Chapter

Ghosts of Progress: Alice Cary, Mary Noailles Murfree, Mary Austin, and Edith Wharton

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

in Scare Tactics

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229857
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241040 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823229857.003.0004
Ghosts of Progress: Alice Cary, Mary Noailles Murfree, Mary Austin, and Edith Wharton

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The ghostly works of Alice Cary, Mary Noailles Murfree, Mary Austin, and Edith Wharton are discussed in this chapter. Capitalism itself is shown to underlie and structure relationships of exploitation and abuse between members of the same and of opposite sexes. These are stories that yoke together the insights of the Female Gothic, in which the supernatural is less scary than the everyday forms of abuse suffered by women, and capitalist horror stories of the type discussed by Annalee Newitz, in which economic system structured on greed and getting ahead literally at the expense of others fosters all manner of violence and deviance. The ghosts in all these stories are situated within social contexts that foreground the disparity between rich and poor that structures the American dream of achieving financial independence, and the space they haunt is precisely that of the ethical void at the heart of American capitalism.

Keywords: capitalism; Alice Cary; abuse; Female Gothic; horror stories; rich; poor; Mary Noailles Murfree; Mary Austin; Edith Wharton

Chapter.  10345 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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