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The Pleasure of “Conspicuous Leisure" in Sister Carrie and The House Mirth

Johnson, Allan (2017) The Pleasure of “Conspicuous Leisure" in Sister Carrie and The House Mirth English Studies.

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Abstract

The growth of leisure time for the middle- and working-classes during the Second Industrial Revolution gave rise to a newly modern leisure industry. This article argues that Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth center on this particular social and economical development as a means by which to establish that economic identity must be defined antithetically to the inescapable swell of mass, modern life. These novels illustrate a crucial economic transition in American history through their evaluation of the potential roles that Carrie Meeber and Lily Bart can play as objects of leisure, employees of the leisure industry, or bearers of what the economist Thorstein Veblen calls ‘conspicuous leisure.’ Dreiser and Wharton offer arch critiques of this new leisure class—not for populist or egalitarian purposes, but as a response to the toxic effects of a newly commoditized culture which supported and defined the leisured elite.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Language
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of English and Languages
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Johnson, Allana.d.johnson@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Date : 6 September 2017
Identification Number : 10.1080/0013838X.2017.1365520
Copyright Disclaimer : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in English Studies on 6 Sept 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0013838X.2017.1365520
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 05 Jul 2016 14:42
Last Modified : 27 Sep 2017 16:38
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/811114

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