Consumer Rites PDF

by Leigh Eric Schmidt In this richly illustrated book that captures both the blessings and ballyhoo of American holiday observances from the mid-eighteenth century through the twentieth, the author offers a reassessment of the "consumer rites" that various social critics have long decried for their spiritual emptiness and banal sentimentality. Leigh Schmidt tells the story of how holiday celebrations were almost banished by Puritans and other religious reformers in the colonies but went on to be romanticized and reinvented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. "Conceptually sophisticated, wide ranging; [Schmidt] treats Valentine's Day, Easter, and Mother's Day as well as Christmas all within a delicately balanced framework of tensions between market rationality and romantic sentiment.... [A] fresh and timely alternative to contemporary academic fashion".—Jackson Lears, The New Republic"Filled with interesting facts and nascent ideas".—Fred Miller Robinson, The New York Times Book Review"[A] richly documented, smoothly narrated, and lavishly illustrated [study] by a cultural historian who knows his stuff and tells it with panache. Consumer Rites is good history and good reading.... A brilliant chronicle of the American tale where domesticated remnants of Protestant religion, not nationalist identity alone, drove developments, and where capitalist expansion was in the driver's seat".—Lawrence A. Hoffman, Cross Currents

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