Stockton 2006 Rape

Title Information

Author: Sharon Stockton

Title: The Economics of Fantasy

Subtitle: Rape in Twentienth-Century Literature

Place: Columbus, OH

Publisher: Ohio State University Press

Year: 2006

Pages: vii + 235pp.

ISBN-10: 081421018X (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-10: 0814290949 (CD-ROM) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat


Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Representations: Literature

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Additional Information


  Acknowledgments (p. vii)
  1 Introduction (p. 1)
  2 High Modernism and the Rape of God (p. 26)
  3 Engineering Fascism: Ayn Rand, Ezra Pound, and the Virile Hero (p. 48)
  4 Mourning the Father, Displaced by Technology: Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence, and William Faulkner (p. 71)
  5 Consumer Fetishism and the Violence of the Gaze: Vladimir Nabokov and D. M. Thomas (p. 92)
  6 The Disappearing Female Body and the New Worker: John Barth, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Nicholson Baker, and Thomas Pynchon (p. 120)
  7 "The best rape story I have ever read": Waste Management and the Scapegoated Rapist (p. 149)
  8 Conclusion. A Different Rape Story? (p. 181)
  Notes (p. 205)
  Bibliography (p. 211)
  Index (p. 227)


»In The Economics of Fantasy: Rape in Twentieth-Century Literature, Sharon Stockton examines the persistence and the evolution of the rape narrative in twentieth-century literature--the old story of male power and violence; female passivity and penetrability. What accounts for its persistence? How has the story changed over the course of the twentieth century? In this provocative book, Stockton investigates the manner in which the female body--or to be more precise, the violation of the female body--serves as a metaphor for a complex synthesis of masculinity and political economy. From high modernism to cyberpunk, Pound to Pynchon, Stockton argues that the compulsive return to the rape story, articulates--among other things--the gradual and relentless removal of Western man from the fantastical capitalist role of venturesome, industrious agency. The metamorphosis of the twentieth-century rape narrative registers a desperate attempt to preserve traditional patterns of robust, entrepreneurial masculinity in the face of economic forms that increasingly disallow illusions of individual authority.
It is important to make clear that the genre of rape story studied here presumes a white masculine subject and a white feminine object. Stockton makes the case that the aestheticized rape narrative reveals particular things about the way white masculinity represents itself. Plotting violent sexual fantasy on the grid of economic concerns locates masculine agency in relation to an explicitly contingent material system of power, value, and order. It is in this way that The Economics of Fantasy discloses the increased desperation with which the body has been made to carry ideology under systems of advanced capitalism.« (Source: Ohio State University Press)

Reviews: Fulk, Mark. American Literature 81(2) (June 2009): 416-418. – Full Text: Duke University Press (Restricted Access)

Added: June 3, 2006 – Last updated: November 1, 2014