Avuncularism: Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Nineteenth-century English Culture

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Stanford University Press, 2004 - 238 pages
Avuncularism explores the fiction of Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and many other writers in order to argue that the "nuclear" nineteenth-century family was, in fact, far more fractured and contradictory than twentieth-century critics have assumed. One important and long-forgotten point of such fracture is the popular nickname given to pawnbrokers in the Victorian era: My Uncle. This fundamental connection between pawnbrokers and uncles provides the touchstone of the author's larger argument: that representations of the "avunculate" (a term borrowed from anthropology) in nineteenth-century literature and culture mark a preoccupation with the increasingly theorized and embattled directives of a new political economy.

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Contents

Life Without FatherUncles in History
1
Endogamy
33
Fat Fertility
76
Dickensian Uncles and the Victorian
109
Jews Pawnbrokers
144
Trollope Penny
171
Brotherhood and the Redemption of Uncle
205
Notes
215
Index
233
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About the author (2004)

Eileen Cleere is Assistant Professor of English at Southwestern University.

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