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The Adman in the ParlorMagazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s to 1910s$
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Ellen Gruber Garvey

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195108224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108224.001.0001

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“The Commercial Spirit Has Entered In”: Speech, Fiction, and Advertising

“The Commercial Spirit Has Entered In”: Speech, Fiction, and Advertising

Chapter:
(p.80) 3 “The Commercial Spirit Has Entered In”: Speech, Fiction, and Advertising
Source:
The Adman in the Parlor
Author(s):

Ellen Gruber Garvey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108224.003.0004

As advertising increasingly entered daily life, writers and commentators grappled with the meaning of the new advertising discourse. This chapter examines the more diffuse movement of advertising into national culture. Brand names and ad slogans were useful as a common frame of reference in an increasingly heterogeneous country. As the national distribution and advertising of goods by brand name shaped a national vocabulary, the cultural shorthand they created enabled people across the United States to understand a reference to a brand of soap or a joke about an advertising slogan. One arguably elite setting in which advertising references began to appear was fiction. Often such references were satiric, but in a popular novel of 1888, Amelie Rives's The Quick or the Dead?, brand-name references appear more central. Rives's novel embodied questions about the individuality of people and relationships, and the duplicability and replaceability of relationships, in part through references to brand-named items associated with characters. It is argued that the novel attempted to reconcile the idea of individuality and irreplaceability with the system of mass production in which all duplicated articles are equally authentic.

Keywords:   magazine advertising, slogans, brand names, national culture, novels, The Quick or the Dead?

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