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outline

2 min read

• Question

o What does consumption of novels imply for general consumerism?

• Tentative Argument (based on initial observations)

o Buying novel implies baseline personal wealth, determining one’s consumer profile

o Aka what else can you buy if you can afford novels

• Object of study and scope

o Publisher advertisements from novels published in 18th century that advertise objects that are not other novels

• Method

o Close reading of ads from category 656 and of category 989 field $7

• Theoretical framework

o I’ll be looking into Weatherill’s Consumer Behavior and Material Culture in Britain for my construction of a profile of the average 18th century consumer and also for what consumers would usually buy. Park’s The Self and It: Novel Objects, Blackwell’s The Secret Life of Things, and Brown’s thing theory will help me formulate an argument of how people think about the novel as an object and how consumer space is negotiated around it. These two prongs will combine to articulate what being a consumer of the novel means for general consumerism. Additionally, it might be helpful to look into the bookshop as a space of commerce.

• Stakes

o How can this kind of advertising develop into the modern data-mined ads of today (from companies like Google)? The negotiation of novel as text and as object