Catalogue


The fictional republic [electronic resource] : Horatio Alger and American political discourse /
Carol Nackenoff.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.
description
xii, 364 p. : ill.
ISBN
019507923X (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.
isbn
019507923X (Cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed October 15, 2007).
catalogue key
7372160
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 336-353) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-07:
Challenging prevailing readings of Alger's works as merely self-help manuals promoting capitalism and individualism, Nackenoff (political science, Swarthmore) argues that Alger's texts are reflections of the complex political, social, and cultural divisions of the American republic in the Gilded Age. The author contends that the force of Alger's writings is derived from their demonstrations of the fragmented underside of the political rhetoric of republican unity. Through a number of persuasive readings, Nackenoff shows that Alger's heroes, striving to discover their identities in a world driven by the evils of industrialism and capitalism, are allegories of the young republic striving to establish its own identity by integrating differences into unity. Though the book is full of the jargon of literary theory and political theory, it is nonetheless a valuable contribution to American studies and American literary history. Especially helpful are the chapters on the development of readers and reading in America. Recommended for graduate students and faculty. H. L. Carrigan, Jr.; Otterbein College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A valuable contribution to American studies and American literary history. Especially helpful are the chapters on the development of readers and reading in America."--Choice
"A valuable contribution to American studies and American literaryhistory. Especially helpful are the chapters on the development of readers andreading in America."--Choice
"A wonderful book, written with flair and imagination. The Fictional Republic tells the story of Horatio Alger, the gilded age, and the contest to define America. In explaining why the Horatio Alger myth persists, Carol Nackenoff offers a powerful new reading of American political culture--asit was at the start of the century, as it is today."--James A. Morone, Brown University and author of The Democratic Wish
"A wonderful book, written with flair and imagination. The FictionalRepublic tells the story of Horatio Alger, the gilded age, and the contest todefine America. In explaining why the Horatio Alger myth persists, CarolNackenoff offers a powerful new reading of American political culture--as it wasat the start of the century, as it is today."--James A. Morone, Brown Universityand author of The Democratic Wish
"A wonderful book, written with flair and imagination. The Fictional Republic tells the story of Horatio Alger, the gilded age, and the contest to define America. In explaining why the Horatio Alger myth persists, Carol Nackenoff offers a powerful new reading of American political culture--as it was at the start of the century, as it is today."--James A. Morone, Brown University and author of The Democratic Wish "Firmly grounded on the bedrock of biographical detail, The Fictional Republic perceptively analyzes the politics of Alger's novels. To my great delight, Carol Nackenoff goes far in retrieving a historical Alger whose writings have been appropriated in this century by success cultists and political consultants of every stripe."--Gary Scharnhorst, University of New Mexico "Nackenoff's innovative exploration of the connections between politics and popular literature identifies the many ways in which Horatio Alger reflected and reinforced the political culture of his time."--Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University "This is a splendid book in every way: it is well-conceived, superbly executed, and very well written. Nackenoff tells a marvelously insightful, subtle, and compelling story that is simultaneously an account of Alger and the nineteenth-century religious, philosophic, and political sources and meanings of his writings and an interpretation of the development of American political discourse. Students of popular culture could learn much from The Fictional Republic."--Gordon Schochet, Rutgers University "A valuable contribution to American studies and American literary history. Especially helpful are the chapters on the development of readers and reading in America."--Choice
"A wonderful book, written with flair and imagination. The Fictional Republic tells the story of Horatio Alger, the gilded age, and the contest to define America. In explaining why the Horatio Alger myth persists, Carol Nackenoff offers a powerful new reading of American political culture--as it was at the start of the century, as it is today."--James A. Morone, Brown University and author of The Democratic Wish "Firmly grounded on the bedrock of biographical detail, The Fictional Republic perceptively analyzes the politics of Alger's novels. To my great delight, Carol Nackenoff goes far in retrieving a historical Alger whose writings have been appropriated in this century by success cultists and political consultants of every stripe."--Gary Scharnhorst, University of New Mexico "Nackenoff's innovative exploration of the connections between politics and popular literature identifies the many ways in which Horatio Alger reflected and reinforced the political culture of his time."--Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University "This is a splendid book in every way: it is well-conceived, superbly executed, and very well written. Nackenoff tells a marvelously insightful, subtle, and compelling story that is simultaneously an account of Alger and the nineteenth-century religious, philosophic, and political sources and meanings of his writings and an interpretation of the development of American political discourse. Students of popular culture could learn much from The Fictional Republic ."--Gordon Schochet, Rutgers University "A valuable contribution to American studies and American literary history. Especially helpful are the chapters on the development of readers and reading in America."-- Choice
