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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.59, No.5, 667 ~ 689, 2013
The Cultural Politics of Excess: Mass Culture and Realism in The Rise of Silas Lapham
백준걸 Paek Joon Gul
William Dean Howells has been widely recognized as a writer who formulated the theory of American realism in opposition to the increasing vulgarization of cultural taste, evidenced most dramatically by the ascendancy of sentimental novels and romantic historical novels. Howellsian realism has thus been understood as the cultural shield against the rising tide of capitalism and mass culture, and The Rise of Silas Lapham, among others, has been touted as the quintessence of the realist novel. The novel, however, is studded with the odd moments of excess strikingly at variance with realist norms, and these excesses can best be understood as the unacknowledged traces of mass culture. In short, this paper will show how The Rise of Silas Laphall1 feeds on, and is undermined by, the very element which it seeks to resist, by tracing mass-cultural excesses in Lapham. This paper will further argue that the novel registers less a retreat into the precapitalist agrarian community or a cultural war against capitalism, as some critics have claimed, than the relentless persistence of capitalism.
Key Words
윌리엄 딘 하웰즈, 사일러스 라팜의 성장, 대중문화, 리얼리즘, 과잉, William Deam Howells, The Rise of silas Lapham, mass culture, realism, excess,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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