The Commodity Culture of Victorian England: Advertising and Spectacle, 1851-1914

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Stanford University Press, 1991 - Business & Economics - 306 pages
1 Review
This provocative and theoretically sophisticated book reveals how capitalism produced and sustained a culture of its own in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

"Richards provides a valuable account of the interaction between cultural and business development in Victorian England by focusing on the evolution of advertising. Through an examination of five case studies, ranging from how advertisers employed images of the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851 to their use of images of women just before WWI, he argues that the British developed a new type of culture in the mid and late-19th century--a new way of thinking and living increasingly based upon the possession of material goods, commodities. Revising the findings of some earlier scholars, Richards shows that 'cultural forms of consumerism . . . came into being well before the consumer economy did.' The 50 well-reproduced advertising images greatly enhance the value of this study." --M. Blackford, "Choice"

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Great Exhibition of Things
17
The Image of Victoria in the Year of Jubilee
73
Selling Darkest Africa
119
The Patent Medicine System
168
Those Lovely Seaside Girls
205
Conclusion
249
Notes
263
Index
301
Copyright

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About the author (1991)

Richards is a former associate professor of English and American Literature at Harvard University, where he taught for eight years.

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