Fables of abundance : a cultural history of advertising in America / Jackson Lears.

Fables of abundance : a cultural history of advertising in America / Jackson Lears.

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access. A new version will be available later in 2023. During this transition period, the current version of the Collections Browser may have reduced functionality and data may be not be updated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Lears, T. J. Jackson, 1947-
New York : Basic Books, c1994.
xiv, 492 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format of Material: 
Bib ID: 
Find this in the library
Call Number: 
HF5813.U6L418 1994z
Includes bibliographical references (pages 415-476) and index.
"American advertisements have become perhaps the most pervasive social icons in the modern world. This book traces their rise against a richly varied backdrop. Its range encompasses literature, religion, and the visual arts, as well as economics, public policy, and the history of medicine. Its cast of characters includes a host of remarkable figures in or around advertising, from P.T. Barnum and Theodore Dreiser to John B. Watson and Joseph Cornell. The book explores the ways that advertising collaborated with other cultural institutions to produce what have become the dominant aspirations, anxieties, and even notions of personal identity in the twentieth-century United States. Moving from the carnivals and market fairs of Renaissance Europe to the traveling peddlers of nineteenth-century America, Jackson Lears shows how early advertisers encouraged a new kind of magical thinking, detached from religious traditions and geared to an emerging market society. While patent medicine advertising's promise of magical self-transformation and exotic sensuality posed challenges to moral standards, advertisers themselves eventually sought to contain the subversive potential of this promise even as they continued to conjure it up."--Front flap of dust jacket.
pt. 1. The reconfiguration of wealth: from fecund earth to efficient factory --
1. The lyric of plenty --
2. The modernization of magic --
3. The stabilization of sorcery --
4. The disembodiment of abundance.
pt. 2. The containment of carnival: advertising and American social values from the patent medicine era to the consolidation of corporate power --
5. The merger of intimacy and publicity --
6. The perfectionist project --
7. The new basis of civilization --
8. Trauma, denial, recovery.
pt. 3. Art, truth, and humbug: the search for form and meaning in a commodity civilization --
9. The problem of commercial art in a Protestant culture --
10. The courtship of avant-garde and kitsch --
11. The pursuit of the real --
12. The things themselves.
0465090753 (pbk.)
9780465090754 (pbk.)