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/doll, object/thing, interiority/exteriority, authenticity/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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