OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Rural Fictions, Urban Realities: A Geography of Gilded Age American Literature

ISBN : 9780190272425

Price(incl.tax): 
¥4,917
Author: 
Mark Storey
Pages
210 Pages
Format
Paperback
Size
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Dec 2015
Send mail
Print

The diminishment of rural life at the hands of urbanization, for many, defines the years between the end of the Civil War and the dawn of the twentieth century in the U.S. Traditional literary histories find this transformation clearly demarcated between rural tales-stories set in the countryside, marked by attention to regional dialect and close-knit communities-and grittier novels and short stories that reflected the harsh realities of America's growing cities. Challenging this conventional division, Mark Storey proffers a capacious, trans-regional version of rural fiction that contains and coexists with urban-industrial modernity. To remap literary representations of the rural, Storey pinpoints four key aspects of everyday life that recur with surprising frequency in late nineteenth-century fiction: train journeys, travelling circuses, country doctors, and lynch mobs. Fiction by figures such as Hamlin Garland, Booth Tarkington, and William Dean Howells use railroads and roving carnivals to signify the deeper incursions of urban capitalism into the American countryside. A similar, somewhat disruptive migration of the urban into the rural occurs with the arrival of modern medicine, as viewed in depictions of the country doctor in novels like Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor and Harold Frederic's The Damnation of Theron Ware. This discussion gives way to a far darker interaction between the urban and the rural, with the intricate relationship of vigilante justice to an emerging modernity used to frame readings of rural lynchings in works by writers like Bret Harte, Charles Chesnutt, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Owen Wister. The four arenas-transport, entertainment, medicine, and the law-used to organize the study come together in a coda devoted to utopian fiction, which demonstrates one of the more imaginative methods used to express the social and literary anxieties around the changing nature of urban and rural space at the end of the nineteenth century. Mining a rich variety of long neglected novels and short stories, Rural Fictions, Urban Realities provides a new literary geography of Gilded Age America, and in the process, contributes to our understanding of how we represent and register the cultural complexities of modernization.

Index: 

Introduction

Rural Fictions, Urban Realities

Chapter One

Lines of time, sight and capital: Train Journeys

Chapter Two

Commerce and Carnival at the Canvas City: Travelling Circuses

Chapter Three

The Place of Medical Knowledge: Country Doctors

Chapter Four

A Government of Men and Not of Laws: Lynch Mobs

Chapter Five

Geographies of the Future: Utopias

Conclusion

Notes

About the author: 

Mark Storey is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Warwick.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.