This article reads George Sand's Le Compagnon du Tour de France (1840) alongside Karl Marx's “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.” It considers how these contemporaries bring to bear on their accounts of labor, estrangement, and the structures of property an attention to the fate of the senses under capitalism. Both elaborate a critique of political economy—Sand's voiced by her worker-hero—that demonstrates how the individual's sensuous life is circumscribed by the pressures of material subsistence. The article examines how this attention to the senses inflects their visions of a communist future in which the very character of labor is transformed. In showing how Sand and Marx place the development and emancipation of sensuous life at the heart of their humanist projects, this discussion attends to the place of Sand's fiction in a wider history of ideas and argues for the relevance of Marx's early writing to sentimental fiction.
Claire White; Sensuous Communism: Sand with Marx. Comparative Literature 1 March 2015; 67 (1): 62–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-2862021
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