Men and the Limits of Productivity in Nineteenth Century America
“With wit and sophistication, Andrew Knighton engages familiar writing by Irving, Thoreau, Melville, and Gilman and others in a fresh critical and theoretical inquiry into the experiences of time and space that continue to define capitalist modernity.”
—Thomas Augst, New York University
"Knighton's arguments about the imperatives attached to the conduct of capitalist time- posed through readings of literary and visual culture- ground a theoretical inquiry into the impossibility of posing a demand for more robust productivity without invoking the specter of its opposite: idleness."
—Dana D. Nelson, Journal of American History
"Critics and readers often speak of literary works. And while a lot of energy has been expended on pondering the qualities and attributes that make something literary, comparatively little consideration has been given to exploring why it is commonplace to speak of textual artifact as a 'work....' Though Andrew Lyndon Knighton's Idle Threats: Men and the Limits of Productivity in Nineteenth-Century America does not necessarily examine these implied protocols, it does dwell on the economic and aesthetic imperatives to transform leisure and repose into productive experience."
—Russ Castronovo, The New England Quarterly
"Knighton traces these tensions through a variety of cultural forms, beginning with the literary and extending through landscape painting; narratives of the western frontier, along with associated developments in urban and regional planning; and works in popular physiology and political economy...he deftly traces the development of the concept of repose as a counterpoint to labor and an antidote to the sheer productivity now viewed as the hallmark of both the age and the estimable man."
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