CSI Professor Publishes Book on the Role of the Gift in Capitalism and U.S. Fiction

October 31, 2012 | College of Staten Island

CSI Professor Hildegard Hoeller’s new book, From Gift to Commodity: Capitalism and Sacrifice in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction, has been published by University of New Hampshire Press as a part of its Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies series.

In this rich interdisciplinary study, Hildegard Hoeller argues that 19th-century American culture was driven by and deeply occupied with the tension between gift and market exchange. Rooting her analysis in the period’s fiction, she shows how American novelists from Hannah Foster to Frank Norris grappled with the role of the gift, based on trust, social bonds, and faith in an increasingly capitalist culture based on self-interest, market transactions, and economic reason. Placing the notion of sacrifice at the center of her discussion, Hoeller taps into the poignant discourse of modes of exchange, revealing central tensions of American fiction and culture.

Hildegard Hoeller is Professor of English, College of Staten Island, and Professor of English and Women’s Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is author of Edith Wharton’s Dialogue with Realism and Sentimental Fiction and editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick.

For information on how to purchase the book, visit the University of New Hampshire Press Website.