The Novel of Business and the Business of the Novel: W.D. Howells' Examination of Prosperity Archetypes
MetadataShow full item record
In Silas Lapham, for instance, Howells dramatizes several unhealthy business behaviors that derive from prosperity tropes found in newspapers and other popular writings. In this novel, the focus is on the ways these tropes affect the individual - both the reader who consumes them and the writer who must produce them. Meanwhile, Hazard explores the effects of these myths within the industry of literary production, showing how the publishers themselves are susceptible to the same romanticized economic ideals they disseminate.
These novels do not correct the problematic behaviors that popular writing likely had a role in inspiring. They certainly do not resolve the seemingly contradictory values within the publishing industry. But Silas Lapham and Hazard generate a clearer picture of the complex relationship between literature and business, in a time punctuated by literary disputes between realists and romantics, and violent strikes between the labor class and the capital class.
- Masters Theses