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afterword This book has highlighted the importance of patronage and the significance of an emerging corporate-based philanthropy for American literature at the turn of the twentieth century. I have argued that the largescale philanthropy that increasingly comes to matter in both social reform and aesthetics in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is part of the crisis in liberal economics over interventionism in the ‘‘free market.’’ Defenders of liberal capitalism, as well as corporate capitalists , realized that ‘‘the miseries everywhere being suffered’’ (Spencer, 285) in the economically and socially volatile post-bellum period, threatened to undermine the system in which they believed and from which they benefited . Relying on both old social practices and new rationales, these thinkers and businessmen sought to intervene in this crisis while shoring up an ideology of nonintervention. The ‘‘art of giving’’ was ‘‘difficult’’ because it highlighted, as it sought to address, the ‘‘catastrophic dislocation’’ (Polanyi, 33) that capitalism was causing. At multiple levels, patronage and philanthropy foregrounded the fiction at the heart of the concept of the ‘‘free market,’’ a fiction those practices nonetheless sought to enforce. I have further argued that the importance of social practices like patronage and philanthropy profoundly shaped the literary field and its representations . By investigating the writings and careers of Henry James, William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, and Theodore Dreiser, we can call into question pieties we rely on unconsciously about the ‘‘free market ’’: especially how ‘‘supply’’ creates ‘‘demand,’’ thereby democratizing both production and consumption. What unites the authors in this book and their very different texts is how carefully they scrutinized the kinds of sponsorship that intervene in the market, and the economic, political, and ethical implications of such (necessary) interventions. Patronage and philanthropy, I have also argued, remain relatively underexamined in studies of modern literature. As I noted in my Preface, Afterword 187 some work has been done in terms of the Harlem Renaissance (though unfortunately in ways that separate that movement from the broader history of those social practices). In addition, individual author biographies have always described—if not analyzed—the role these social practices play in a writer’s work, while the work of Paul Delany and Lawrence Rainey has inspired new work on patronage and philanthropy in modernism. Finally, Mark McGurl’s important book on the postwar rise of creative writing programs and ‘‘the patron institutions’’ of universities and colleges that have sponsored contemporary fiction in the United States breaks new ground in its analysis of how literary form is productively shaped by institutional philanthropy.1 However, still more can be done. As I suggested in the Introduction , there are important comparative questions to ask about how patronage and philanthropy are changed by and change in relation to historical shifts in class, race, and gender. Furthermore, there are questions to ask about how these social practices work in different institutional frameworks in publishing and the media. Examining practices such as patronage and philanthropy in more detail will help us think more clearly about the relation of economics to print culture and particularly that useful but problematic term ‘‘the literary market.’’ At a broader level, however, by examining these social practices in more detail we can contribute to the critique of the neoliberal ‘‘free market fundamentalism ’’ of our own ‘‘New Gilded Age’’ (Uchitelle and Cox) and its relation to intellectual and creative work. Patronage and philanthropy have played an important role in neoliberal fundamentalism. Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine has perhaps most dramatically described the profoundly disaster-oriented and disastrous consequences of accepting the doctrines of free market fundamentalism in intellectual work and the complex part an unacknowledged philanthropic intervention plays. Klein begins her book with the oft-told story of how Milton Friedman and the ‘‘Chicago Boys’’ jumpstarted the neoliberal revolution of the 1980s in Pinochet’s Chile. Klein describes the important involvement of the Ford Foundation in this historical moment. The Foundation sponsored the Center for Latin American Economic Study at the University of Chicago, which provided the funding to train Chilean economists, who when they returned home used brutal state and CIA-backed violence and repression to instate Friedman’s purified (53) free market policies. When the tragic human cost of the Pinochet regime’s free market fundamentalism became clear to the Foundation, it reversed track, sponsoring the effective lobbying efforts that pushed Congress to cut 188 Afterword military support to Argentina and Chile. Klein carefully spells out the ‘‘contradictions ’’ of this mixed...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780812290035
Related ISBN
9780812246308
MARC Record
OCLC
884615827
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2014-08-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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