Details

Power and Class in Political Fiction


Power and Class in Political Fiction

Elite Theory and the Post-War Washington Novel

von: David Smit

51,16 €

Verlag: Palgrave Macmillan
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 13.09.2019
ISBN/EAN: 9783030267698
Sprache: englisch

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Beschreibungen

This book introduces Elite Theory to the literary study of class as a framework for addressing issues of the nature of governance in political fiction.  The book describes the historical development and major tenets of Elite Theory, and shows how each of four post-war Washington novels—Gore Vidal’s Washington, D.C.; Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent; Joan Didion’s Democracy; and Ward Just’s Echo House—illustrates the way class-based political elites exhibit forms of “ruling-class consciousness” and maintain their legitimacy in an ostensibly democratic form of government by promoting themselves as models of behavior, promulgating an ideology that justifies their rule through their control of the media, and accepting new members from the lower classes. Reading these novels through a socio-political lens, David Smit offers suggestions for ways to work for a more just and equitable society in light of what this analysis reveals about the “culture” that produces our political elites.
CONTENTS Chapter 1/Introduction 1.1 Chapter 1 The Political Novel

1.2 Chapter 1 The Washington Novel

1.3 Chapter 1 Elite Theory and Ruling Elites

 

Chapter 2/Class Consciousness in Late-Twentieth-Century America 2.1 Chapter 2 Post-War Working-Class Consciousness

2.2 Chapter 2 Post-War Ruling-Class Consciousness

 

Chapter 3/Elite Theory and the American Political Directorate 3.1 Chapter 3 A Brief History of Elite Theory

3.2 Chapter 3 Contemporary American Elite Theory

3.3 Chapter 3 Class and the Elite

3.4 Chapter 3 Power

 

Chapter 4/Gore Vidal’s Washington D. C.: Maintaining Legitimacy  

Chapter 5/Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent: Moderate Ruling-Elite Ideology  

Chapter 6/Joan Didion’s Democracy: Moderate Ruling-Elite Constituencies  

Chapter 7/Ward Just’s Echo House: Implementing Policy/Accepting Others  

Chapter 8/ Conclusion 8.1 Chapter 8 The Cultural Problem

8.2 Chapter 8 The Political Problem
David Smit is Emeritus Professor of English at Kansas State University, USA, where he taught courses on Post-War American Literature and Culture, Henry James, and Expository Writing.  His previous books are The Language of a Master: Theories of Style and the Late Writing of Henry James (1988); The End of Composition Studies (2004); and Ingrid Bergman: The Life, Career, and Public Image (2012).
This book introduces Elite Theory to the literary study of class as a framework for addressing issues of the nature of governance in political fiction.  The book describes the historical development and major tenets of Elite Theory, and shows how each of four post-war Washington novels—Gore Vidal’s Washington, D.C.; Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent; Joan Didion’s Democracy; and Ward Just’s Echo House—illustrates the way class-based political elites exhibit forms of “ruling-class consciousness” and maintain their legitimacy in an ostensibly democratic form of government by promoting themselves as models of behavior, promulgating an ideology that justifies their rule through their control of the media, and accepting new members from the lower classes. Reading these novels through a socio-political lens, David Smit offers suggestions for ways to work for a more just and equitable society in light of what this analysis reveals about the “culture” that produces our political elites.
Studies class in political fiction

Makes broad implications for understanding Elite Theory in literature

Appeals to scholars of cultural studies, American studies, politics, and class studies
“Using Stanley Aronowitz’s concept of a ‘political directorate’ and the scholarship on ‘Elite Theory,’ Power and Class in Political Fiction represents an important contribution to class studies and an original perspective for understanding ruling elites in the periods under discussion. The book takes class studies outside the conventional frameworks of class analysis and, by focusing on ‘the Washington novels,’ provides an essential counterpoint and supplement to Marxist perspectives and approaches.” (William E. Dow, Professor of American Literature at the Université Paris-Est (UPEM), France, Professor of English at the American University of Paris, France, and author of Narrating Class in American Fiction (2009))“In Power and Class in Political Fiction: Elite Theory and the Post-War Washington Novel, David Smit builds a convincing case that understanding Washington elites, as they appear in 20th Century fiction, is a highly valuable exercise. At the intersection of politics and prose, Didion, Vidal, Drury, and Just combine the reporter’s eye with the novelist’s soul as they dissect political elites. Washington novels have long been dismissed, and Smit explains why this is wrong and makes the case for fiction to play its powerful role in uncovering truths that may bypass both reporters and historians.” (Burdett Loomis, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Kansas, USA)

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