The Afterlife of Property: Domestic Security and the Victorian Novel

By Jeff Nunokawa | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
The Miser's Two Bodies: Sexual Perversity and
the Flight from Capital in Silas Marner

1

INSilas Marner the exodus of property from marketplace to household is as easy as ABC; the avenue of this exodus, elsewhere a circuitous route available only through elaborate pains of detection, here seems the straightest of paths. Silas Marner is the abridged edition of a story whose complicated details we have seen sprawled across the Victorian novel: when a girl's golden hair replaces a miser's lost gold, the complex lines of flight through which estate migrates from the formal economy to the household are simplified to the scheme of a fairy tale.

And even the generations of schoolchildren assigned to read Silas Marner could trace in it an elementary version of the insurance scheme that I have assessed before: the daughter who replaces the miser's money is property that transcends the risky business of commodity ownership. The miser's money is always alienable, but the father's “claim” to the “little 'un'” 1 endures any threat of loss; the system of exchange that propels the plot of the story passes over the door of this estate: while the daughter that one brother abandons to the miser compensates for the gold that another brother stole from him, she remains his even when the money is restored and the natural father seeks to reclaim her, for just as “there's debts we can't pay like money debts” (236), there are claims we can't lose like property, which can always be brought to market.

For all its simplicity, though, this story has a twist: the firm footing that the weaver eventually finds in a father's claim comes on the heels of another, more slippery escape from the sphere of exchange. Unlike others we have encountered, Silas Marner's first attempt to save property from the vicissitudes of the cash nexus is less a transfer of investments away from commodities than a translation of them, less the replacement of the commodity form than an effort to renovate it: “He would on no account have exchanged those coins, which had become his familiars, for other coins with unknown faces” (68).

The insecurity of the miser's hold on these beloved figures is only one

-100-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Afterlife of Property: Domestic Security and the Victorian Novel
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 152

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.