California and the Fictions of Capital / Edition 1

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Overview

Between the frequently recounted events of the Gold Rush and the Great Depression stretches a period of California history that is equally crucial but less often acknowledged. In his fresh, synthetic consideration of these in-between years, George L. Henderson points specifically to the take-off of California's rural juggernaut between the 1880s and middle 1920s - the upward spiral of city bids for country dollars and rural bids for urban investments. These decades were salve for mining's risky finances yet ground-work for the chaotic 1930s. Moreover, Henderson argues that much like the two important periods which framed it, this era produced a cultural and literary apparatus that attempted to grapple with capital's machinations, if only to legitimate them in the end. In part a tour of California as a virtual laboratory for refining the circulation of capital, and in part an investigation of how the state's literati, with rare exception, reconceived economy in the name of class, gender, and racial privilege, this study will appeal to all students and scholars of California's - and the American West's - economic, environmental, and cultural past.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Henderson's book is an intellectual foray into the relationships among capital investment, the productive use of agricultural land, and how these issues have fired the imagination of novelists in California history from 1870 to 1920....Students of the American West and California will find it worthwhile."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592131983
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Place, Culture, and Politics Series
  • Edition description: TEMPLE UNI
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 14.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

George L. Henderson is Assistant Professor of Geography and Regional Development at the University of Arizona, where he is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Program in Comparative and Cultural Literary Studies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Alchemy of Capital and Nature
Reference Maps
Pt. I Making Geographies
1 Rural Commodity Regimes: A Primer 3
2 Nature and Fictitious Capital: The Circulation of Money Capital 28
3 Toward Rural Realism: Variable Capital, Variable Capitalists, and the Fictions of Capital 81
Pt. II Excavating Geographical Imaginations
Introduction 115
4 Mussel Slough and the Contradictions of Squatter Capitalism 123
5 Realty Redux: Landscapes of Boom and Bust in Southern California 150
6 Romancing the Sand: Earth-Capital and Desire in the Imperial Valley 175
7 Take Me to the River: Water, Metropolitan Growth, and the Countryside 196
Conclusion 215
Notes 219
References 235
Index 251
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