Suspicious Minds: Spies and Surveillance in Charlotte Smith’s Novels of the 1790s

  • Harriet Guest
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print book series (PERCP)


In his influential essay of 1992 on ‘Visualising the Division of Labour’, John Barrell argued that the ‘totalising discourse’ of the division of labour articulates a ‘subject which defines its own partiality even as it denies it’. The subject must claim for itself a viewpoint from which it can grasp the coherence of the social whole; a coherence invisible to all those pursuing their different occupations within society by virtue of the specialization their occupations demand. But the subject must also acknowledge its own view as partial, as the interested view made available by its peculiar occupation within the division of labour. It must therefore always admit the validity or authority of the competing discourses articulated from other subject positions, other occupational viewpoints. The discourse of the division of labour must define itself as both more than, and just one of, the ‘hubbub of voices, which together produce the representation of a society irretrievably atomised and dispersed.’1


Private Life Political Agent Domestic Life Arbitrary Power Sexual Politics 
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    William Cowper, The Task, Bk 5, ‘The Winter Morning Walk’, 11, pp. 415–17, 421–4, in William Cowper, The Task and Selected Other Poems, ed., James Sambrook (London: Longman, 1994).Google Scholar

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© Harriet Guest 2005

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  • Harriet Guest

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