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Personal Business: Character and Commerce in Victorian Literature and Culture (Victorian Literature and Culture Series)

Hunt, Aeron

Published by University of Virginia Press
ISBN 10: 0813936314 / ISBN 13: 9780813936314
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Personal Business: Character and Commerce in...

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New


Series: Victorian Literature and Culture Series. Num Pages: 240 pages, black & white illustrations, figures. BIC Classification: 2AB; DSBF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 235 x 156 x 22. Weight in Grams: 458. . 2014. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780813936314

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In recent years the analysis of the intersection of literature and economics has generated a vibrant conversation in literary and cultural studies of the Victorian period. But Aeron Hunt argues that an emphasis on abstraction and impersonality as the crucial features of the Victorian economic experience has led to a partial and ultimately misleading vision of Victorian business culture. In contrast, she asserts that the key to understanding the relationship of literary writing to economic experience is what she calls "personal business"?the social and interpersonal relationships of Victorian commercial life in which character was a central mediating concept.

Juxtaposing novels by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Margaret Oliphant with such nonfiction works as popular biographies, periodicals, and business handbooks, the author builds on and extends the insights of the "new economic criticism" by highlighting the embodied, interpersonal, and socially embedded interactions of everyday economic life.

Hunt analyzes the productive and disciplinary roles that character played in the Victorian economy and traces the proliferation of different models of character as literary writing and commercial discourse responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by personal business. She suggests that the dynamic interchange between forms of character employed in the everyday practice of business and those imagined in literary writing helped shape character as a crucial mode of power in Victorian business culture and economic life. Ultimately, Personal Business provides new ways to understand both the history of the Victorian novel and its implications in middle-class culture and the turbulent experience of nineteenth-century capitalism.

About the Author:

Aeron Hunt is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Brown University.

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