Making Waste : Leftovers and the Eighteenth-Century Imagination

By: Gee, SophieMaterial type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on DemandPublisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2009Description: 1 online resource (206 p.)ISBN: 9781400832125Subject(s): Consumption (Economics) in literature | English literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism | English literature - 18th century - History and criticism | Great Britain -- Civilization -- 18th century | Great Britain - Civilization - 18th century | Literature and society -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century | Literature and society - Great Britain - History - 18th century | Refuse and refuse disposal in literature | Waste (Economics) in literatureGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Making Waste : Leftovers and the Eighteenth-Century ImaginationDDC classification: 820.9355309033 LOC classification: PR448.W37G44 2010Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
PUP_Gee_FM; PUP_Gee_Intro; PUP_Gee_Ch01; PUP_Gee_Ch02; PUP_Gee_Ch03; PUP_Gee_Ch04; PUP_Gee_Ch05; PUP_Gee_Afterword; PUP_Gee_Notes; PUP_Gee_Bibliography; PUP_Gee_Index
Summary: Why was eighteenth-century English culture so fascinated with the things its society discarded? Why did Restoration and Augustan writers such as Milton, Dryden, Swift, and Pope describe, catalog, and memorialize the waste matter that their social and political worlds wanted to get rid of--from the theological dregs in Paradise Lost to the excrements in "The Lady''s Dressing Room" and the corpses of A Journal of the Plague Year? In Making Waste, the first book about refuse and its place in Enlightenment literature and culture, Sophie Gee examines the meaning of waste at the moment when the early modern world was turning modern. Gee explains how English writers used contemporary theological and philosophical texts about unwanted and leftover matter to explore secular, literary relationships between waste and value. She finds that, in the eighteenth century, waste was as culturally valuable as it was practically worthless--and that waste paradoxically revealed the things that the culture cherished most. The surprising central insight of Making Waste is that the creation of value always generates waste. Waste is therefore a sign--though a perverse one--that value and meaning have been made. Even when it appears to symbolize civic, economic, and political failure, waste is in fact restorative, a sign of cultural invigoration and imaginative abundance. Challenging the conventional association of Enlightenment culture with political and social improvement, and scientific and commercial progress, Making Waste has important insights for cultural and intellectual history as well as literary studies.
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PR448.W37G44 2010 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=483545 Available EBL483545

PUP_Gee_FM; PUP_Gee_Intro; PUP_Gee_Ch01; PUP_Gee_Ch02; PUP_Gee_Ch03; PUP_Gee_Ch04; PUP_Gee_Ch05; PUP_Gee_Afterword; PUP_Gee_Notes; PUP_Gee_Bibliography; PUP_Gee_Index

Why was eighteenth-century English culture so fascinated with the things its society discarded? Why did Restoration and Augustan writers such as Milton, Dryden, Swift, and Pope describe, catalog, and memorialize the waste matter that their social and political worlds wanted to get rid of--from the theological dregs in Paradise Lost to the excrements in "The Lady''s Dressing Room" and the corpses of A Journal of the Plague Year? In Making Waste, the first book about refuse and its place in Enlightenment literature and culture, Sophie Gee examines the meaning of waste at the moment when the early modern world was turning modern. Gee explains how English writers used contemporary theological and philosophical texts about unwanted and leftover matter to explore secular, literary relationships between waste and value. She finds that, in the eighteenth century, waste was as culturally valuable as it was practically worthless--and that waste paradoxically revealed the things that the culture cherished most. The surprising central insight of Making Waste is that the creation of value always generates waste. Waste is therefore a sign--though a perverse one--that value and meaning have been made. Even when it appears to symbolize civic, economic, and political failure, waste is in fact restorative, a sign of cultural invigoration and imaginative abundance. Challenging the conventional association of Enlightenment culture with political and social improvement, and scientific and commercial progress, Making Waste has important insights for cultural and intellectual history as well as literary studies.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

This brief book on an unlikely topic is packed with insights. By focusing on "waste," Gee (English, Princeton Univ.) has found an original way to look at the literature of the Restoration and early 18th century. The author understands "waste" broadly: it includes the ruins of London after the Great Fire, dead bodies during the plague of 1665, undeveloped agricultural fields ("wasteland"), filth, excrement, even the abundance of God's creation that goes unused. By paying attention to the place of these "leftovers" in the culture of the era, the author is able to give novel readings of major works of literature, including John Dryden's Annus Mirabilis, John Milton's Paradise Lost, Alexander Pope's The Dunciad, Jonathan Swift's poems, and Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year. Finding new things to say about canonical works is no small achievement, and Gee goes back and forth between minute close readings and sweeping historical arguments with ease. Best of all, she always writes clearly, making her book accessible even to beginners. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. T. Lynch Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Sophie Gee is assistant professor of English at Princeton University and the author of The Scandal of the Season (Scribner), a novel based on the story behind Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock . She writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review , the Washington Post , and the Financial Times .

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