Philanthropic Discourse in Anglo-American Literature, 1850-1920

Philanthropic Discourse in Anglo-American Literature, 1850-1920

Edited by Frank Q. Christianson and Leslee Thorne-Murphy
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/19/2017
Format: Hardback 4 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02955-3
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From the mid-19th century until the rise of the modern welfare state in the early 20th century, Anglo-American philanthropic giving gained an unprecedented measure of cultural authority as it changed in kind and degree. Civil society took on the responsibility for confronting the adverse effects of industrialism, and transnational discussions of poverty, urbanization, women’s work, and sympathy provided a means of understanding and debating social reform. While philanthropic institutions left a transactional record of money and materials, philanthropic discourse yielded a rich corpus of writing that represented, rationalized, and shaped these rapidly industrializing societies, drawing on and informing other modernizing discourses including religion, economics, and social science. Showing the fundamentally transatlantic nature of this discourse from 1850 to 1920, the authors gather a wide variety of literary sources that crossed national and colonial borders within the Anglo-American range of influence. Through manifestos, fundraising tracts, novels, letters, and pamphlets, they piece together the intellectual world where philanthropists reasoned through their efforts and redefined the public sector.

Author Bio

Frank Q. Christianson is Associate Professor of English at Brigham Young University. He is author of Philanthropy in British and American Fiction: Dickens, Hawthorne, Eliot and Howells, and Senior Editor of The Papers of William F. Cody.

Leslee Thorne-Murphy is Associate Professor of English at Brigham Young University.


“This rich collection of essays develops our understanding of the Anglo-American philanthropic discourse in multiple directions. . . . It will be warmly appreciated by literary scholars and historians alike. ”
 — British Assn for Victorian Studies Newsletter

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Table of Contents

Preface, Telescopic Philanthropy Redeemed / Frank Q. Christianson and Leslee Thorne-Murphy
Introduction, Writing Philanthropy in the United States and Britain / Frank Q. Christianson and Leslee Thorne-Murphy
1. The Poverty of Sympathy / Lori Merish
2. Self-Undermining Philanthropic Impulses: Philanthropy in the Mirror of Narrative / Daniel Bivona
3. Education as Violation and Benefit: Doctrinal Debate and the Contest for India’s Girls / Suzanne Daly
4. Urban Reform and the Plight of the Poor in Women’s Journalistic Writing / Monica Elbert
5. Lady Bountiful for the Empire: Upper-class Women, Philanthropy, and Civil Society / Dorice Williams Elliott
6. Patrons, Philanthropists, and Professionals: Henry James’s Roderick Hudson / Francesca Sawaya
7. "Witnessing them day after day": Ethical Spectatorship and Liberal Reform in Walter Besant’s Children of Gibeon / Tanushree Ghosh
8. "The Orthodox Creed of the Business World"? Philanthropy and Liberal Individualism in Edith Wharton's The Fruit of the Tree / Emily Coit
9. Sustaining Gendered Philanthropy through Transatlantic Friendship: Jane Addams, Henrietta Barnett and Writing for Reciprocal Mentoring / Sarah Robbins
Conclusion / Frank Q. Christianson and Leslee Thorne-Murphy
Afterword, Follow the Money / Kathleen D. McCarthy