Paper Money Men: Commerce, Manhood, and the Sensational Public Sphere in Antebellum America

Overview

Paper Money Men: Commerce, Manhood, and the Sensational Public Sphere in Antebellum America by David Anthony outlines the emergence of a “sensational public sphere” in antebellum America. It argues that this new representational space reflected and helped shape the intricate relationship between commerce and masculine sensibility in a period of dramatic economic upheaval. Looking at a variety of sensational media—from penny press newspapers and pulpy dime novels to the work of well-known writers such as Irving, ...

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Overview

Paper Money Men: Commerce, Manhood, and the Sensational Public Sphere in Antebellum America by David Anthony outlines the emergence of a “sensational public sphere” in antebellum America. It argues that this new representational space reflected and helped shape the intricate relationship between commerce and masculine sensibility in a period of dramatic economic upheaval. Looking at a variety of sensational media—from penny press newspapers and pulpy dime novels to the work of well-known writers such as Irving, Hawthorne, and Melville—this book counters the common critical notion that the period's sensationalism addressed a primarily working-class audience. Instead, Paper Money Men shows how a wide variety of sensational media was in fact aimed principally at an emergent class of young professional men. “Paper money men” were caught in the transition from an older and more stable mercantilist economy to a panic-prone economic system centered on credit and speculation. And, Anthony argues, they found themselves reflected in the sensational public sphere, a fantasy space in which new models of professional manhood were repeatedly staged and negotiated. Compensatory in nature, these alternative models of manhood rejected fiscal security and property as markers of a stable selfhood, looking instead toward intangible factors such as emotion and race in an effort to forge a secure sense of manhood in an age of intense uncertainty.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 “David Anthony is a remarkably original scholar who is doing paradigm-shifting work. His arguments linking gender and economic issues in nineteenth-century America are knowledgeable, sophisticated, new, and important. Paper Money Men is a knowledgeable, capacious, and often spirited study of antebellum sensational narratives, from a startling new angle. It will have a strong impact on several fields of study.” —David Leverenz, professor of English, the University of Florida
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814211106
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/7/2009
  • Edition description: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Anthony is associate professor of English at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Fantasies of Treasure in Antebellum Culture 1

Chapter 1 “Sleepy Hollow,” Gothic Masculinity, and the Panic of 1819 41

Chapter 2 Shylock on Wall Street: The Jessica Complex in Antebellum Sensationalism 70

Chapter 3 Banking on Emotion: Debt and Male Submission in the Urban Gothic 102

Chapter 4 Tabloid Manhood, Speculative Femininity 123

Chapter 5 “Success” and Race in The House of the Seven Gables 156

Epilogue: Bartleby's Bank 183

Notes 187

Works Cited 204

Index 216

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