The Jungle (Bedford Cultural Editions Series)

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9780312400378: The Jungle (Bedford Cultural Editions Series)

Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, which inspired passage in 1906 of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, stands as a classic of twentieth-century American literature and social protest. In this accessible and thorough edition by Christopher Phelps, a critical introduction addresses the wide range of issues raised by the text, including early twentieth-century working conditions, immigrant community, race and gender, political reform, and the continuing relevance of Sinclair’s investigation. This edition uses the most widely recognized text of The Jungle — the Doubleday, Page edition published in 1906 — and provides an illuminating supporting document: President Theodore Roosevelt’s delivery to Congress of the official report that confirmed The Jungle’s shocking allegations about the Chicago meatpacking industry. Questions for consideration, a chronology, and a selected bibliography help contextualize Sinclair’s novel and provide students with resources for further study.

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From the Publisher:

In this powerful book we enter the world of Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant who arrives in America fired with dreams of wealth, freedom, and opportunity. And we discover, with him, the astonishing truth about "packingtown," the busy, flourishing, filthy Chicago stockyards, where new world visions perish in a jungle of human suffering. Upton Sinclair, master of the "muckraking" novel, here explores the workingman's lot at the turn of the century: the backbreaking labor, the injustices of "wage-slavery," the bewildering chaos of urban life. The Jungle, a story so shocking that it launched a government investigation, recreates this startling chapter if our history in unflinching detail. Always a vigorous champion on political reform, Sinclair is also a gripping storyteller, and his 1906 novel stands as one of the most important -- and moving -- works in the literature of social change.

From the Back Cover:

An ardent activist, champion of political reform, novelist, and progressive journalist, Upton Sinclair is perhaps best known today for The Jungle—his devastating exposé of the meat-packing industry. A protest novel he privately published in 1906, the book was a shocking revelation of intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards. It quickly became a bestseller, arousing public sentiment and resulting in such federal legislation as the Pure Food and Drug Act.|The brutally grim story of a Slavic family who emigrates to America, The Jungle tells of their rapid and inexorable descent into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and social and economic despair. Vulnerable and isolated, the family of Jurgis Rudkus struggles—unsuccessfully—to survive in an urban jungle.
A powerful view of turn-of-the-century poverty, graft, and corruption, this fiercely realistic American classic is still required reading in many history and literature classes. It will continue to haunt readers long after they've finished the last page.

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