Ultimately, I will argue, this subversion is motivated by a desire for the kind of society (one with a strong state) that Thoreau assumes already exists—a society that, in “Bartleby,” is represented by the prison itself.What I mean by a “strong state” here is what we might call an interventionist state, a concept that only makes sense if one assumes the existence of a discrete realm of reality in which the state can intervene.


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