"A wonderful book, written with flair and imagination.The Fictional Republictells the story of Horatio Alger, the gilded age, and the contest to define America. In explaining why the Horatio Alger myth persists, Carol Nackenoff offers a powerful new reading of American political culture--as it was at the start of the century, as it is today."--James A. Morone,Brown Universityand author ofThe Democratic Wish "Firmly grounded on the bedrock of biographical detail,The Fictional Republicperceptively analyzes the politics of Alger's novels. To my great delight, Carol Nackenoff goes far in retrieving a historical Alger whose writings have been appropriated in this century by success cultists and political consultants of every stripe."--Gary Scharnhorst,University of New Mexico "Nackenoff's innovative exploration of the connections between politics and popular literature identifies the many ways in which Horatio Alger reflected and reinforced the political culture of his time."--Paul E. Peterson,Harvard University "This is a splendid book in every way: it is well-conceived, superbly executed, andvery wellwritten. Nackenoff tells a marvelously insightful, subtle, and compelling story that is simultaneously an account of Alger and the nineteenth-century religious, philosophic, and political sources and meanings of his writings and an interpretation of the development of American political discourse. Students of popular culture could learn much fromThe Fictional Republic."--Gordon Schochet,Rutgers University "A valuable contribution to American studies and American literary history. Especially helpful are the chapters on the development of readers and reading in America."--Choice
"Firmly grounded on the bedrock of biographical detail, The Fictional Republic perceptively analyzes the politics of Alger's novels. To my great delight, Carol Nackenoff goes far in retrieving a historical Alger whose writings have been appropriated in this century by success cultists andpolitical consultants of every stripe."--Gary Scharnhorst, University of New Mexico
"Firmly grounded on the bedrock of biographical detail, The FictionalRepublic perceptively analyzes the politics of Alger's novels. To my greatdelight, Carol Nackenoff goes far in retrieving a historical Alger whosewritings have been appropriated in this century by success cultists andpolitical consultants of every stripe."--Gary Scharnhorst, University of NewMexico
"Her book will engage scholars who are interested in how the nineteenth-century market destabilized value and identity."--The Journal of American History
"Her book will engage scholars who are interested in how thenineteenth-century market destabilized value and identity."--The Journal ofAmerican History
"Nackenoff's innovative exploration of the connections between politics and popular literature identifies the many ways in which Horatio Alger reflected and reinforced the political culture of his time."--Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University
"Nackenoff's innovative exploration of the connections between politicsand popular literature identifies the many ways in which Horatio Alger reflectedand reinforced the political culture of his time."--Paul E. Peterson, HarvardUniversity
"Nackenoff's The Fictional Republic is another step toward recovering who Alger was and what we as Americans have meant in evoking his name."--American Literature
"Nackenoff's The Fictional Republic is another step toward recovering whoAlger was and what we as Americans have meant in evoking his name."--AmericanLiterature
"This is a splendid book in every way: it is well-conceived, superbly executed, and very well written. Nackenoff tells a marvelously insightful, subtle, and compelling story that is simultaneously an account of Alger and the nineteenth-century religious, philosophic, and political sources andmeanings of his writings and an interpretation of the development of American political discourse. Students of popular culture could learn much from The Fictional Republic."--Gordon Schochet, Rutgers University
"This is a splendid book in every way: it is well-conceived, superblyexecuted, and very well written. Nackenoff tells a marvelously insightful,subtle, and compelling story that is simultaneously an account of Alger and thenineteenth-century religious, philosophic, and political sources and meanings ofhis writings and an interpretation of the development of American politicaldiscourse. Students of popular culture could learn much from The FictionalRepublic."--Gordon Schochet, Rutgers University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 1995
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Summaries
Long Description
Investigating the persistence and place of the formulas of Horatio Alger in American politics, The Fictional Republic reassesses the Alger story in its Gilded Age context. Carol Nackenoff argues that Alger was a keen observer of the dislocations and economic pitfalls of the rapidly industrializing nation, and devised a set of symbols that addressed anxieties about power and identity. As classes were increasingly divided by wealth, life chances, residence space, and culture, Alger maintained that Americans could still belong to one estate. The story of the youth who faces threats to his virtue, power, independence, and identity stands as an allegory of the American Republic. Nackenoff examines how the Alger formula continued to shape political discourse in Reagan's America and beyond.
Main Description
Investigating the persistence and place of the formulas of Horatio Alger in American politics, The Fictional Republic reassesses the Alger story in its Gilded Age context. Carol Nackenoff argues that Alger was a keen observer of the dislocations and economic pitfalls of the rapidlyindustrializing nation, and devised a set of symbols that addressed anxieties about power and identity. As classes were increasingly divided by wealth, life chances, residence space, and culture, Alger maintained that Americans could still belong to one estate. The story of the youth who facesthreats to his virtue, power, independence, and identity stands as an allegory of the American Republic. Nackenoff examines how the Alger formula continued to shape political discourse in Reagan's America and beyond.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Allegory of the Republic: On Interpretation and Methodp. 3
A Unitarian Project for Moral Guidancep. 12
Republican Rites of Passage: Character and the Battle for Youthp. 33
Guidebooks for Survival in an Industrializing Economyp. 53
Saved From the Factoryp. 78
Technology, Organizations, Corporations, and Capitalistsp. 93
Natural Aristocracy in a Democracy: Authority, Power, and Politicsp. 110
Money, Price, and Value: Alger's Interventions in the Marketp. 133
Levelling and Its Limitsp. 162
Reading Alger: Searching for Alger's Audience in the Literary Marketplacep. 181
The Mass Fiction Writer As Producer and Consumer: Power, Powerlessness, and Genderp. 206
Culture Warsp. 227
The Fictional Republic: Alger's Appeal to the American Political Imaginationp. 261
Notesp. 272
Referencesp. 336
Name Indexp. 354
Subject Indexp. 357
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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