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Coda

Basic Income, or, Why Barbara Browning’s The Gift Is Not a Gift

from Part IV - The Moment of Market Metafiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 July 2019

Paul Crosthwaite
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This concluding Coda juxtaposes the market logics traced throughout the book with a form of exchange that is often identified as their antithesis: that of the gift. Focusing on Barbara Browning’s 2017 novel The Gift, it shows how this exemplary work of twenty-first-century market metafiction tries to imagine itself into an alternate economy of gift-giving. The Coda explores the tension, however, whereby the publication of this experimental text, with its Occupy Wall Street affiliations, is made possible by the “gifts” of the corporate and financial donors who support its small, nonprofit press. Rather than viewing this situation as a mere contradiction, however, the Coda suggests that it helps us to recognize that the creation of formally ambitious, “autonomous” works of literary art will always be incompatible with the purity of the gift, since such creation demands material and other resources accessible only via some form of financial backing or remuneration. The Coda suggests that a key challenge for cultural practitioners and critics in the twenty-first century is to imagine a less ends-focused, more democratic structure of support for the arts.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Coda
  • Paul Crosthwaite, University of Edinburgh
  • Book: The Market Logics of Contemporary Fiction
  • Online publication: 04 July 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108583787.009
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  • Coda
  • Paul Crosthwaite, University of Edinburgh
  • Book: The Market Logics of Contemporary Fiction
  • Online publication: 04 July 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108583787.009
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Coda
  • Paul Crosthwaite, University of Edinburgh
  • Book: The Market Logics of Contemporary Fiction
  • Online publication: 04 July 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108583787.009
Available formats
×