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Reading the Market

Genres of Financial Capitalism in Gilded Age America

Peter Knight

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America’s fascination with the stock market dates back to the Gilded Age.

Winner of the BAAS Book Prize of the British Association of American Studies

Americans pay famously close attention to "the market," obsessively watching trends, patterns, and swings and looking for clues in every fluctuation. In Reading the Market, Peter Knight explores the Gilded Age origins and development of this peculiar interest. He tracks the historic shift in market operations from local to national while examining how present-day ideas about the nature of markets are tied to past genres of financial representation…

America’s fascination with the stock market dates back to the Gilded Age.

Winner of the BAAS Book Prize of the British Association of American Studies

Americans pay famously close attention to "the market," obsessively watching trends, patterns, and swings and looking for clues in every fluctuation. In Reading the Market, Peter Knight explores the Gilded Age origins and development of this peculiar interest. He tracks the historic shift in market operations from local to national while examining how present-day ideas about the nature of markets are tied to past genres of financial representation.

Drawing on the late nineteenth-century explosion of art, literature, and media, which sought to dramatize the workings of the stock market for a wide audience, Knight shows how ordinary Americans became both emotionally and financially invested in the market. He analyzes popular investment manuals, brokers’ newsletters, newspaper columns, magazine articles, illustrations, and cartoons. He also introduces readers to fiction featuring financial tricksters, which was characterized by themes of personal trust and insider information. The book reveals how the popular culture of the period shaped the very idea of the market as a self-regulating mechanism by making the impersonal abstractions of high finance personal and concrete.

From the rise of ticker-tape technology to the development of conspiracy theories, Reading the Market argues that commentary on the Stock Exchange between 1870 and 1915 changed how Americans understood finance—and explains what our pervasive interest in Wall Street says about us now.

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Reading the Market

Peter Knight

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Reviews

Reviews

Offers a vivid picture and unique insight and perspective on the significance of the emerging new financial genre and the impact that it was having and would continue to have on the extraordinary American emotional and financial interest in Wall Street and the stock markets. Highly recommended.

Reading the Market offers many evidentiary and analytical gems... A provocative and well-written study, this book also adds new dimension to our understanding of the literatures and popular culture of American finance. Knight’s model literary analysis should provide ample material for students of American studies and cultural history, and could easily be incorporated into advanced undergraduate and graduate-level coursework.

This intriguing book illuminates much about markets and, particularly, about the 'culture of the market' as financial capitalism began its will to power in America.

Knight’s contribution in Reading the Market to the discussion of America’s financial past is powerful and persuasive. His larger work of personalizing its academic genealogy will have a lasting effect on the future scholarly reading of the market’s past.

Excellently researched and intricately orchestrated. Reading the Market offers a fresh and original contribution to the history of capitalism, and also to Gilded Age history generally.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
336
ISBN
9781421425214
Illustration Description
19 halftones
Table of Contents

Introduction: Mind the Gap—Why Reputational Risk Matters
Chapter 1: A Reputational Risk Framework
Chapter 2: A Reputational Risk Framework
Chapter 3: Effective Crisis Management Part 1: Getting Ahead of

Introduction: Mind the Gap—Why Reputational Risk Matters
Chapter 1: A Reputational Risk Framework
Chapter 2: A Reputational Risk Framework
Chapter 3: Effective Crisis Management Part 1: Getting Ahead of a Crisis
Chapter 4: Effective Crisis Management Part 2: Defining Roles And Responsibilities
Chapter 5: Effective Crisis Management Part 3: From Chaos to Managed Process
Chapter 6: Crisis Communications
Chapter 7: Redefining Issues Management
Chapter 8: The Role of Leadership In Crisis
Chapter 9: Frameworks and Models to Manage Reputational Risk

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Peter Knight

Peter Knight is a professor of American studies at the University of Manchester. He is the author of Conspiracy Culture: From Kennedy to The X Files and The Kennedy Assassination and the coeditor of Show Me the Money: The Image of Finance, 1700 to the Present.