The Gospel of Wealth in the American Novel (Routledge Revivals): The Rhetoric of Dreiser and Some of His Contemporaries, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Gospel of Wealth in the American Novel (Routledge Revivals)

The Rhetoric of Dreiser and Some of His Contemporaries, 1st Edition

By Arun Mukherjee


230 pages

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Business and the businessman have had a fundamental place in American society since the inception of the nation. This tenet, the ‘gospel of wealth’, is a central concern in the novels of Theodore Dreiser and his contemporaries. First published in 1987, this study aims to set this group of writers in their historical context and to show how they elaborated the idea of wealth as an object of quasi-religious quest. What had previously been associated with disease and darkness, avarice and dishonour, now came to emblematise the virtues of thrift, prudence and diligence. The underlying argument is that the dominant group of a society legitimises its power through the appropriation of the vocabulary of religion, and the American business leaders were successful in doing this both in their own practice and through the more insidious medium of art. A detailed analysis, this reissue will be of particular value to students of American literature with an interest in the relationship between linguistic symbols and social order, and historical attitudes towards wealth in literature.

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction 2. Knights and Pilgrims: Businessman’s Self-Images 3. The Business Culture: Dresier’s Exploration of a Myth 4. The Cowperwood Trilogy and The Heroic Myth 5. Dresier’s "Half-Equipped Knights" in Sister Carrie, The "Genius" and An American Tragedy 6. Dresier’s Contemporaries: Some Other Voices 7. Conclusion; Index

About the Series

Routledge Revivals

Are there elusive titles that you need and have been trying to source for years but thought that you would never be able to find?

Well this may be the end of your quest – here is a fantastic opportunity for you to discover past brilliance and purchase previously out of print and unavailable titles by some of the world’s most eminent academic scholars.

Drawing from over 100 years of innovative, cutting-edge publishing, Routledge Revivals is an exciting programme whereby key titles from the distinguished and extensive backlist of the many acclaimed imprints associated with Routledge will be re-issued.

The programme draws upon the illustrious backlists of Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Methuen, Allen & Unwin and Routledge itself.

Routledge Revivals spans the whole of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and includes works by some of the world’s greatest thinkers including Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Simone Weil, Martin Buber, Karl Jaspers and Max Beloff.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General