Synopses & Reviews
Major changes unique to the 19th century made hands newly relevant,says Capuano, and this new relevance reconfigured the hand's relationship to the body in ways that shaped just about every contourof the Victorian novel. The two main changes he identifies are unprecedented developments in mechanized industry, and drasticallyaltered evolutionary paradigms. One of his main concerns is to locate and historicize the anxiety about the body that appears whenthe hand is dislocated, destabilized, or rendered otherwise changed by industrial mechanization and evolutionary theory.Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
In Changing Hands, Peter J. Capuano sifts through Victorian literature and culture for changes in the way the human body is imagined in the face of urgent questions about creation, labor, gender, class, and racial categorization, using hands (the distinguishing mark of . . . humanity ) as the primary point of reference. Capuano complicates his study by situating the historical argument in the context of questions about the disappearance of hands during the twentieth century into the haze of figurative meaning. Out of this curiousaporia, Capuano exposes a powerful, embodied handedness as the historical basis for many of the uncritically metaphoric, metonymic, and/or ideogrammatic approaches to the study of the human body in recent critical discourse.