Market Sentiments: Middle-Class Market Culture in Nineteenth-Century Americaby Elizabeth White Nelson
Interdisciplinary history explaining the rise of capitalism, sentimentalism, the marketplace, and the parlor.This brilliant examination of the nineteenth-century challenges a central tenet of American history: that in the past men and women lived in separate spheres. Women, supposedly, lived lives focused around hearth and home; men focused on trade and commerce. Market Sentiments turns this argument on its head, showing how the market revolution was inextricably linked to sentimental beliefs. The invention of Valentine's Day and the rise of popular fashion magazines that used a sentimental language for attracting customers illustrate how the market and the parlor were closely intertwined. Through her ingenious use of sourcesliterary bestsellers, the decoration of Victorian parlors, hair jewelry, and fashion magazinesElizabeth White Nelson shows that for nineteenth-century Americans hearth, home, and the pursuit of cash were joined together in one big, sentimental market. Long seen as a reaction to the expansion of the marketplace, White Nelson sees the rise of sentimentalism and the marketplace as fundamentally linked to each other; indeed, they fueled each other. Not only were sentimental objects offered for sale (brass candlesticks as spin-off products from Uncle Tom's Cabin), but sentimental language was also used to explain the momentous changes in American culture. She explores how emotional rhetoric could be quite economically pragmatic. 25 b/w illustrations.
Author Biography: Elizabeth White Nelson teaches American history at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She lives in Las Vegas.
- Smithsonian Institution Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.26(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.94(d)
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