Necropolitics: Legislating the Dead Body and the Victorian Novel
Why do dead bodies command forms of regulation? Why are certain nineteenth-century legal structures spectral and uncanny? How are economies of death unique to narrative?
This project considers the posthumous life of characters uncannily bound by regulation. It interrogates the economic and political instrumentalization of death, and legal features that historically aimed to promote yet in many ways also inhibit reliability. I argue that while the Victorian novel upholds legal authority, it simultaneously critiques it, affording a strategy for advocacy against normative regulations through the symbol of the untraceable or dead. Drawing on the theory of power and death termed “necropolitics,” I investigate how contemporary legal issues are transformed into haunting aspects of Victorian narrative jurisprudence.
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Zigarovich, Jolene. “The Problem of Female Birthright in Chancery and the Eighteenth-Century Novel.” Law & Literature. 31:3 (2019): 487-508.
Zigarovich, Jolene (Editor). TransGothic in Literature and Culture. Series: Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature. Routledge, 2017.