restricted access “Between the Human and Brutal Creation”: Posthuman Agency and the Samuel Frost Corpus

This essay examines the print culture surrounding Samuel Frost, an unpropertied young white man with a possible neurodevelopmental disorder, who murdered his father in 1783 and his employer in 1793. Described in three New England broadsides as “the connecting grade between the human and brutal creation,” Frost is precisely the sort of marginal figure often brought to the fore in recent studies of the eighteenth century Atlantic world. Questioning recuperative methodologies that have tended to reinforce liberal assumptions about the sovereign agency of the knowing individual actor, this study of Frost as a man-media “corpus” identifies a networked, posthuman agency that forges connections across time and space.