Lecture One: Introduction [September 9, 2013]
19th century Exceptionalism
- Mid to late 19th century
- Comedies of errors - almost every single one is fallen aristocratic families, etc. (for
example, Pride and Prejudice)
- Romance novels, happy ever afters
- Pretty much the same
- How to replicate the old manners in the new world, determining the social hierarchy in the
- Men going off into the wilderness and conquering nature
- Goes westward, meets a noble savage/indigenous American who wants to help, and
conquers the west alone with numerous near death experiences
- Women only exist as nags, if rarely
Starting 1910, looking at literary theories, people tried keeping justifying the differences
- Stated reasons: Historical and independence story, US’ obsession to bear arms, freedom
- The real reason is price of novels. Up until 1895, foreign novels were very cheap, but
drastically peak almost by double. American novels were fairly stable. US, unlike Canada,
did not honor British copyrights laws - did not have to pay anyone that's why it's so
cheap. They just photocopied them. The mass market tended to like British and Canadian
styles. The American stuff did not sell as well since half the market (women) did not like it.
That made the US market be flooded with foreign books. If American books were so
much more expensive, why would they write the same books that sells cheaper as
foreign. Starting 1895, they started obeying copyright laws.
- A difference in books does not say anything about society. It talks about the market,
Three perspectives on Economy and Culture (i) Nothing but... Relationship between culture and economy is culture is economy and vice
versa. One is nothing but the other.
- Marx: To know the ideology of society, you just have to know which system of production
that society is under – base vs. superstructure.
- Weber: Beliefs influence the way you work, and why you work - but you have to be
ascetic – Protestant Ethics. Economy is thus a reflection of religion.
- George Taylor and the Hemline Index (1926) relationship between stock market and
hemline lengths of women. Good market means higher hemlines. Nonsense! but it's an
example where culture is a reflection of economy
(ii) Hostile Worlds... relationship between culture and economy is best left as no relationship at
- For example, sex work, or emotions (therapists have to hide what they're actually doing)
makes people unco