Mad Men and the Staging of Literature via Ken Cosgrove and His Problems
In this chapter, Shapiro explores the representation of literature and literary authorship in Max Wiener’s Mad Men. Shapiro argues that Mad Men uses the character of Ken Cosgrove to interrogate modernist notions of literature as a form of cultural production opposed to commercial interests and to deconstruct modernist notions of the literary artist as a uniquely alienated individual. Ultimately, Shapiro claims that, through Ken, Mad Men produces a counter-narrative of literary production that positions literature as a genre of advertising designed to reproduce ‘the author’ as a means of reifying the illusion of individuality—that is, of selfhood or subjectivity—upon which capitalism depends.
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