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Accident SocietyFiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance$
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Jason Puskar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775359

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775359.001.0001

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Writing the Accident

(p.1) Introduction
Accident Society
Stanford University Press

This book explores the association between chance and gambling by presenting case studies dealing with the intersection of American fiction with various cultures of chance from Reconstruction to the New Deal. It looks at novels and fiction by American writers ranging from Edith Wharton to William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, James Cain, and Theodore Dreiser, all of which focus on cultures of chance more closely related to socializing and collectivizing endeavors rather than gambling. The book examines key cultural sites of chance production, including the insurance industry, reform efforts concerning industrial accidents, pragmatist philosophy, and American gun culture. It considers chance collectivity as an expression of liberal capitalism that is intended to facilitate more egalitarian and interdependent social arrangements. It also addresses pragmatism through a reading of the fiction of Charles Sanders Peirce, Anna Katharine Green, Theodore Dreiser, and James Cain.

Keywords:   chance, gambling, novels, insurance industry, gun culture, pragmatism, liberal capitalism, industrial accidents, Charles Sanders Peirce, Anna Katharine Green

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