that the arrangement is preposterous, with the cart of conjecture in front of the horse of experience: the proof lies in what follows, in the history promoted by fiction. 

How well this fiction worked Kant himself demonstrated when he announced in The Metaphysics of Morals that personhood, far from being the mere attribute or property of humanity, was in fact its vital proof and vindication—Menschheit in unserer Person was Kant's slogan and warrant of human rights. Fiction had come true by means of a remarkable switch between the ideas of the person and the human, as Daniel Heller-Roazen has noted: `The Kantian formula `humanity in our person' (Menschheit in unserer Person) . . . sets in motion a striking inversion [of an ancient concept]. Whereas the Roman jurists defined the "person" by attributing it to a "human being," Kant characterises the quality of "humanity" by locating it "in our person" . . . inscribing "humanity" within the very "person" that it should, in principle, enable' (Heller-Roazen 2009: 154). Coleridge summed up this metamorphosis as follows: `From substance Person, from Person Sense of right' (2002: 1.1518, f. 24), charting one possible route from personhood to ontological self-evidence, except that a self-evident person is necessarily an illusion. I shall try to show why.

While Locke didn’t explicitly call the person artificial, he produced the idea of the person in the same way that Hobbes produced Leviathan, as cause and effect of its own agency. For him the purposes of civil life are underwritten by the conjecture that the self and consciousness are conjoint, and that from their union the person springs, fit to bear a name, hold property and be responsible for whatever he or she does and says. Locke achieves this transformation of self into person in a sentence that confounds the subject and object of it, when he says, `That which the consciousness of this present thinking thing can join it self, makes the same Person, and is one self with it, and with nothing else, and so attributes to it self, and owns all the Actions of that thing, as its own, as far as the consciousness reaches, and no farther’ (2.27.17). Consciousness of the self makes the person, but the person already owns in the sense of tells the history of this achievement as its own property, trying for the same self-evidence as Kant's person. Likewise the person of Leviathan is born from the very same contract for which its existence is a precondition—it had to be before it could come into being.  Hume called this kind of shuffling a blatant fiction, `For when we attribute identity, in an improper sense, to variable or interrupted objects, our mistake is not confined to the expression, but is commonly attended with a fiction, either of something invariable . . . or of something mysterious . . . or at least with a propensity to such fictions’ (Hume 1978: 255). Notwithstanding the preposterous arrangement necessary for Hobbes’s fiction of the personate state and Locke’s fiction of the personate self, each is careful to avoid confounding a person with an immaterial or immortal substance such as soul or essence, or even with the potential perpetuity of character. A person is always a representation of some secular union of which it manages to be both the creature and the creator. It is a useful tautology, not an entity, and it terminates in death.

With his idea of the `mock encounter’ Johnson anticipated what Catherine Gallagher has proposed in her essay on fictionality, where she says the speculative effort required from readers of novels is in fact demanded from everyone involved in the contractual relationships of a modern commercial state: `Readers were invited to make suppositional predictions . . . to speculate upon the action, entertaining various hypotheses [until it becomes clear that] the reality of the story itself is a kind of suppositional speculation’ (Gallagher  2006: 1.346). They were entering into the same hypothetical relation to the future that governed all transactions in civil society, from dancing to marriage, as Henry Tilney points out to Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey. `No enterprise,' says Gallagher, `could prosper without some degree of imaginative play  . . .  almost all of the developments we associate with modernity . . . required the kind of cognitive provisionality one practices in reading fiction' (1.346-7). The novel exercises the ur-conjecture out of which all representations, bargains, properties, persons and histories are made, namely, `What if what I don’t know, I did?’ Once that hypothesis is admitted, the future starts to take place as it was expected it might. 

