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Dreiser and Veblen Saboteurs of the Status Quo

by Clare Virginia Eby

  • ISBN: 9780826211934
  • ISBN10: 0826211933

Dreiser and Veblen Saboteurs of the Status Quo

by Clare Virginia Eby

  • List Price: $50.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Missouri Pr
  • Publish date: 02/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780826211934
  • ISBN10: 0826211933
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Description: In this important interdisciplinary study, Clare Eby argues that the writings of Theodore Dreiser and Thorstein Veblen form a neglected chapter in the history of United States cultural criticism that is especially relevant today.

Unlike the narrow frameworks through which most of Veblen's and Dreiser's writings have been interpreted, this study covers a wide range of both authors' major and minor works. Moving beyond The Theory of the Leisure Class and Sister Carrie, Eby shows how Veblen and Dreiser, as saboteurs of the status quo, anticipated many topics that preoccupy cultural critics today: the cultural role of the intellectual, the relationship of science to society, the place of consumption in modern life, and the intersection of class, gender, and power.

Eby uses cultural criticism as a unifying concept that shows how Veblen fuses sociology, economics, history, psychology, anthropology, political science, satire, and philosophy; and how Dreiser connects fiction, travelogue, literary manifesto, occasional essay, autobiography, biography, and philosophy. By reading Veblen through Dreiser, and Dreiser through Veblen, Eby illustrates the striking parallels between their works, demonstrating how literature and social science can merge in cultural criticism.

Although Dreiser's interest in the natural and social sciences has often been noted, this study provides the only extended analysis of how his works actually resemble, and strive to become, critically informed social science. Similarly, scholars have duly noted the singularity of Veblen's rhetoric, but the centrality of literary devices to his works has never been systematically examined. By placing Dreiser's and Veblen'sworks into dialogue, this study contributes significantly to the recent attempts to bring together the concerns of Literary analysts and social scientists.

Dreiser and Veblen, Saboteurs of the Status Quo will make an important contribution not only to Dreiser and Veblen studies but also to cultural criticism itself.

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