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Power and Class in Political Fiction

Elite Theory and the Post-War Washington Novel

  • David Smit
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Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

This book introduces Elite Theory to the literary study of class as a framework for addressing issues of the nature of governance in political fiction.  The book describes the historical development and major tenets of Elite Theory, and shows how each of four post-war Washington novels—Gore Vidal’s Washington, D.C.; Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent; Joan Didion’s Democracy; and Ward Just’s Echo House—illustrates the way class-based political elites exhibit forms of “ruling-class consciousness” and maintain their legitimacy in an ostensibly democratic form of government by promoting themselves as models of behavior, promulgating an ideology that justifies their rule through their control of the media, and accepting new members from the lower classes. Reading these novels through a socio-political lens, David Smit offers suggestions for ways to work for a more just and equitable society in light of what this analysis reveals about the “culture” that produces our political elites.

Keywords

elite theory class studies ruling elite Washington political fiction American studies cultural studies Joan Didion Democracy Ward Just Echo House

Authors and affiliations

  • David Smit
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26769-8
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-26768-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-26769-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site