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Upward Mobility and the Common Good:
Toward a Literary History of the Welfare State
Bruce Robbins

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"[A] groundbreaking work of political literary criticism. . . . His discussion of sociology as a combat sport, focused on the upward-mobility narratives of several distinguished sociologists, and on lowly origins as cultural capital, makes trenchant reading. . . . [O]ne of the more important books of the decade."--Judie Newman, Journal of American Studies


"A stylish and thought-provoking account of upward mobility stories and what they have to tell us about our emotionally complicated relation to the ideals of democracy and a welfare state. This is one of the most intellectually and politically stimulating books I have read in recent years."--Helen Small, University of Oxford

"Upward Mobility and the Common Good is a scintillating work of literary criticism that teaches us an entirely new way to think about the realities and myths of class mobility, and that serves to remind us of just how centrally class continues to figure in our most powerful and resonant narratives. Bruce Robbins is a shrewd and resourceful critic, an ingenious reader of plots, and a gifted writer. He offers us an account as lively as it is profound, and the precision and force of his observations along the way are hugely impressive."--James English, University of Pennsylvania

"This judicious and innovative study adds immeasurably to the cultural history of the modern welfare state. Moving with ease from English and European novels of the nineteenth century to a range of twentieth-century American works, Robbins finds in stories of upward mobility nothing less than the tacit foundations of our beleaguered liberalism. This will be an important book for some time to come."--Michael Szalay, University of California, Irvine

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File created: 4/21/2017

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