Of Bondage: Debt, Property, and Personhood in Early Modern England

University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013

The late sixteenth-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 haunt the legal, philosophical, and moral problem of property-in-person in England and America for centuries. Focusing on a 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.