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This article considers texts written or sold by disabled Civil War veterans for their economic support as an understudied precursor to twentieth-century disability memoir and an instructive subgenre of the literature of poverty. These so-called mendicant texts challenged contemporary disability...
“Picturing Poverty” addresses the striking absence of discussion of poverty in US cultural criticism by turning to the archive to examine historically significant and influential, but previously neglected, early photographs of the poor alongside more familiar literary texts. The essay...
This essay reconsiders literary engagements with the figure of the newsboy in terms of their own ambivalences, critiques, and calls for social reform. Taking Horatio Alger’s dime novels as a primary case study, this piece explores Alger’s sense that the growth of literary business relied too...
Because evictions pervaded US working-class cityscapes during the Great Depression, newspapers actively covered their developments and aftermaths, trading in eviction as a commodifiable experience that could entertain readers at the expense of pathologizing evictees and naturalizing summary...
This essay seeks to expand the genre of black literary urbanism by examining Frank London Brown’s Trumbull Park (1959) and Jasmon Drain’s Stateway’s Garden (2020) as literary bookends of public housing history in the United States. The essay argues that public housing fiction is an understudied...
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