In this Book

The Ohio State University Press
summary
What do the Victorian novel and the stock-market graph have in common? In The Affective Life of the Average Man: The Victorian Novel and the Stock-Market Graph, ,, Audrey Jaffe explores the influence on modern subjectivity of an economic and emotional discourse constructed by both the Victorian novel and the stock market. The book shows how the novel and the market define character as fundamentally vicarious, and how the graphs, tickers, and pulses that represent the stock market function for us, as the novel did for the Victorians, as both representation and source of collective expectations and emotions. A rereading of key Victorian texts, this volume is also a rereading of the relation between Victorian and contemporary culture, describing the way contemporary accounts of such phenomena as frauds, bubbles, and the economics of happiness reproduce Victorian narratives and assumptions about character. Jaffe draws on the work of nineteenth- and twentieth-century economic and political theorists, popular discourse about the stock market, and novelistic representations of emotion and identity to offer new readings of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Anthony Trollope’s The Prime Minister, and Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield and Little Dorrit. Charting a new understanding of the relation between money, emotions, and identity, The Affective Life of the Average Man makes a significant contribution to Victorian studies, economic criticism, and the study of the history and representation of emotion.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. 1. Middlemarch: The Affective Life of the Average Man
  2. pp. 23-41
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  1. 2. Cardiac Excitability: Impulse, Restraint, and "the Pulse of the People"
  2. pp. 42-62
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  1. 3. Trollope in the Stock Market: Irrational Exuberance and The Prime Minister
  2. pp. 63-80
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  1. 4. David Copperfield's Happiness Economics
  2. pp. 81-101
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  1. Conclusion: Distant Reading
  2. pp. 102-114
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 115-128
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 129-133
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 135-138
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