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"Contexts and Backgrounds" provides readers with an understanding of The Jungle's disparate social, historical, political, and literary dimensions. Included are autobiographical selections by the author; contemporary perspectives on the meatpacking industry, including writings by Theodore Dreiser, Adolphe Smith, and J. Ogden Armour; and commentary on the living conditions of immigrant workers. Historical studies by Jimmy Skaggs, Rick Halpern, James Barrett, Robert M. Crunden, John Braeman, William Cronon, and Eric Schlosser address the central issues: slaughterhouse abuses, protectionism and The Beef Trust, muckraking, Progressivism, and consumer rights. "Criticism" collects eight provocative readings of The Jungle as a literary text, as a historical document in its own right, as a contribution to Progressive-era muckraking, and as an important work in urban, economic, and labor history. Contributions include Jack London, Edward Clark Marsh, Winston Spencer Churchill, Walter Rideout, June Howard, Scott Derrick, Michael Brewster Folsom, and Christopher P. Wilson. A Selected Bibliography is also included.
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"Students preparing research papers and students boning up for class will reach eagerly for these well-designed additions to accessible literary criticism for high school students."From the Back Cover:
An ardent activist, champion of political reform, novelist, and progressive journalist, Upton Sinclair is perhaps best known today for The Jungle his devastating expose of the meat-packing industry. A protest novel he privately published in 1906, the book was a shocking revelation of intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards. It quickly became a bestseller, arousing public sentiment and resulting in such federal legislation as the Pure Food and Drug Act.-The brutally grim story of a Slavic family who emigrates to America, The Jungle tells of their rapid and inexorable descent into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and social and economic despair. Vulnerable and isolated, the family of Jurgis Rudkus struggles unsuccessfully to survive in an urban jungle.
A powerful view of turn-of-the-century poverty, graft, and corruption, this fiercely realistic American classic is still required reading in many history and literature classes. It will continue to haunt readers long after they've finished the last page."
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