Mechanic Accents

Overview

Mechanic Accents is a widely acclaimed study of American popular fiction and working-class culture. Combining Marxist literary theory with American labor history, Michael Denning explores what happened when, in the nineteenth century, working people began to read cheap novels and the “fiction question” became a class question. In a new afterword, Denning locates his study within the context of current debates on class and cultural studies.
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Overview

Mechanic Accents is a widely acclaimed study of American popular fiction and working-class culture. Combining Marxist literary theory with American labor history, Michael Denning explores what happened when, in the nineteenth century, working people began to read cheap novels and the “fiction question” became a class question. In a new afterword, Denning locates his study within the context of current debates on class and cultural studies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“One of the most illuminating, theoretically informed accounts of popular fiction now available.”—Terry Eagleton

“A fresh and methodologically pathbreaking look at popular or mass-cultural narrative and its ideological function in a specific formative period of North American modernity.”—Fredric Jameson

Mechanic Accents abounds with new ways to think about America’s ubiquitous popular culture ... [Denning has] a first-rate intelligence and the generous sensibilities of a cultural modernist and democrat.”—Christine Stansell, Voice Literary Supplement

“An impressive and excellent book ... removes dime novels from the clutches of nostalgia buffs, returns mass fiction to the workers who read it, and convincingly outlines a fresh paradigm for the study of mass culture.”—Labor History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859842508
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Series: Haymarket Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Denning teaches American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of Mechanic Accents, Cover Stories, Culture in the Age of Three Worlds, and The Cultural Front.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 The Figure of the Dime Novel in American Culture 9
2 Fiction Factories: The Production of Dime Novels 17
3 'The Unknown Public': Dime Novels and Working Class Readers 27
4 The Uses of Literacy: Class, Culture, and Dime Novel Controversies 47
5 Reading Dime Novels: The Mechanic Accents of Escapist Fiction 65
6 Mysteries and Mechanics of the City 85
7 The Molly Maguires and the Detectives 118
8 Tramps, Outlaws ...: Figures of the Great Strike 149
9 Arthurian Knights in Connecticut Factories 167
10 Only a Mechanic's Daughter 185
Conclusion: Happy Endings? 201
Notes 214
Bibliographic Note 237
Cheap Stories 239
Bibliography 242
Afterword to the Revised Edition 255
Index 267
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