Of Bondage

Debt, Property, and Personhood in Early Modern England
Narrated by: Dana Roth
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Classics, Drama
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The late 16th-century penal debt bond, which allowed an unsatisfied creditor to seize the body of his debtor, set in motion a series of precedents that would shape the legal, philosophical, and moral issue of property-in-person in England and America for centuries. Focusing on this historical juncture at which debt litigation was not merely an aspect of society but seemed to engulf it completely, Of Bondage examines a culture that understood money and the body of the borrower as comparable forms of property that impinged on one another at the moment of default.

Amanda Bailey shows that the early modern theater, itself dependent on debt bonds, was well positioned to stage the complex ethical issues raised by a system of forfeiture that registered as a bodily event. While plays about debt like The Merchant of Venice and The Custom of the Country did not use the language of political philosophy, they were artistically and financially invested in exploring freedom as a function of possession. By revealing dramatic literature's heretofore unacknowledged contribution to the developing narrative of possessed persons, Amanda Bailey not only deepens our understanding of creditor-debtor relations in the period but also sheds new light on the conceptual conditions for the institutions of indentured servitude and African slavery. Of Bondage is vital not only for students and scholars of English literature but also for those interested in British and colonial legal history, the history of human rights, and the sociology of economics.

The book is published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

"A compelling account of the role of debt in the early modern imaginary...raises important historical questions." (Sixteenth Century Journal)

"Absorbing and beautifully written." (Jonathan Gil Harris, George Washington University)

©2013 University of Pennsylvania Press (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nicholas
  • Nicholas
  • 01-28-20

Imaginative but challenging

This is a highly technical academic study, complete with a mass of mainly legal jargon that I am not familiar with. No doubt my fault, to have expected something a bit more approachable; but do be warned, it's not an everyday read. However, the legal and economic implications of C16/C17th debt bonds is richly told, a whole culture of which I knew nothing at all. A social and moral problem, created by economic pressures, and expressed in theatrical drama: this is an unusual book and with a wealth of powerful ideas.