California & the Fictions of Capital

By George L. Henderson | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction
1.
I should say, when agriculture came to hold pride of place for the second time, the first being before the 1848 gold strike when California was linked to the capitalist world economy via the hide and tallow trade. See Richard Henry Dana Two Years Before the Mast.
2.
For an extended inquiry into the nature of uneven development, see Neil Smith book of that name ( 1984); also Storper and Walker The Capitalist Imperative ( 1989).
3.
There is a large and still growing literature questioning the capitalist character of American agriculture. See, for example, Friedland ( 1984); Friedmann ( 1978); Hahn and Prude ( 1985); FitzSimmons ( 1986); Mann ( 1990); Goodman et al. ( 1987); Page and Walker ( 1991); and Gordon Wood comments ( 1994).
4.
The pioneering work of geographer David Harvey ( 1982; 1989a; 1989b) remains the benchmark.
5.
There continues in studies of late-nineteenth- and early- twentieth-century literary realism a tendency to give privilege to the urban over the rural, as if the city was the place where capitalism was most clearly expressed (see, for example, Kaplan 1988). The problem with this view is that it tends to limit discussion of capital formations in the "periphery," which far from being functionally peripheral have been historically essential to the rise of a capitalist mode of production. Even when it does not adopt classic capitalist social relations, the "periphery" is always instructive of what capital can do and has done. We need a theory of realism, in other words, that can take account of the very different geographies found in Frank Norris McTeage versus his novel The Octopus.
6.
I have set aside theorizing the exact boundaries of these genres. To do so would be to reach into debates that are too tangential to this book's core concerns. I am reminded, too, of David Perkins's cautionary words: "[I]t seems that very different works may belong to the same genre and that a work may belong to different genres. If this is so, the actual role of genre concepts in the production and reception of works must often be less than genre theorists suppose" ( 1992: 80; though see Glazener 1997). Nonetheless, the codes of realism, regionalism, and romance are here taken to be vehicles for exam-

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California & the Fictions of Capital
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - The Alchemy of Capital and Nature ix
  • Part I - Making Geographies 1
  • 1 - Rural Commodity Regimes 3
  • 2 - Nature and Fictitious Capital 28
  • 3 - Toward Rural Realism Variable Capital, Variable Capitalists, and the Fictions of Capital 81
  • Part II - Excavating Geographical Imaginations 115
  • 4 - Mussel Slough and the Contradictions of Squatter Capitalism 123
  • 5 - Realty Redux 150
  • 6 - Romancing the Sand 175
  • 7 - Take Me to the River 196
  • 8 - Conclusion 215
  • Notes 219
  • References 235
  • Index 251
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