Consuming Desire

Richard S. Lowry

in ‘Littery Man’

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195102123
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855087 | DOI:

Series: Commonwealth Center Studies in American Culture

Consuming Desire

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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The author states three major cultural transformations which best describe Mark Twain's writing: capital, culture, and education. These three cultural transformations are emphasized separately in the second, third, and fourth chapters, respectively. This chapter returns to the earlier stages of the writing career of Mark Twain as a national author with The Innocents Abroad in 1869 and Roughing It in 1872. These resolve the contradictions between the discourses of popular entertainment and high culture with a comic embrace of a commodity aesthetic. The author explores Mark Twain's suggestion of a person whose desire is very much structured by fantasies of commodity speculation and whose cultural authority is certified by the ability of that person to transform language into valuable money.

Keywords: Innocents Abroad; Roughing It; capital; culture; education

Chapter.  17062 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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