Abstract

By attending to the diverse ways that eighteenth-century fugitive advertisements collapse together the bodily and linguistic habits of wanted criminals, this article argues that linguistic embodiment was an important dimension of interpersonal communication in the eighteenth-century anglophone world. Advertisements from Britain, North America, the Caribbean, and South Asia are analyzed in order to exemplify perceptions of the linguistic embodiments of wanted criminals. In its zeal to accurately capture personal details that would disclose the being of a person in the world through text, fugitive advertising is a writing practice closely related to techniques of descriptive characterization that begin to appear in anglophone literature around the same time. This article views fugitive advertising as a salient intertext for certain characterological and narrative strategies of the late eighteenth-century novel. William Godwin’s Things as They Are; Or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) is read as an example of a novel that requires readers to envision characters’ linguistic embodiments and interactions in order to situate them within evolving systems of interpersonal categorization.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-0243
Print ISSN
0840-6286
Pages
pp. 345-373
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-30
Open Access
No
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