The Theory of the Leisure Class.
An economic study in the evolution of institutions.New York : The Macmillan Company, 1899 Stock Code: 143903
Conspicuous consumptionFirst edition of the Norwegian-American professor's first published book, his most successful work. Veblen's thesis was a serious economic analysis of contemporary America, but after William Dean Howells gave the book a rave review as a social satire, it became a best-seller. "Into it he poured all the acidulous ideas and fantastic terminology that had been simmering in his mind for years. It was a savage attack upon the business class and their pecuniary values, half concealed behind an elaborate screenwork of irony, mystification and polysyllabic learning" (DAB). "The treatise is essentially an analysis of the latent functions of 'conspicuous consumption' and 'conspicuous waste' as symbols of upper-class status and as competitive methods of enhancing individual prestige. Veblen's term 'conspicuous consumption' has become part of everyday language" (IESS). Modern economists identify Veblen goods, those whose desirability decreases with their price and availability.
Octavo. Original dark-green vertical grain cloth, spine lettered gilt and gilt bands at head and foot, covers with four blind rules at head and three blind rules at foot, top edge gilt, others uncut, preserved in a custom made morocco-backed cloth bookform box.
Contemporary ownership inscription dated December 10 1900 to front free endpaper. Spine ends and corners with the slightest hint of wear, small snag to front inner hinge, one or two leaves a little roughly opened; a crisp, clean copy, very well preserved in the original publisher's cloth.
Einaudi 5851; Grolier, 100 American, 100.
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