American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract by Brook Thomas PDF

By Brook Thomas

ISBN-10: 0520216644

ISBN-13: 9780520216648

In legislation, the past due 19th century is usually referred to as the Age of agreement; in literature, the Age of Realism. Brook Thomas's new booklet brings agreement and realism jointly to supply groundbreaking insights into either whereas exploring the social and cultural crises that observed America's transition from commercial capitalism to the company capitalism of the 20 th century.Thomas argues that, notably conceived, agreement promised to generate an equitable social order--one prepared round interpersonal alternate instead of conformity to a transcendental common. yet because the thought of agreement took middle level in American tradition after the Civil warfare, the legislations didn't convey in this promise, in its place legitimating hierarchies of race, category, and gender. relocating expertly from felony research to social historical past, to profoundly recontextualized literary critique, Thomas indicates how writers like Twain, James, Howells, and Chopin took up agreement as a version, officially and thematically, evoking its chances and dramatizing its failures.Thomas investigates a number of concerns on the vanguard of public debate within the 19th century: race and the that means of equality, miscegenation, marriage, hard work unrest, fiscal transformation, and alterations in notions of human corporation and subjectivity. Cross-examining quite a lot of key literary and criminal texts, he rethinks the methods they relate to one another and to their social milieu.As contemporary political rhetoric demonstrates, the promise of agreement remains to be greatly alive. American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of agreement demanding situations traditional serious knowledge and makes a wide, provocative, and nuanced contribution to criminal and literary reports, in addition to to highbrow and social background. It provides to revise and enhance our realizing of yank tradition, legislation, and letters.

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Extra resources for American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract

Example text

I am instead interested in the importance that legal thinkers gave to contract as a way of understanding social relations. In contrast, I do closely examine selected literary texts. This imbalance betrays my training as a literary critic. I hope that this disciplinary bias does not discourage members of the legal profession curious enough to start reading the book. The first two chapters are designed in part to keep those readers interested. If they have not read all the literary works that I treat, they should not despair; many literary critics have not either.

Contracts in literature.  Law in literature.  Social status in literature.  Title. 48-1984. Page v To Jayne Page vii Contents Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii 1. Introduction 1 2. Contract and the Road from Equity 25 3. Henry James and the Construction of Privacy 53 4. In the Hands of The Silent Partner and Spiritual Regulation in The Bread-Winners 88 5. The Rise of Silas Lapham and the Hazards of Realistic Development 122 6. Charles W. Chesnutt: Race and the Re-negotiation of the Federal Contract 156 7.

Evoking the promise of contract, the works of realism that I examine are not written in opposition to contract. Indeed, insofar as they link contract's failed promise to the persistence of status, they leave open the possibility that status is more of a problem than is contract. To be sure, strong historical evidence suggests that to initiate a reign of contract in a world in which status persists is to perpetuate social and economic hierarchies. Nonetheless, contract's promise persists as something to be reckoned with.

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American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract by Brook Thomas

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