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Moral Economy and American Realistic Novels

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Da Zheng

Through its examination of nineteenth-century American realistic novels in their cultural context. Moral Economy and American Realistic Novels arguesthe importance of cultural motifs - such as insanity, lack of sympathy, and attention seeking - in the representation of social reality. It also argues that the formal problems of the realistic novels are the very loci where the novelists' concern for and engagement with their social reality are manifested. By revealing these writers' desire for a moral economy characterized by sanity, brotherly feelings, or modesty, the study underlines their ambivalent attitudes toward capitalism.