Publication details [#1419]

Small, Helen. 2013. Fully Accountable. New Literary History 44 (4) : 539–560. 22 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press


The essay explores the concept of qualitative accounting for social benefits in the early public-management literature on the subject, and examines further adaptations of the model to fit the task of accounting for the public value of research in the humanities. The author considers modern public-accounting returns as a quasi-literary genre, thus subject to rhetorical, conceptual, and functional analysis. The last section of the paper is dedicated to Zadie Smith’s novel NW, and its imaginative juxtaposition of a lottery-fund distribution office with the university: the author argues that the novel makes it peculiarly difficult to account for the social benefit of the university. Throughout the paper, especially when commenting on Smith’s novel, the author touches upon synecdoche and irony.