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Hardback

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Published: 11 February 2016

288 Pages | 1 halftone

235x156mm

ISBN: 9780190276157


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Surveyors of Custom

American Literature as Cultural Analysis

Joel Pfister

Oxford Studies in American Literary History

  • Argues that the canon of American literature performs the critical function of making us aware of America as a complex, contradictory, and potentially transformable system
  • Details how literature exposes our national experience through: 1) the development of soul industries that mask the operations of capitalism; 2) the production of incentive and the individualizing of success in the establishment of a "personnel" culture; and 3) the solidification of economic hierarchy and the political power of the elite
  • Demonstrates how the national literature chronicles the major societal shifts that have characterized American culture from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age
  • Reads work by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Eugene O'Neill, Faulkner, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, and many others