Out of the Closet, into the World: The Power of Puppets in Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist
Articles
Rūta Šlapkauskaitė
Vilnius University, Lithuania
Published 2019-12-20
https://doi.org/10.15388/Litera.2019.4.8
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Keywords

dolls
puppets
cabinet house
sugar
miniature
sapient agency
object
thinking thing
commodification
capitalism
Calvinist ethics
human subjectivity

How to Cite

Šlapkauskaitė R. (2019) “Out of the Closet, into the World: The Power of Puppets in Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist”, Literatūra, 61(4), pp. 101-121. doi: 10.15388/Litera.2019.4.8.

Abstract

The present paper examines the tropological significance of miniature figures in Jessie Burton’s novel The Miniaturist. By highlighting the ways in which the narrative’s figural system negotiates the structural and conceptual dichotomies of human/dollobject/thinginteriority/exteriorityauthenticity/artificiality, and mobility/stasis, this reading of Burton’s novel attempts to show how the literary text rethinks the social life of things and the ambiguity of subject-object relations in the seventeenth-century Netherlands. Aligned with the commercial circuits of material culture, which underscore the moral ambivalence of the novel’s Dutch society, material objects are shown to exceed their decorative function and reveal their destructive purchase on human life.

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