We can see more clearly then that Johnson is setting up a contract between the novelist and the reader that will govern both the mode of consuming fiction as well as what is consumed: the novel will describe events arising from exactly the same provisional belief or credit that makes them interesting to read about, generating a subjunctive relation to the real that extends from the parlour to the ends of the earth. As everyone imagines it, so will it be. The corollary of such a state of affairs is that fiction becomes less referential as it becomes more extensively conjectural, and the important standard of probability becomes to a degree otiose. Sure, there'll be no dragons or castles, but armoires and tea-cups can be quite as rivetting to an appetent imagination. At this point in its development the experienced reader capable of judging degrees of probability is surplus to requirements. And the question arising is this: If there is no material difference between a contractual conjecture and what then takes place as a result of its being made, is there likewise none between a person represented and created by such fictions and a sane human being endowed with rights, as Kant seems to claim and as Heti is keen to prove?

Kant had premised his Metaphysics of Morals on the strength of his distinction between a person as `a subject whose actions can be imputed to him' and a thing as `that to which nothing can be imputed' (Kant 1996: 16). One has attributes and owns things, while the other has none and is owned. The greatest peril to be encountered by such a person is sexual intercourse, of all human activities except slave-owning the one where `one person is acquired by the other as if it were a thing.' And that thingness is not moderated by Kant's delicacy, for he is talking about `acquiring a member of a human being,' by which he means genitals, the person’s parts or bits of consuming interest to those involved in the sexual act. It is solely owing to the perfect mutuality of the marriage contract that persons survive these dreadful encounters, for matrimony ensures that the one party has the other in exactly the same ratio of possession: `In this way each reclaims itself and restores its personality.' What they recover is not a remnant but  `the whole person, since a person is an absolute unity' (1996: 62). Hobbes has a premonitory intuition of a contract such as this when he imagines two persons entering a contract where there is no antecedent authority to govern its outcome—where, as he puts it, there are only actors involved and no author: `For the Covenant made with the Author, is not valid, without his Counter-assurance. But if he that so Covenanteth, knew before hand he was to expect no other assurance, than the Actors word; then is the Covenant valid; because the Actor in this case maketh himself the Author’ (Hobbes 2004: 113). The product of a fiction, that is to say, writes himself out of it.

The lurid sexual fantasies of authors such as Diderot and Crebillon are Kant's nightmares. In  Diderot's Les bijoux indiscrets female genitalia sing raucously of the libertine proclivities of their owners and lovers, operatic vaginas turn persons into things and laugh at them. In this fantasy the clue is given to search for more examples of personhood in disarray, overwhelmed by the force of things emancipated from the condition of property. Diderot also makes it clear by using the conventions of the Arabian Nights that it will be in genres different from personate fiction that the disunity of the person will be most visible. The advertisement on the title-page of the first it-narrative to be published in England, Charles Gildon’s The Golden Spy (1709), gives us a lot of hints. The sub-title runs, `A Political Journal of the British Nights Entertainment of War and Peace and Love and Politics:  Wherein are laid open The Secret Miraculous Power and Progress of Gold, in the Courts of Europe.’ Gildon is alluding to three popular genres of fiction. First is the spy literature that became current after Giovanni Paolo Marana's Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy were published in 1683, such as The Jewish Spy of the Marquis d’Argens, the Persian Letters of Montesquieu, and The English Spy of Ned Ward, with its many imitators. Second among Gildon’s genres is The Arabian Nights Entertainment, translated and partly composed by Antoine Galland between 1704 and 1717,  strong traces of which can be found in the erotic fiction of Crebillon and Diderot, in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and subsequently in pantomimes and Gothic novels. It married a new kind of oriental fiction to older fabular genres, such as Pilpay’s, Aesop’s and Phaedrus’s.  The third genre is the secret history, popularized by Aphra Behn and Delarivier Manley, such as Letters Written between a Nobleman and his Sister and The New Atalantis, in which real scandals are reported in the form of romance. There is a fourth genre couched under the title of Gildon’s narrative, and that is The Golden Ass of Apuleius, loosely translated by Gildon the year before, the story of a man turned into an animal that encloses another story of a woman turned into a goddess—an ancient romance already exhibiting the vocality of things that Gildon was now trying to adapt for the modern age with his talking coins. Finally there is the Epistle Nuncupatory that the `Bookseller’ of The Golden Spy writes to `The Author of a Tale of a Tub,’ Swift’s satirically conceived exponent of the new genre of secular biography, a blend of fable, anecdote, confession, and philosophical rumination that now dominated Grub Street thanks to the genius and impudence of John Dunton, anonymous author of various memoirs of himself and the compiler of the Wikipaedia of the fin de siècle, The Athenian Mercury.

