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Downwardly Mobile
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Downwardly Mobile: The Changing Fortunes of American Realism

Andrew Lawson

Abstract

“Downwardly Mobile” explores the links between a growing sense of economic precariousness within the American middle class and the development of literary realism over the course of the nineteenth century by Rose Terry Cooke, Rebecca Harding Davis, William Dean Howells, Henry James, and Hamlin Garland. The book argues that, in each of these writers, the opacity and abstraction of social relationships in an expanding market economy combined with a sense of pervasive insecurity to produce a “hunger for the real” – a commitment to a mimetic literature capable of stabilizing the social world by ca ... More

Keywords: family history, lower middle class, market economy, realism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199828050
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199828050.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Andrew Lawson, author
Leeds Metropolitan University

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