Sentimental Materialism: Gender, Commodity Culture, and Nineteenth-Century American Literature (New Americanists)
Lori MerishISBN: 0822324806;
In Sentimental Materialism Lori Merish considers the intricate relationship between consumption and womanhood in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Taking as her starting point a diversity of cultural artifacts?from domestic fiction and philosophical treatises to advice literature and cigars?Merish explores the symbolic functions they served and finds that consumption evolved into a form of personal expressiveness that indicated not only a woman?s wealth and taste but also her race, class, morality, and civic values. The discursive production of this new subjectivity?the feminine consumer?was remarkably influential, helping to shape American capitalism, culture, and nation building. The phenomenon of female consumption was capitalism?s complement to male production: It created what Merish calls the ?Other Protestant Ethic,?a feminine and sentimental counterpart to Max Weber?s ethic of hard work, economic rationality, and...
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