Literature and Consumption in Nineteenth-Century America
It is time for a new approach to nineteenth-century interactions between literary texts and practices of consumption. Instead of treating antebellum America and the century’s turn as two discrete periods, the editors aim for a more flexible framework. They propose reading Progressive Era classics side by side with literary and popular texts exploring – and feeding – the flow of commodities long before Theodore Dreiser portrayed department stores. Discussing the intricate relationships of mass consumption and literary representation, European and North American contributors focus on Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Mark Twain, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Edith Wharton. They also turn to less securely canonized fields: New England ‘factory girl’ literature, multimedia abolitionist spectacle, and the formative years of literary tourism.