Fashion in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Fashion And American Literature - Essay

Criticism: Fashion And American Literature

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Stoneley, Peter. “‘The Fashionable World Displayed’: Alcott and Social Power.” Studies in American Fiction 27, no. 1 (spring 1999): 21-36.

[In the following essay, Stoneley considers the use of fashion in Louisa May Alcott's work as a consequence of her upbringing. He asserts that Alcott's treatment of fashion also reflects tensions concerning the nineteenth century's consumer-driven middle class.]

Fashion, though in a strange way, represents all manly virtues. It is virtue gone to seed: it is a kind of posthumous honor. It does not often caress the great, but the children of the great: it is the hall of the Past.

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