Testo in italianoEnglish textTexte en français
In P.G. Wodehouse:  italianoenglish

Il CovileIl Covile

rivista in rete
diretta da
stefano borselli

risorse conviviali
e varia umanità
issn 2279–6924

Non rifiutare ma preferire (Nicolás Gómez Dávila)
La via del saggio è fare ma non contendere (Lao Tze)

Understanding Anthropomorphosis
A literary game

Printable Version
You can participate by writing to



Anthropomorphosis of landed property in Marx

The domination of the land as an alien power over men is already inherent in feudal landed property. [...] Likewise, the lord of an entailed estate, the first-born son, belongs to the land. It inherits him. [...] In the same way, feudal landed property gives its name to its lord, as does a kingdom to its king. His family history, the history of his house, etc. - all this individualizes the estate for him and makes it literally his house, personifies it. (Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844)

The four anthropomorphoses for Jacques Camatte.

1. of divinity.

          [Not of interest here]

2. of landed property.

Phenomenon exposed by K. Marx [...] where he states in particular that it is not man who inherits land ownership, but the opposite. This anthropomorphosis is the supreme expression of the phenomenon of land tenure, of the cult of autochthony, of the mystique of the soil. Its complement, according to K. Marx, is a zoomorphosis of men and women. We could add a chthonicization, a compulsion to return to what is placed as a foundation, as an origin: the earth as soil (burial would be a support) and the "mystique" of it.

3. of work.

Phenomenon that imposed itself on the occasion of the dissolution of the feudal mode of production with the autonomy of the feudal form and the emergence of craftsmanship. It is expressed through the great artistic movement that began in Flanders and Italy, with the emergence of the figure of the engineer, with the affirmation of the philosophy of doing. It is one of the components of the genesis of experimental science. ¶ Its influence is felt within the socialist movement, especially among what K. Marx called the Ricardian socialists, in J. P. Proudhon, in the First International; indeed it is found in K. Marx and F. Engels in their exaltation of labor as a specifically human activity. It is found in the disarray generated by what is currently called the end of work. ¶ Its complement is the dependence on work to the point that man is essentially defined by it and only through it can he be understood; we have Homo faber and the exaltation of technology, humanism as well as activism and movement (movement is everything).

4. of capital.

A phenomenon that makes capital become a man, "a human being" according to K. Marx. Its complement is the capitalization of men and women who tend to become technical objects, immersed in the immediacy of capital, which can also be perceived as its immanence. [Elsewhere Camatte recalled Bordiga's phrase "capital is organization."]

Literary Game. First phase.

This involves pointing out characters from short stories, novels or films that represent one of the above three anthropomorphoses. Indicate in the mail all the items: original title, possible translation, author or director, type of anthropomorphosis, form (story, novel, etc..), character in question, name to which to attribute the report, if desired. ¶ The game will take place in two phases. In the first one, proposals will be collected. The editorial staff, as a jury, will accept them or not: in this first phase only those clearly out of theme will be excluded. ¶ Once the list is closed, in the second phase the participants will be invited to indicate their judgment on the relevance of the characters in relation to the Camattian definitions. On the basis of these and their own evaluations, the jury will select a definitive list, ordered by relevance. An aid to reflection on concepts that are certainly not trivial. (February 14, 2021)

Characters presented in order of reporting.

Update 2023.02.24 08:47 (year.month.day hour:minute)

Anthropomorphosis of landed property

Roderick Usher in The Fall of the House of Usher, short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

Rossella O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, film by Victor Fleming. Reported by Francesco Borselli.

M. de Wolmar in Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse  [en: Julie; or, The New Heloise ], novel by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Reported by Ivanna Rosi.

Don Fabrizio Corbera in Il Gattopardo  [en: The Leopard], novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.

Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey, television series by Julian Fellowes.

Dubslav von Stechlin in Der Stechlin  [en: The Stechlin], novel by Theodor Fontane. Reported by Marisa Fadoni Strik.

L'erede di don Rodrigo in I promessi sposi  [en: The Betrothed], novel by Alessandro Manzoni.

René-Auguste de Chateaubriand (le père) in Mémoires d'outre-tombe, novel by François-René de Chateaubriand. Reported by Stefano Borselli & Ivanna Rosi.

Henry Wilcox in Howards End, novel by Edward Morgan Forster. Reported by Gabriella Rouf.

Anthropomorphosis of work

Henry Turner in Regarding Henry, film by Mike Nichols.

Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, film by David Frankel. Reported by Francesca Nocentini.

Seth Brundle in The Fly, film by David Cronenberg. Reported by Francesco Borselli.

Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, novel by John Steinbeck. Reported by Marisa Fadoni Strik & Raffaele Nencini.

