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Absent-Minded Forms: Academic Novels, American Meritocracy, and Other Educational Fictions

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thesis
posted on 31.10.2017, 00:00 by Christopher M Findeisen
This dissertation is study of the emergence and proliferation of the American academic novel since the 19th century. I investigate two simultaneous lines of inquiry. First, I consider the social conditions that presided over the birth of the academic novel genre during the last decades of the 19th century. Like all genres, the academic novel emerged as a recognizable literary form in response to specific political and economic conditions, particularly a growing sense that a “good-for-nothing” college education could serve some greater social purpose, above and beyond what it might to for individuals. Second, I inquire into the ideological need to repeat these generic structures in a world where that same condition has long since passed. Indeed, I argue there is an acute ideological need for academic novel to proliferate in a world in which the material rewards of higher education have subsumed the institution entirely.

History

Advisor

Benn Michaels, Walter

Chair

Benn Michaels, Walter

Department

English

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

Doctoral

Committee Member

Brown, Nicholas DeStigter, Todd Ashton, Jennifer Warren, Kenneth

Submitted date

August 2017

Issue date

24/08/2017

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