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American Literature and Social Change: William Dean Howells by Michael Spindler PDF

By Michael Spindler

ISBN-10: 1349063983

ISBN-13: 9781349063987

ISBN-10: 1349064009

ISBN-13: 9781349064007

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Additional info for American Literature and Social Change: William Dean Howells to Arthur Miller

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It is in the service of this determinism that so much significance is attributed to the non-human in the novels . The sympathetic study of individual character still forms the basis of their fiction as the nineteenth-century form demanded, but looming behind the foregrounded characters are the huge struc- 40 The Production-Oriented Phase tures and sweeping processes of the urban-industrial world in which they are enmeshed. The single telling detail, Flaubert's bon mot, was not for them; what their extravagance of information sought to convey was the extreme facticity of industrial life with its multiplicity of parts and activities that could, like items in a catalogue or job descriptions, all be precisely specified.

Theodore Dreiser uses the rapid growth of Philadelphia and Chicago to provide the narrative opportunities for , and much of the sense of dynamism of , Frank Cowperwood's entrepreneurial career in The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914). Curtis Jadwin's rise and fall in Norris's The Pit (1903) are centred on Chicago and its Board of Trade. Later, John Dos Passos in Manhattan Transfer (1925) , was to develop an impressionistic prose and a narrative structure which rendered the hectic rhythms and fleeting scenes of metropolitan life with especial force .

The postulate of an omniscient God underpinned the uncompromising moral absolutes which ordered the pious Protestant's behaviour. With the fading of Puritanism's influence the sternness of the moral temper softened, but the sense of life being held to fixed rules and of the central importance of selfcommunion continued. Emerson's dictum, 'Noth ing can bring you peace but yourself. « Individualism also contributed greatly to the social character of the production phase through its emphasis on self-reliance and isolation.

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American Literature and Social Change: William Dean Howells to Arthur Miller by Michael Spindler


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