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Extra resources for Bodies and Things in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture
Italo Calvino, Mr Palomar, r trans. William Weaver (London: Secker & Warburg, 1985), p. 102. 3. Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, ed. Stevie Davies (London: Penguin, 2006), p. 25. Further references are given parenthetically in the text. 4. Wilfred R. Bion, Second Thoughts (London: Karnac Books, 1967). See ‘Attacks on Linking’, pp. 106–7; ‘A Theory of Thinking’, pp. 116–19. 5. Stephen Jay Gould and Rosamond Wolff Purcell, Crossing Over: Where Art and Science Meett (New York: Three Rivers Press, Random House, 2000), p.
Lastly, grotesque things are mobile. They talk, talking back at us, and appear to challenge our control and ownership over them. Cruikshank depicted the stampede of objects fleeing from the exhibition upon its closure. 38 We remember Circumventing the Subject–Object Binary 31 that not only does Marx give his table animate legs, but also, at the end of his discussion of the fetish, envisages the commodity talking. In fiction we find Scrooge’s door-knocker coming alive. The Podsnap plate in Our Mutual Friend d utters, as we have seen, and there are ‘staring heads’ on the wine coolers, the forks ‘widen the mouths’ of the company, asserting their autonomy by force-feeding the guests.
This precious vessel was now placed on my knee, and I was cordially invited to eat the delicate circlet of pastry upon it. Vain favour! . 3 The child’s vitality wanes, the plate fades. Child and plate are interdependent, or, better, the child and the plate exist as a continuum. Her bodily and psychic life flows into the faded plate so that they are permeable to one another as the vividness of the plate succumbs to somatic and psychological illness. During Jane’s profound depressive illness and convalescence following the trauma of the red room, the nursery maid brings her a pastry on a plate she had previously been forbidden to touch: Bessie’s offering is a belated, though sincere, act of mothering, the second genuine act of loving kindness described in the narrative.