‘Between the Human and Brutal Creation’: Posthuman Agency and the Samuel Frost Corpus

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This essay examines the print culture surrounding Samuel Frost, an unpropertied young white man with a possible neurodevelopmental disorder, who murdered his father in 1783 and his employer in 1793. Described in three New England broadsides as “the connecting grade between the human and brutal creation,” Frost is precisely the sort of marginal figure often brought to the fore in recent studies of the eighteenth century Atlantic world. Questioning recuperative methodologies that have tended to reinforce liberal assumptions about the sovereign agency of the knowing individual actor, this study of Frost as a man-media “corpus” identifies a networked, posthuman agency that forges connections across time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-69
Number of pages30
JournalEighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Frost
  • posthumanism,
  • Samuel
  • liberalism
  • aesthetics
  • Latour
  • Bruno
  • American gallows literature
  • execution poetry
  • execution sermons
  • criminal confessions
  • crime writing
  • disability
  • dispossession
  • revolutionary Atlantic
  • capital punishment


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