In this Book

From Gift to Commodity
summary
Fascinating analysis of the significance of the gift, and its increasingly complicated role in an emerging capitalist order, in nineteenth-century American fiction In this rich interdisciplinary study, Hildegard Hoeller argues that nineteenth-century American culture was driven by and deeply occupied with the tension between gift and market exchange. Rooting her analysis in the period’s fiction, she shows how American novelists from Hannah Foster to Frank Norris grappled with the role of the gift based on trust, social bonds, and faith in an increasingly capitalist culture based on self-interest, market transactions, and economic reason. Placing the notion of sacrifice at the center of her discussion, Hoeller taps into the poignant discourse of modes of exchange, revealing central tensions of American fiction and culture.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. 1. Nineteenth-Century American Fiction and the Inevitable, (Im)possible, Maddening Importance of the Gift
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. Part I: Sacrifices of a Nation
  2. pp. 19-79
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  1. 2. The New Republic and the Aporia of Responsibility: Prudent Economy, Speculation, and (Ir)responsible Sacrifice in Hannah Foster’s Coquette
  2. pp. 21-48
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  1. 3. Self-Sacrifice or Preservation: Lydia Maria Child’s Reflections on the Gift in "Hobomok" and The "American Frugal Housewife"
  2. pp. 49-79
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  1. Part II: Panic Fictions
  2. pp. 81-170
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  1. 4. Panics, Gifts, and Faith in Susan Warner’s "Wide, Wide World"
  2. pp. 83-113
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  1. 5. From Grateful Slave to Greedy Banker: William Wells Brown’s Clotel and the Circulation of Shinplaster Fiction
  2. pp. 114-143
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  1. 6. From" Typee" to "The Confidence-Man": Herman Melville and the (Im)possibility of the Gift
  2. pp. 144-170
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  1. Part III: Fading Gifts and Rising Profits
  2. p. 171
  1. 7. Gifts and Markets: Grotesque Economic Confusions in William Dean Howells’s Portrayal of the “Incorporation of America”
  2. pp. 173-207
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  1. 8. Enigma and Precision: The Golden Tooth and the Horrors of the End of the Gift in Frank Norris’s "McTeague"
  2. pp. 208-230
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 231-255
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 257-271
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 273-279
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