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Corporate RomanticismLiberalism, Justice, and the Novel$
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Daniel M. Stout

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823272235

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823272235.001.0001

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Not World Enough

Not World Enough

Easement, Externality, and the Edges of Justice (Caleb Williams)

Chapter:
(p.145) 5. Not World Enough
Source:
Corporate Romanticism
Author(s):

Daniel M. Stout

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823272235.003.0006

Chapter five looks at William Godwin’s 1793 novel, Caleb Williams. It argues that this novel depicts the ways in which denser patterns of settlement destabilized notions of responsibility and accountability, by making it possible for neighbors to harm each other through otherwise innocent actions. The novel is thus a gothic tragedy that serves as rejoinder to utopian, anti-property schemes such as those advocated by Thomas Spence. In this text antagonism is a naturally-occurring fact, created by the absence of a coherent legal theory of easement, the area of law that attempts to deal with what economics knows as the problems of social cost by articulating our rights to necessarily shared goods like air, water, and light.

Keywords:   Caleb Williams, easement law, William Godwin, gothic, property, radicalism, Thomas Spence, theory of social cost, utopianism

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