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Disturbing Calculations: The Economics of Identity in Postcolonial Southern Literature, 1912-2002

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Disturbing Calculations: The Economics of Identity in Postcolonial Southern Literature, 1912-2002 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Thomas Wolfes Look Homeward, Angel, Margaret Leonard says, “Never mind about algebra here. Thats for poor folks. Theres no need for algebra where two and two make five.” Moments of mathematical reckoning like this pervade twentieth-century southern literature, says Melanie R. Benson. In fiction by a large, diverse group of authors, including William Faulkner, Anita Loos, William Attaway, Dorothy Allison, and Lan Cao, Benson identifies a calculation-obsessed, anxiety-ridden discourse in which numbers are employed to determine social and racial hierarchies and establish individual worth and identity.

This “narcissistic fetish of number” speaks to a tangle of desires and denials rooted in the history of the South, capitalism, and colonialism. No one evades participation in these “disturbing equations,” says Benson, wherein longing for increase, accumulation, and superiority collides with repudiation of the means by which material wealth is attained. Writers from marginalized groups--including African Americans, Native Americans, women, immigrants, and the poor--have deeply internalized and co-opted methods and tropes of the master narrative even as they have struggled to wield new voices unmarked by the discourse of the colonizer.

Having nominally emerged from slaverys legacy, the South is now situated in the agonized space between free market capitalism and social progressivism. Elite southerners work to distance themselves from capitalisms dehumanizing mechanisms, while the marginalized yearn to realize the uniquely American narrative of accumulation and ascent. The fetish of numbers emerges to signify the futility of both.

Synopsis:

In Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, Margaret Leonard says, Never mind about algebra here. That's for poor folks. There's no need for algebra wh

About the Author

Melanie Benson Taylor is an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780820331126
Author:
Benson, Melanie R.
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Author:
Melanie Benson Taylor
Author:
Benson Taylor, Melanie
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
Value
Subject:
American literature -- Southern States.
Subject:
Southern States In literature.
Subject:
American
Subject:
US History-General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
New Southern Studies
Publication Date:
20080831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
280
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 0.84 lb

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Disturbing Calculations: The Economics of Identity in Postcolonial Southern Literature, 1912-2002 New Trade Paper
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Product details 280 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820331126 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, Margaret Leonard says, Never mind about algebra here. That's for poor folks. There's no need for algebra wh
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