Bodies of Capital: Spatial Subjectivity in Twentieth-Century U.S. Fiction
Hogle, Jerrold E.
Committee ChairDeming, Caren
Hogle, Jerrold E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPositing subjectivity as a structural formation arising dialectically at the cultural intersection of physical bodies and material conditions, Bodies of Capital: Spatial Subjectivity in Twentieth-Century U.S. Fiction identifies textual dynamics as revelatory of the intrinsic relationship between subjective experience and spatial practice. To advance this formulation, Bodies of Capital critically examines a series of U.S. fictional narrative texts from the late nineteenth-century to the present by placing them in dialogue with comparative articulations of U.S. ‘regimes of accumulation’ (spatial formations enacting particular capital organization and conditions) as they developed during this same historical period. Such an approach allows critical analysis to be devoted to material and empirical developments, such as geographical (e.g., urban and suburban growth), institutional (e.g., corporations and markets), and societal (e.g., types of labor) formations, but at all times places primary focus, through its recognition of subjectivity as a spatial and ideological formation, on the practices and dynamics of signification to which these developments critically contribute. Bodies of Capital’s spatio-textual formulation thereby advances the critical enterprise by illuminating the ways in which fictional narrative texts inherently both speak and are spoken by cultural ideologies spatially active at a given time and place. Bodies of Capital allows one, as well, to draw connections otherwise by-andlarge occluded between fictional works appearing at distinctly different times and places across a broad historical expanse, an expanse reflected in the selection of works the dissertation comparatively examines, including William Dean Howells’s The Rise of Silas Lapham, Jack London’s Martin Eden, Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, Sam Mendes’s American Beauty, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, and Richard Powers’s Gain.