Power and Class in Political Fiction

Elite Theory and the Post-War Washington Novel

Authors: Smit, David

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  • 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
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-26769-8
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Hardcover 72,79 €
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-26768-1
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About this book

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.

About the authors

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).


Reviews

“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)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 59,49 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-26769-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 72,79 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-26768-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Power and Class in Political Fiction
Book Subtitle
Elite Theory and the Post-War Washington Novel
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-26769-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-26769-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-26768-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 188
Topics