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Accident Society – Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance - Stanford Scholarship Online
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Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance

Jason Puskar


This book argues that language and literature actively produced chance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by categorizing injuries and losses as innocent of design. Automobile collisions and occupational injuries became “car accidents” and “industrial accidents.” During the post-Civil War period of racial, ethnic, and class-based hostility, chance was an abstract enemy against which society might unite. By producing chance, novels by William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, Anna Katharine Green, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, and James Cain documented and helped establish new m ... More

Keywords: chance, collective interdependence, insurance, accidents, language, literature, injuries, losses, automobile collisions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780804775359
Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013 DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804775359.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jason Puskar, author

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Chapter 3 Detecting “Absolute Chance”

Charles Peirce and Anna Katharine Green

Chapter 4 The Feminization of Chance

Edith Wharton and Crystal Eastman

Chapter 5 Performing the Accident on Purpose

Theodore Dreiser and James Cain

End Matter