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Literary Appropriations

Literary Appropriations

(p.353) Chapter Six Literary Appropriations
Genres of the Credit Economy
Mary Poovey
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines a series of nineteenth-century novels in which we can identify traces of writers' campaign to elevate the prestige of literary writing by cultivating the generic features associated with the aesthetic model of value. Chronologically, this survey initially takes us back to the beginning of the century, for Jane Austen's novels, like Wordsworth's poems, constituted self-conscious attempts to foreground an aesthetic use of language and form that repudiated both the market definition of value and the generic conventions which other novelists were using to capitalize on what seemed to be limitless market demand. The second section turns from Austen to two other novelists also enshrined in the modern Literary canon—George Eliot and Charles Dickens—to show how mid-century novelists elaborated the gestural aesthetic Austen cultivated into the mode of formalism literary critics now call realism.

Keywords:   literary writing, value, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, formalism, realism

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