Briefly to summarise the tendencies of these genres of fiction, they include an author who is singular, usually anonymous and presently without a home or a community—a foreigner, a traveler, a Grub Street writer, a slave, an animal or a thing:  a voice heard on the fringe of the social world, on the street, down in a cellar or up in a garret, or on a frontier between nations or species. These authors are not persons according to the definition supplied by Hobbes and Locke, or even Pufendorf and Kant, because they belong nowhere and own (in the joint sense of possessing and uttering) nothing they are authorized to own. They publish information that is stolen, scandalous or dangerous, such as might (as Gildon’s author puts it), `destroy all Confidence betwixt Man and Man, and so put an End to human Society’ (Gildon 1709: 116). Gildon further specifies this information as `the Sense of Things,’ invoking the title of Campanella’s De Sensu rerum (1620) which celebrates the perceptive faculty linking all matter, whether animate or inanimate, in a web of sensibility (2). Everywhere that Hobbes and Locke wished to erect a boundary or mount a distinction, the authors of these fictions are determined to make a breach—between the foreign and the domestic, mind and matter, secrecy and publicity, property and booty, history and fiction, the human and matter, animate or inanimate.

There is a strong connexion between things loosened from the constraints of being owned and madness, the non-sexual form of personal disintegration.   When Robinson Crusoe finds that the three hats, one cap and two nonmatching shoes washed up on the shore are unreadable remainders of his lost shipmates, his agitation is extreme: `This threw me into terrible Agonies of Mind, that for a while I run about like a Mad-man’ (Defoe 1983: 47). When the eponymous Sir George Ellison’s kinsman Sir William goes mad in Sarah Scott’s novel, and his estate is sequestered by a commission of lunacy, Sir George’s attempted cure is to give his cousin some things he can call his own—pigs, birds and rabbits—using property to try to soothe a troubled mind. But there is no cure for the inhabitants of the Cave of Spleen in The Rape of the Lock where former humans are arrayed like curiosities, all of them mad because the paraphernalia of youth and desire would not stand still: 

Here living Tea-pots stand, one arm held out,

One bent; the handle this, and that the spout: 

A Pipkin there, like Homer’s Tripod walks;

Here sighs a Jar, and there a Goose-pye talks. (4. 49-52; 1.129)

In the next century Maupassant wrote a short story in the first person about a man whose furniture and bibelots suddenly rise up and leave his house, reappearing in a seedy second-hand shop run by a monstrous dwarf from whom he tries to repurchase some chairs. The chairs are never delivered and the upshot is the insanity of the owner, whose committal to an asylum coincides with the reoccupation of the house by his goods. Henry James was impressed by this story, and in The Spoils of Poynton tells a tale of such algebraic complexity concerning humans and their relation to a collection of precious objects that it seems  the muddle can only be resolved by an insane act of arson. The mania of Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick is partly explained by the chapter entitled `Fast Fish and Loose Fish,’ defining the limits of claiming property in a whale. Ahab thought he had made the white whale fast with his weapon, only to have the fish fight free and take harpoon, line and Ahab’s leg with it. Ishmael explains: `That before living agent, now became the living instrument. If such a furious trope may stand, his special lunacy stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned all its concentred cannon upon its own mad mark’ (Melville 1972: 284). The idea that the creature of the brain turns on its creator and masters it is common in this literature:  in the fables of Pilpay, for instance, the events of the stories turn into stories themselves, breeding an endless supply of self-telling tales. In his fable `La chatte metamorphosee en femme’ La Fontaine compares the situation it depicts to a jug that drinks from itself, or fabric that works its own web.

