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Home > Catalog > American Literature and the Free Market, 1945–2000
American Literature and the Free Market, 1945–2000


  • Page extent: 220 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.5 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 810.9/3553
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PS225 .C57 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • American literature--20th century--History and criticism
    • Literature and society--United States--History--20th century
    • Economics and literature--United States--History--20th century
    • Free enterprise--Social aspects--United States

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521513999)

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American Literature and the Free Market, 1945–2000
Cambridge University Press
9780521513999 - American Literature and the Free Market, 1945–2000 - Edited by Michael W. Clune

American Literature and the Free Market, 1945–2000

The years after World War Two have seen a widespread fascination with the free market. Michael W. Clune considers this fascination in postwar literature. In the fictional worlds created by works ranging from Frank O'Hara's poetry to nineties gangster rap, the market is transformed, offering an alternative form of life, distinct from both the social visions of the left and the individualist ethos of the right. These ideas also provide an unsettling example of how art takes on social power by offering an escape from society. American Literature and the Free Market presents a new perspective on a number of wide-ranging works for readers of American postwar literature.

Michael W. Clune is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of South Florida.


Ross Posnock
Columbia University

Albert Gelpi
Stanford University

Alfred Bendixen
Texas A & M University
Sacvan Bercovitch
Harvard University
Ronald Bush
St. John's College, University of Oxford
Wai Chee Dimock
Yale University
Albert Gelpi
Stanford University
Gordon Hutner
University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign
Walter Benn Michaels
University of Illinois, Chicago
Kenneth Warren
University of Chicago

Recent books in this series

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Theo Davis Formalism, Experience, and the Making of American Literature in the Nineteenth Century

Joan Richardson A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan ­Edwards to Gertrude Stein

Ezra F. Tawil The Making of Racial Sentiment: Slavery and the Birth of the Frontier Romance

Arthur Riss Race, Slavery, and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

American Literature and the Free Market, 1945–2000

Edited by

Michael W. Clune

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge cb2 8ru, uk

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Michael W. Clune 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

isbn 978-0-521-51399-9 Hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of abbreviations
Introduction: The economic fiction
1     Freedom from you
2     Frank O'Hara and free choice
3     William Burroughs’ virtual mind
4     Blood money: sovereignty and exchange in Kathy Acker
5     “You can't see me”: rap, money, and the first person
Conclusion: The invisible world


My thanks go first to Walter Benn Michaels for his generous and acute reading of my work, and for the example set by his own. Allen Grossman's personal guidance was crucial early in this project, and his essays have served as an inspiration since. Aaron Kunin's suggestions and criticisms have helped to shape the book at every stage. Sharon Cameron, Frances Ferguson, Michael Fried, Richard Halpern, Kerry Larson, and the anonymous readers for Cambridge University Press offered important advice on various drafts. Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, the University of South Florida, and the Mellon Foundation provided support for research and writing. I thank Ray Ryan and Maartje Scheltens at Cambridge University Press. I would also like to thank Jonathan Freedman, Jason Gladstone, Jonathan Goldberg, Hunt Hawkins, Colleen Hull, Joe Loewenstein, Chelsey Moore, and Rebecca Traynor. This book is dedicated to my parents, Michael and Barbara.

An early version of chapter 2 appeared in PMLA 120:1 (January 2005); an early version of Chapter 4 appeared in Contemporary Literature 45:3 (Fall 2004). Frank O'Hara's “Personal Poem” is copyright 1964 by Frank O'Hara, and portions of it are reprinted in Chapter 2 by permission of City Lights Books.



Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963; London: Harper & Row, 1971)


Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Program” (1875), in The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978)


Frank O'Hara, The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara, ed. Donald Allen (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)


Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems (New York Harper ­Perennial, 1992)


Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961; New York, Vintage, 1993)


Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless (New York: Grove Press, 1988)


Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (1958; ­Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)


Kathy Acker, In Memoriam to Identity (New York: Grove Press, 1991)


William Gaddis, JR (New York: Penguin, 1975)


Michel Henry, Marx: A Philosophy of Human Reality (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1983)


Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935), in Off the Beaten Path (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)


R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (New York: ­Pantheon, 1967)


William S. Burroughs, The Soft Machine (New York: Grove Press, 1961)


William S. Burroughs, The Ticket That Exploded (New York: Grove Press, 1962)


F. A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1949), in Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958)

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