Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s

La Berge, Leigh Claire

Published by Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 019937287X / ISBN 13: 9780199372874
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Synopsis: The Long 1980s could be summed up handily in the annals of U.S. cultural history with the enduring markers of Ronald Reagan's presidency, Oliver Stone's film Wall Street, and Dire Straits's hit single "Money for Nothing." Despite their vast differences, each serves to underscore the confidence, jingoism, and optimism that powered the U.S. economy throughout the decade. Mining a wide range of literature, film, and financial print journalism, Scandals and Abstraction chronicles how American society's increasing concern with finance found expression in a large array of cultural materials that ultimately became synonymous with postmodernism.

The ever-present credit cards, monetary transactions, and ATMs in Don De Lillo's White Noise open this study as they serve as touchstones for its protagonist's sense of white masculinity and ground the novel's narrative form. Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities and Oliver Stone's Wall Street animate a subsequent chapter, as each is considered in light of the 1987 stock market crash and held up as a harbinger of a radical new realism that claimed a narrative monopoly on representing an emergent financial era. These works give way to the pornographic excess and violence of Bret Easton Ellis's epochal American Psycho, which is read alongside the popular 1980s genre of the financial autobiography. With a series of trenchant readings, La Berge argues that Ellis's novel can be best understood when examined alongside Ivan Boesky's Merger Mania, Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal, and T. Boone Pickens's Boone. A look at Jane Smiley's Good Faith and its plot surrounding the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, concludes the study, and considers how financial reportage became a template for much of our current writing about of finance.

Drawing on a diverse archive of novels, films, autobiographies, and journalism, Scandals and Abstraction provides a timely study of the economy's influence on fiction, and outlines a feedback loop whereby postmodernism became more canonical, realism became more postmodern, and finance became a distinct cultural object.

About the Author:
Leigh Claire La Berge is Assistant Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York and the coeditor, with Alison Shonkwiler, of Reading Capitalist Realism.

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Title: Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction ...
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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Book Description b10775, 2015. Condition: Brand New. Scandals and Abstraction offers an in-depth study of epochal works like White Noise by Don DeLillo, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, and Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, alongside the key moments of financial history that inform them. Seller Inventory # 160

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The greed, excess, and decadence of the long 1980s has been famously chronicled, critiqued, and satirized in epochal works like White Noise by Don DeLillo, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, and Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities. Leigh Claire La Berge offers an in-depth study of these fictions alongside the key moments of financial history that inform them, contending that throughout the 1980s, novelists, journalists, andfilmmakers began to reimagine the capitalist economy as one that was newly personal, masculine, and anxiety producing. The study's first half links the linguistic to the technological by exploring the arrival of ATMs and their ubiquity in postmodern American literature. In transformative readings of novels such as White Noise andAmerican Psycho, La Berge traces how the ATM serves as a symbol of anxious isolation and the erosion of interpersonal communication. A subsequent chapter on Ellis' novel and Jane Smiley's Good Faith explores how male protagonists in each develop unique associations between money and masculinity. The second half of the monograph features chapters that attend to works-most notably Oliver Stone's Wall Street and Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities-that captureaspects of the arrogance and recklessness that led to the savings-and-loan crisis and the 1987 stock market crash. Concluding with a coda on the recent Occupy Wall Street Movement and four short stories written in its wake, Scandals and Abstraction demonstrates how economic forces continue to remain a powerful presence in today'sfiction. Seller Inventory # BTE9780199372874

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