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Literature and the Economics of Liberty: Spontaneous Order in Culture Hardcover – January 14, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 1st edition (January 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933550643
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933550640
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,748,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Edward Walker on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In recent decades, literary criticism has championed several schools that disavow common-sense economics in favor of more private and personal agendas. The "personal is political" formulation long ago crept into English Departments, at the expense of more traditional understandings of the warp and weave of Western Civilization. Beginning in the mid- to late-twentieth century, students were subjected to successive waves of New Criticism, Marxist Theory, Queer Theory, Feminist Theory and Deconstructionism - all guilty of squeezing square pegs into round holes in order to further individual reputations and engineer social change rather than increase knowledge of the human condition through the arts.

The human condition is, no matter how much theorists would prefer to believe otherwise, economic as well as spiritual, sexual and political. After all, even atheist transsexual Marxists need to trade something for food, clothing and shelter, do they not?

A valid question for the creators and critics: What provides the best economic model to ensure the happiness of the seven billion inhabitants of this earth? And what of the billion or more characters inhabiting our planet's literature?

This is the theme pursued by Paul A. Cantor and Stephen Cox in their collection of brilliant essays in the Economics of Literature & Liberty. The essays take free-market economics as the basis for examining, for the most part, well-known literary works by the likes of Cervantes, Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, H. G. Wells, Thomas Mann and others. One need not be conversant in any of the works under consideration to appreciate the depth of literary and economic knowledge displayed by these authors. Nor do readers require more than a perfunctory background in economics.
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