Thorstein Veblen is a key figure in early twentieth-century American intellectual history. Variously described as a 'revolutionary iconoclast', 'the father of technocracy' and 'the best critic of America that America has produced', his work is frequently compared with that of Marx, Durkheim and Weber for its breadth and insight. This study sets Veblen's work in its social and intellectual context, delineating its main concepts and tensions, and re-establishing the extent of his influence. In the process, Spindler evaluates the usefulness and the limitations of Veblen's views for an understanding of American culture by considering Veblen not just as an economist or a sociologist--as has been the case up to now--but as a seminal analyst and critic of modern American culture, whose influence and importance has been underplayed and whose radicalism has been blunted by postwar commentators.
Michael Spindler teaches American Literature and Creative Writing at De Montfort University, Bedford. He is the author of American Literature and Social Change: William Dean Howells to Arthur Miller (Palgrave, 1984), and numerous articles and essays on aspects of American Studies.
Introduction 1: Veblen In His Time 2: The Early Work 3: The Later Work 4:Veblen's Reception 5: Veblen And Consumerism 6: Veblen And Modern American Fiction Conclusion References Bibliography Inde