There are traces here of the preposterous circularity of personate fictions, but they outline the opposite of a person. Here is Swift's Author of the Tale, about to disappear into the inanity of his manuscript: `I am now trying an Experiment very frequent among Modern Authors; which is, to write upon Nothing; When the Subject is utterly exhausted, to let the Pen still move one; by some called, the Ghost of Wit' (1920: 208). In this travesty of self-evidence, Swift shows how the immediacy of being is not so much an illusion or even what Kant calls dismemberment, as self-annihilation;  `Here I am, gone!'

The question I want to propose now is this: If these ephemeral genres of fiction erupt in opposition to the novel even before the novel has fully got under way, what inclination in the imagination or mind of the public made their anarchy and singularity so interesting? I suspect that their attraction lay in communicating the excitement that lies in non-contractual experience, free of obligations to the state, the self, others, the future, and the demands of reason. Here is Jean-Jacques Rousseau talking about the delights of reverie that he experienced after being struck down by a large dog. `Entirely taken up by the present, I could remember nothing. I had no distinct notion of myself as a person, nor had I the least idea of what had just happened to me. I did not know who I was or where I was; I felt neither pain, fear, nor anxiety. I watched my blood flowing as I might have watched a stream, without even thinking that the blood had anything to do with me. I felt throughout my whole being such a wonderful calm, that whenever I recall this feeling I can find nothing to compare with it in all the pleasures that stir our lives' (Rousseau 2004: 39). Johnson called reveries like these an `invisible riot of the mind,' a `secret prodigality of being' (Rambler 89), and he was right, if being a person equals being. Rousseau had managed quite to reverse Coleridge's summary of the Metaphysics of Morals: `From Sense of right person, from person substance.'

Of course this success of Rousseau's is remembered and represented, it does not happen in front of the reader. No author is able to do that unless s/he can convey, like a letter-writer, some physical trace—crumpled paper, tear-stains, ink-blots, a sentence broken off midway—coincident with the loss of personhood. But for the reader with a lively imagination there are more opportunities than those extended by an author's inky fingers. With imagination no longer tethered to working fictions, it can do as it pleases, especially if encouragement is offered in the presentation of things as `radically free from representation,' as Jane Bennett calls it, where the thing or the image acts not as a sign of personate unity but by its own force as thing or image, for instance genitals that are of what they sing (Bennett 2010: 3). In the late vitalism of Hans Driesch and A.N. Whitehead chronicled by Bennett the emphasis falls on a common world that has nothing to do with contracts rather with, as Whitehead has it, `a world of colours, sounds, and other sense-objects, related in space and time to enduring objects such as stones, trees, and human bodies' (Whitehead 1967: 89). Some of the most powerful reveries of the eighteenth century are experienced by natural historians such as William Dampier, Bernardin de St Pierre, Mungo Park and Rousseau as they lose themselves in taste of a fruit, the texture of a cloud, or the structure of a plant or flower. Erasmus Darwin composed a non-scandalous version of Les bijoux indiscrets in the his Loves of the Plants, where sexual parts are joined in every possible permutation with no damage done to the principle of personate unity because no person is involved. Whitehead explains, `My point is that in our sense-experience we know away from and beyond our own personality' (Whitehead 1967: 88-9). Lord Kames calls this sort of disorientation `ideal presence,’ a reverie in which all territorial and temporal coordinates are lost, where powers of reflection and comparison are abolished, and every impression stands, as he says, `upon the same footing as fable,’ identical `with the effects produced by fiction’ (Kames 2005: 1. 70-71). That is to say, what is read is not what is conjectured as likely to happen, it is what is happening.

