Needs and Wants, Suspended Characters, and the "Origins" of Eighteenth-Century English Novels
Governing Consumption challenges anew the underlying assumptions made by Ian Watt and other, recent influential scholars about the origins of the eighteenth-century English novel. By examining archival materials, and developing a broad historical and critical discussion, James Cruise places the fiction of Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, and Sterne within the framework of consumer capitalism, the existing market for narrative fiction, and a developing culture of needs and wants. He thereby argues that commercialization and the dynamic of its demands-based economy helped to shape the cultural processes by which the novel became a discursively rich, character-centered genre.
About the author:
James Cruise received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests and publications have focused on the relationship between the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English economy and the literature of the period, especially the novel. He is on the faculty at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.