Download PDF by Jason Puskar: Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production

By Jason Puskar

ISBN-10: 0804775354

ISBN-13: 9780804775359

This ebook argues that language and literature actively produced probability within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries via categorizing accidents and losses as blameless of layout. car collisions and occupational accidents grew to become "car injuries" and "industrial accidents." through the post-Civil struggle interval of racial, ethnic, and class-based hostility, likelihood used to be an summary enemy opposed to which society may possibly unite. via generating probability, novels through William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, Anna Katharine eco-friendly, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, and James Cain documented and helped determine new modes of collective interdependence. likelihood this is hooked up no longer with the aggressive individualism of the Gilded Age, yet with very important revolutionary and social democratic reforms, together with advancements in coverage, which had lengthy hired coincidence narratives to form its personal "mutual society." Accident Society unearths the level to which American collectivity has depended—and maintains to depend—on the literary creation of chance.

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Extra info for Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance

Sample text

Instead, Hazard gradually acknowledges that chance may not be a function of the material or economic worlds in any empirical sense after all but is rather generated through the characterization of certain kinds of violence as accidents in the first place. ”16 Lukács is entirely on the side of narration in this conflict, for narration helps us “construct a comprehensive, well-organized and multifaceted epic composition. ”17 For Lukács, description is thus complicit with capitalism and bourgeois values, in that it conceals the real basis of social life behind a fragmentary account of private experience.

The death of Conrad at the scene of labor unrest marks the novel’s most explicit return to the scene of the Haymarket trials, but Howells’s most telling commentary on the events of 1886 lies not so much in deciding whether or not Conrad had been killed deliberately but in the novel’s utter disinterest in that question. If, in Howells’s view, the Haymarket trials perversely produced scapegoats through the methods of a “romantic novelist,” then the lack of investigation into Conrad’s death does the opposite, producing chance through the methods of a realist novelist.

The death of Conrad at the scene of labor unrest marks the novel’s most explicit return to the scene of the Haymarket trials, but Howells’s most telling commentary on the events of 1886 lies not so much in deciding whether or not Conrad had been killed deliberately but in the novel’s utter disinterest in that question. If, in Howells’s view, the Haymarket trials perversely produced scapegoats through the methods of a “romantic novelist,” then the lack of investigation into Conrad’s death does the opposite, producing chance through the methods of a realist novelist.

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Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance by Jason Puskar


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