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