Mechanic Accents

Mechanic Accents:Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America

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Mechanic Accents is a widely acclaimed study of American popular fiction and working-class culture. Combining Marxist literary theory with American labor history, Michael Denning explores what happened when, in the nineteenth century, working people began to read cheap novels and the “fiction question” became a class question. In a new afterword, Denning locates his study within the context of current debates on class and cultural studies.


  • One of the most illuminating, theoretically informed accounts of popular fiction now available.

    Terry Eagleton
  • A fresh and methodologically pathbreaking look at popular or mass-cultural narrative and its ideological function in a specific formative period of North American modernity.

    Fredric Jameson
  • Mechanic Accents abounds with new ways to think about America’s ubiquitous popular culture ... [Denning has] a first-rate intelligence and the generous sensibilities of a cultural modernist and democrat.

    Christine StansellVoice Literary Supplement