The Valuation of Literature: Triangulating the Rhetorical with the Economic Metaphor The Valuation of Literature: Triangulating the Rhetorical with the Economic Metaphor
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.
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
Date of Publication:07/02/2004