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From Gift to Commodity
Capitalism and Sacrifice in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction
Hildegard Hoeller



Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies

University of New Hampshire Press
2012 • 296 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Literary Criticism / American History

$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-310-3
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-307-3

$39.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-311-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Cloth edition is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)



“Hoeller’s treatment of the ways in which the ‘(ir)responsibility’ and ‘(im)possibility’ of gifting permeate 19th-century American fiction affords valuable perspectives. . . . Hoeller effectively considers feminist, new economic, Marxist, and historicist approaches. . . . Her discussion of Howells in the ‘overlooked’ category of gift theory merits attention, and the argument regarding Norris’s McTeague and its depiction of ‘the lethal realm of the antigift’ is simply splendid. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

Fascinating analysis of the significance of the gift, and its increasingly complicated role in an emerging capitalist order, in nineteenth-century American fiction

In this rich interdisciplinary study, Hildegard Hoeller argues that nineteenth-century American culture was driven by and deeply occupied with the tension between gift and market exchange. Rooting her analysis in the period’s fiction, she shows how American novelists from Hannah Foster to Frank Norris grappled with the role of the gift based on trust, social bonds, and faith in an increasingly capitalist culture based on self-interest, market transactions, and economic reason. Placing the notion of sacrifice at the center of her discussion, Hoeller taps into the poignant discourse of modes of exchange, revealing central tensions of American fiction and culture.

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HILDEGARD HOELLER is professor of English, College of Staten Island, and professor of English and women’s studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is author of Edith Wharton’s Dialogue with Realism and Sentimental Fiction and editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick.






Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:51:58 -0500