Poseidon in Poseidon, short story by Franz Kafka. Reported by Maria Antonietta Giordano.

Kate Armstrong in No Reservations, film by Scott Hicks. Reported by Maria Antonietta Giordano.

Claude Lantier in L'Œuvre  [en: The Masterpiece], novel by Émile Zola. Reported by Ivanna Rosi.

Giacomo Casanova in Vendégjáték Bolzanóban  [en: Casanova in Bolzano], novel by Sándor Márai. Reported by Giuseppe Corsi.

Le vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons dangereuses  [en: Dangerous Liaisons], novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Reported by Ivanna Rosi.

William Turner in Mr. Turner, film by Mike Leigh. Reported by Gabriella Rouf.

Robinson Crusoe in The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, novel by Daniel Defoe. Reported by Armando Ermini.

Peter in The Son, film by Florian Zeller. Reported by Maria Antonietta Giordano.

Anthropomorphosis of capital

Warning. This definition is particuparly complex. For example, the figure of the miserly hoarder who is only conservative is not part of it; capital must increase indefinitely. Nor does Camatte's investigation seem to emphasize what Tronti calls the "barbaric animal spirits" of capitalism, but rather the "capitalization of men and women who tend to become objects." Keep in mind that the bourgeoisie is not capital, it is a transitional figure now belonging to the past and normally with feudal vestiges: myth of the founder, transmission to sons etc. To clarify, we have added two special entries.

David Golder in David Golder, novel by Irène Némirovsky.

Simcha Meyer Ashkenazi in The Brothers Ashkenazi, novel by Israel J. Singer. Reported by Marisa Fadoni Strik & Ivanna Rosi.

Octave Mouret in Au bonheur des dames  [en: The Ladies' Paradise], novel by Émile Zola. Reported by Maria Antonietta Giordano.

The fool in Soon Forget, song by Pearl Jam. Reported by Francesco Borselli.

Pavel Ivanovič Čičikov in Мёртвые души  [en: Dead Souls], novel by Nikolaj Vasil'evič Gogol'. Reported by Simone Furfaro.

Adolf Eichmann in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, essay by Hannah Arendt.

George F. Babbitt in Babbit, novel by Sinclair Lewis.

Benjamin Franklin in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, essay by Benjamin Franklin.

Thomas Gradgrind in Hard Times - For These Times, novel by Charles Dickens.

Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, in Prose. Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas, short story by Charles Dickens. Reported by Maria Antonietta Giordano.

Andrew Ryan in Bioshock, video game by Ken Levine. Reported by Augustus Guikema.

Mrs. Lora Delane Porter in The Coming of Bill, novel by P.G. Wodehouse.

... Reports on related topics

The bourgeoisie (capital as virtual landed property)

Léonard Lachaume in Maigret et les témoins récalcitrantes  [en: Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses], novel by Georges Simenon.

Eugène de Rastignac in Le Père Goriot  [en: Père Goriot], novel by Honoré de Balzac. Reported by Raffaele Nencini.

Père Grandet in Eugénie Grandet, novel by Honoré de Balzac. Reported by Gabriella Rouf.

Paul Arnheim in Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften  [en: The Man Without Qualities], novel by Robert Musil.

M. Lecastelier in Le Plus Beau Dîner du monde  [en: The most beautiful dinner in the world], short story by Auguste de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam.

Tony Buddenbrook in Buddenbrooks. Verfall einer Familie  [en: Buddenbrooks], novel by Thomas Mann.

Ambrogio Riva in Il cavallo rosso  [en: The Red Horse], novel by Eugenio Corti.

Auri sacra fames and other deformities

Mazzarò in La roba  [en: Property], short story by Giovanni Verga. Reported by Maria Antonietta Giordano.

Daniel Plainview in There will be blood, film by Paul Thomas Anderson. Reported by Marisa Fadoni Strik.

Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, film by John Huston.

Harpagon in L'Avare ou l'École du mensonge  [en: The Miser], comedy by Molière.

Ludovic in Ludovic, short story by Ernest Hello.


 Avvertenza • Contatti • © • Privacy

Wehrlos, doch in nichts vernichtet
Inerme, ma in niente annientato
(Der christliche Epimetheus
Konrad Weiß)


Legenda:     Translated by/Traduit par/Tradotto da;Title of the text in the edition/Titre du texte dans l'édition/Titolo del testo nell'edizione;  Title-Date of original text/Titre-Date du texte original/Titolo-Data del testo originale;  Downloadtext/Télécharger le texte/Scaricare il testo; Book / Livre / Libro;  Magazine/Revue/Rivista;  Print editions/Éditions imprimées/Edizioni cartacee;  Collections/Raccolte;  Manifestos/Manifestes/Manifesti;  Poems/Poèmes/Poesie;  Website.