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Description - A Coincidence of Wants by Charles R. Lewis

This interdisciplinary study examines four major British and American novels in view of key concepts from the mainstream tradition of neo-classical economics. Studies of the novel widely address its connections to capitalism, yet literary critics and theorists rarely make reference to neo-classical perspectives, which have held a key position in the formal analysis of the marketplace for over a century. Lewis argues that this overlooked area of economic thought, with its emphasis on subjective value, individual agency, and utility maximisation, points to a previously unrecognised and important "coincidence of wants" between economic and novelistic discourse. In each of the four readings, Lewis uses a single economic problem from neo-classical theory as a model for interpreting novelistic form and content as economic configurations. Topics include narrative deferral, detour, and return as a performance of capital formation and economic development in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe; the emergence of the creative, risk-taking entrepreneur in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; the representation of money in the romantic realisation of trade in Herman Melville's Moby Dick; and a consumer utility theory of naturalist desire and indifference in Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie. Underscoring how neo-classical theory variously elaborates on and departs from other economic approaches and periods, the author also addresses the limitations of, and the possibilities of profitable exchange with, other critical frameworks for understanding literal and symbolic economies in narrative fiction more broadly.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780815336488
ISBN-10: 0815336489
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 140mm x mm)
Pages: 166
Imprint: Garland Publishing Inc
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
Publish Date: 10-Nov-1999
Country of Publication: United States

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