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By Brook Thomas

In legislations, the overdue 19th century is frequently known as the Age of agreement; in literature, the Age of Realism. Brook Thomas's new booklet brings agreement and realism jointly to supply groundbreaking insights into either whereas exploring the social and cultural crises that followed America's transition from commercial capitalism to the company capitalism of the 20 th century.

Thomas argues that, significantly conceived, agreement promised to generate an equitable social order—one geared up round interpersonal trade instead of conformity to a transcendental usual. yet because the notion of agreement took heart degree in American tradition after the Civil warfare, the legislation did not bring in this promise, as an alternative legitimating hierarchies of race, category, and gender. relocating expertly from criminal research to social historical past, to profoundly recontextualized literary critique, Thomas indicates how writers like Twain, James, Howells, and Chopin took up agreement as a version, officially and thematically, evoking its chances and dramatizing its failures.

Thomas investigates a number of concerns on the leading edge of public debate within the 19th century: race and the which means of equality, miscegenation, marriage, hard work unrest, monetary transformation, and alterations in notions of human business enterprise and subjectivity. Cross-examining quite a lot of key literary and criminal texts, he rethinks the methods they relate to one another and to their social milieu.

As fresh political rhetoric demonstrates, the promise of agreement remains to be greatly alive. American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract demanding situations traditional severe knowledge and makes a extensive, provocative, and nuanced contribution to criminal and literary reviews, in addition to to highbrow and social historical past. It can provide to revise and enhance our knowing of yank tradition, legislation, and letters.

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