Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production by Jason Puskar

By Jason Puskar

This ebook argues that language and literature actively produced probability within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries via categorizing accidents and losses as blameless of layout. vehicle collisions and occupational accidents turned "car injuries" and "industrial accidents." throughout the post-Civil battle interval of racial, ethnic, and class-based hostility, likelihood was once an summary enemy opposed to which society may possibly unite. by way of generating likelihood, novels by way of William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, Anna Katharine eco-friendly, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, and James Cain documented and helped determine new modes of collective interdependence. probability this is hooked up now not with the aggressive individualism of the Gilded Age, yet with very important revolutionary and social democratic reforms, together with advancements in coverage, which had lengthy hired coincidence narratives to form its personal "mutual society." Accident Society finds the level to which American collectivity has depended—and keeps to depend—on the literary creation of chance.

Show description

Read Online or Download Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance PDF

Best regional & cultural books

Devils and Rebels: The Making of Hawthorne's Damned Politics

"An amazing blend of literary interpretation and cultural and old context that might be an incredible addition to the severe literature on Hawthorne. "---Nina Baym, collage of Illinois"It is hard to visualize a extra well timed e-book than Devils and Rebels. reading the position of the general public highbrow and author in the course of a time of political clash and conflict, Reynolds takes up his fees with nice precision and historic finesse.

The Great War in Russian Memory

Karen Petrone shatters the thought that international battle i used to be a forgotten warfare within the Soviet Union. even if by no means formally venerated, the nice battle was once the topic of a full of life discourse approximately faith, heroism, violence, and patriotism through the interwar interval. utilizing memoirs, literature, movies, army histories, and archival fabrics, Petrone reconstructs Soviet rules in regards to the motivations for struggling with, the justification for killing, the character of the enemy, and the characteristics of a hero.

Writing Back: American Expatriates’ Narratives of Return

The migration of yank artists and intellectuals to Europe within the early 20th century has been amply documented and studied, yet few students have tested the aftermath in their go back domestic. Writing again specializes in the memoirs of modernist writers and intellectuals who struggled with their go back to the USA after years of dwelling in another country.

Extra resources for Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance

Example text

Almost alone among American writers, Howells noticed the growing cultural importance of insurance and its increasingly intimate relationship with literature, particularly during his political phase during the late 1880s and in his most ambitious novel, A Hazard of New Fortunes. By 1890, even the word “hazard” was a recognizable insurance term, used more often in that context than any other. The central character in Hazard, Basil March, had made a living in insurance for the previous eighteen years, and he was already working for an insurance company in Howells’s first book, Their Wedding Journey (1871).

10 To be fair, many of Howells’s early novels do use convenient accidents to reinject the plot with genteel middle-class values, but that by no means adequately explains the more violent and obscure accidents in his later novels, where the easy morals that Berthoff despises are difficult to adduce. What kind of “moral rigging” kills off James Nevil at the end of The Shadow of a Dream? What lesson attaches to the accidental literary successes in A World of Chance (1893)? There are possible answers to these questions, but no simple ones, and as a result, it makes more sense to see these later accidents as part of a serious critique of indeterminacy, complex causation, and blame.

C ha p ter 1 The Insurance of the Real william dean howells Just fifteen years after its destruction by fire, Chicago erupted in violence again, but this time the violence was hardly represented as accidental. During a small rally of workers, socialists, and anarchists near Chicago’s Haymarket Square in May 1886, someone threw a small homemade bomb into a group of police, killing one and injuring dozens more. In the end, seven police officers were killed, some shot by other officers in the melee that erupted.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.70 of 5 – based on 6 votes