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The Valuation of Literature: Triangulating the Rhetorical with the Economic Metaphor The Valuation of Literature: Triangulating the Rhetorical with the Economic Metaphor

by Gustafson, Melissa Brown

Abstract (Summary)

Several theorists, including the Marxist theorists Trevor Ross, Walter Benjamin, and M.H. Abrams, have proposed theories to explain the eighteenth-century shift from functional to aesthetic conceptions of literature. Their explanations attribute the change to an increasingly consumer-based society (and the resulting commoditization of books), the development of the press, the rise of the middle class, and increased access to books. When we apply the cause-effect relationships which these theorists propose to the contexts of nineteenth-century America, Communist East Germany, WWII America, and 9/11 America, however, the causes don’t correlate with the effects they theoretically predict. This disjunction suggests a re-examination of these three theories and possibly the Marxist basis which they share. I suggest that by triangulating rhetorical theory with Marxist theory we will gain a more comprehensive understanding of society’s valuation of literature.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Brigham Young University

School Location:USA - Utah

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:theory theorist marxism marxist trevor ross walter benjamin m h abrams nineteenth century america wwii east germany gdr war communist 9 11 september 11th rhetoric rhetorical kenneth burke literature literariness valuation aesthetic eighteenth england

ISBN:

Date of Publication:07/02/2004

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