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Judging New WealthPopular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England, 1750–1800$
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James Raven

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202370.001.0001

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Reactions to Fashion and Luxury

Reactions to Fashion and Luxury

(p.157) 8 Reactions to Fashion and Luxury
Judging New Wealth

James Raven

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how the literary reception of the commercial revolution — and the deliberate artifice of published outrage — was crucial to the formation of hostile images of the businessman and business activities. Literary responses to consumer behaviour focused on the dual condemnation of luxury and fashion. During the consumer revolution of the second half of the century, literary charges of luxury gained new ferocity and social specification. Accusations were far more detailed and numerous than the traditional warnings of the dangers of over-consumption and a life of ease. Across a broad range of literature the evocation of ‘Fashion’ as a social evil was prompted by the association of ‘Luxuries’ with worthless consumer products.

Keywords:   businessmen, literary representation, consumer behaviour, literary response, consumer products, fashion, luxury

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