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The American 1890s A Cultural Reader by Melanie Dawson

The American 1890s A Cultural Reader


The American 1890s A Cultural Reader by Melanie Dawson

America at the last fin de siecle was in a period of profound societal transition. Industrialization was well under way and with it a burgeoning sense of professionalism and a growing middle class that was becoming increasingly anxious about issues of race, gender, and class. The American 1890s: A Cultural Reader is a wide-ranging anthology of essays, criticism, and fiction first printed in periodicals during those last remarkable years of the nineteenth century, a decade commonly referred to as the golden age of periodical culture.To depict the many changes taking place in the United States at this time, Susan Harris Smith and Melanie Dawson have drawn from an eclectic range of periodicals: elite monthlies such as Scribner's, Harper's, and the Atlantic Monthly; political magazines such as the North American Review and Forum; magazines for general readers such as Cosmopolitan and McClures; and specialized publications including the Chatauquan, Outing, and Colored American Magazine. Authors represented in the collection include Andrew Carnegie, Edith Wharton, Theodore Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Booker T. Washington, Stephen Crane, W. E. B. DuBois, Jacob Riis, and Frederick Jackson Turner. A general introduction to the period, a brief contextualizing essay for each selection, and a comprehensive bibliography of secondary sources are provided as well. In examining and debating the decade's momentous political and social developments, the essays, editorials, and stories in this anthology reflect a constantly shifting culture at a time of internal turmoil, unprecedented political expansion, and a renaissance of modern ideas and new technologies.Bringing together a carefully chosen selection of primary sources, The American 1890s presents a remarkable variety of views-nostalgic, protective, imperialist, progressive, egalitarian, and democratic-held by American citizens a century ago.


This excellent sourcebook covers a range of topics, from education to mental health, from labor and the city to reading and culture. A thorough and well-conceived collection. -Priscilla Wald, author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form A splendid collection! This combination of fiction, editorials, and essays offers multiple themes and insights into the concerns of 1890s America that still hold sway over the public imagination today. - Emory Elliott, University of California, Riverside

About the Author

Susan Harris Smith is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of American Drama: The Bastard Art and Masks in Modern Drama.Melanie Dawson is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st July 2000


Melanie Dawson

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Duke University Press


488 pages


Literary essays
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
History of the Americas
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Cultural studies



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