By Brook Thomas
In legislation, the overdue 19th century is frequently known as the Age of agreement; in literature, the Age of Realism. Brook Thomas's new publication brings agreement and realism jointly to provide groundbreaking insights into either whereas exploring the social and cultural crises that followed America's transition from commercial capitalism to the company capitalism of the 20th century.Thomas argues that, considerably conceived, agreement promised to generate an equitable social order--one prepared round interpersonal alternate instead of conformity to a transcendental common. yet because the concept of agreement took middle level in American tradition after the Civil conflict, the legislations did not bring in this promise, in its place legitimating hierarchies of race, classification, and gender. relocating expertly from criminal research to social heritage, 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 bunch of matters on the leading edge of public debate within the 19th century: race and the which means of equality, miscegenation, marriage, hard work unrest, financial transformation, and alterations in notions of human employer 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 continues to be greatly alive. American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of agreement demanding situations traditional serious knowledge and makes a vast, provocative, and nuanced contribution to felony and literary reports, in addition to to highbrow and social historical past. It grants to revise and increase our knowing of yankee tradition, legislations, and letters.
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Extra info for American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract
Thus, if my first book claimed generally to bring together law and literature of a particular period, this one is concerned with specific aspects of both. Page x That concern is not, however, perfectly balanced. I rarely examine in depth specific cases involving contract law. 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.
Literature and societyUnited States History19th century. Promise (Law) in literature. Social ethics in literature. 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.
My response is twofold. First, the story that I tell is not the only story to be told. Unlike others, I do not claim to discover a logic that accounts for every text produced in the age. At the same time, I think that my story is an important one, one that would remain untold if contract in the law and realism in literature were not put in relation to one another. Readers will have to decide if they agree that it is a story worth telling. Second, selecting other works would not have substantially altered my claims about either the failed promise of contract or a potential within realistic texts that distinguishes them from other texts written at the time.