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Pleasing to the «I»

The Culture of Personality and Its Representations in Theodore Dreiser and F. Scott Fitzgerald


Uwe Juras

This book discusses how Theodore Dreiser and F. Scott Fitzgerald alongside other novelists enforced in their usage and interpretation of the term «personality» a newly emerging vision of self in American society. This vision was other-directed: many Americans meant to impress their social surroundings through consciously cultivating personality as a social stimulus value, which they hoped would ceaselessly further their social station. Anticipating the discourses in other cultural forms, the early twentieth-century American novelists warned that individuals’ repeated endeavors to define themselves outwardly would inevitably lead to identity loss and depression.
Contents: The Trajectory of the Self in American Cultural History – Philosophical, Psychological, and Sociological Other-Directedness – Definitions of Personality – Representations of Personality in the Novels of Dreiser, Fitzgerald et al.