The reaction of persons of experience to this kind of writing and reading was predictably negative, and not altogether consistent. Thomas Beddoes and Thomas Trotter were medical men astonished at the rise in the rate of nervous diseases, which Trotter reckoned now comprised two thirds of all medical complaints. Beddoes wrote, `It has fallen in my way, several times before, to speak of novels, as baneful to health,' and after giving numerous examples of prevalent indispositions easily caught from a circulating libraries, he says, `I hope now that I have led the reader to a situation from which he can perceive the mischievous inward workings, occasioned by quick, desultory reading in general' (Beddoes 1802: 3.164). Yet he had no qualms about organising Humphrey Davy's public exhibition of inward workings at the Pneumatic Institute, where nitrous oxide caused Davy to exclaim, `Nothing exists but thoughts!  The world is composed of impressions, ideas, pleasures and pains' (Davy 1800: 489). When he uttered those words he wasn't making hypotheses about the world, he was feeling and making it as he spoke. In his calendar of diseases of the mind, Trotter wrote, `The passion of novel reading is intitled to a place here. In the present age it is one of the great causes of nervous disorders. The mind that can amuse itself with the love-sick trash of most modern compositions of this kind, seeks enjoyment beneath the level of a rational being. It creates for itself an ideal world, on the loose descriptions of romantic love, that leave passion without any moral guide in the real occurrences of life' (Trotter 1807: 89). Yet along with novels Trotter instanced the entire structure of a contractual credit economy—virtual money, uncertain returns on investments, and `that puddle of corruption, the Stock Exchange'—as responsible for the jangled nerves of the nation. What conclusion can be drawn, but that the fictions from which civil society sprang provided the conditions for fictions destined to deprave it, and that the inaugurating conjecture of these later novels was not that of civil fiction (`What if what I don’t know, I did?’), but its opposite, a species of cultural amnesia: `What if what I do know, I didn’t?’   

So to come back to Sheila Heti's question, `How should a person be?' one would have to answer that novels representing experience in conjectural or provisional forms certainly cater for persons but never deal with being. Other marginal genres of fiction can generate powerful intuitions of affective unity with the world of things, but only at the expense of the person. That is to say, Heti's apple, fenced around in order to complete the circle of her heart, cannot possibly be the same apple one picks up in Locke's state of nature in order to make a property. It must be William Butler Yeats’s golden apple of the sun.


Thomas Beddoes,  1802.  Hygeia:  Essays Moral and Medical on the Causes affecting the personal state of our middling and affluent classes, 3 vols., Bristol: J. Mills

Jane Bennett,  2010.  Vibrant Matter:  A Political Ecology of Things, Durham:  Duke University Press

Samuel Taylor Coleridge,  2002.  Notebooks, 3 vols., ed. Kathleen Coburn, London: Routledge

Humphrey Davy,  1800,  Researches, Chemical and Philosophical, Chiefly Concerning Nitrous Oxide, London: J. Johnson

Daniel Defoe,  1983.  The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, ed. Donald J. Crowley, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Catherine Gallagher,  2006.  `The Rise of Fictionality,’ in Franco Moretti ed., The Novel, 3 vols., Princeton: Princeton University Press

Charles Gildon,  1709.  The Golden Spy, London: J. Woodward

Daniel Heller-Roazen,  2009.  The Enemy of All:  Piracy and the Law of Nations, New York: Zone Books

Sheila Heti, 2012.  How should a person be :  a novel from life, New York: Henry Holt

Thomas Hobbes,  2004.  Leviathan, ed. Richard Tuck, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Henry Home, Lord Kames,  2005.  Elements of Criticism, 2 vols., ed. Peter Jones, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund

Samuel Johnson,  1791.  Rambler, 4 vols. in 2, London: W. Locke

Immanuel Kant,  1991.  `Conjectures on the Beginning of Human History,’ in Kant:  Political Writings, ed. H. Reiss, trans. H.B. Nisbet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

--------------------,   1996.  The Metaphysics of Morals, ed. Mary Gregor, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

John Locke,  1979.  An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch, Oxford: Clarendon Press

Samuel Pufendorf,  1729.  Of the Law of Nature and Nations, trans. Basil Kennett, London: J. Walter et al.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,  2004.  Reveries of the Solitary Walker, trans. Peter France, London: Penguin

Jonathan Swift,  1920.  A Tale of a Tub, ed. A.C. Guthkelch and David Nichol Smith, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Thomas Trotter,  1807,  A View of the Nervous Temperament, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme

A.N. Whitehead,  1967.  Science and the Modern World, New York:  Free Press

Join the Colloquy

The Nature of Literary Being

Nancy Ruttenburg
Journal Article