This article argues that the form of Anthony Trollope's Phineas Finn mediates sociality without the resources of interiority. This has important ramifications for understanding the politics of the novel by way of the kinds of relationality it makes available between characters and readers. Even as Phineas Finn speaks the idiom of John Stuart Mill's liberal orientation toward feelings and beliefs, the novel's distribution of narrative focalization provides an alternative pedagogy in Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian orientation toward action. Reading the novel's form against its content in this way borrows from Jacques Rancière's understanding of the correlation between aesthetic and political regimes, and this article elaborates and historicizes Rancière's theory at the turnover between utilitarian and liberal ideologies. In particular, it argues that Rancière's understanding of politics belongs specifically to the technologies of representation developed by mid-Victorian liberal thinkers, especially the political scientist Thomas Hare.
Research Article|August 01 2017
Representation between Utilitarianism and Liberalism: Focalization in Phineas Finn
Novel (2017) 50 (2): 236-254.
Michael Dango; Representation between Utilitarianism and Liberalism: Focalization in Phineas Finn. Novel 1 August 2017; 50 (2): 236–254. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-4150263
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