In These Days of Large Things: The Culture of Size in America, 1865–1930, Michael Tavel Clarke examines the Progressive Era preoccupation with size. As Clarke argues with considerable evidence, largeness was widely interpreted in this period (and, indeed, in our own) to denote progress and advancement while smallness in turn signified degeneracy and unwholesomeness. This pervasive and enduring schema, Clarke shows, had its roots in American expansionism and imperialism, enterprises underwritten by the interlocking beliefs that bigger is better and that superiority must be physically manifest.
University of Illinois Press
Stokes, C. (2011). [Review of the book These days of large things: The culture of size in America, 1865-1930, by Michael Tavel Clarke]. American Literary Realism, 44(1), 86-87. doi: 10.1353/alr.2011.0029
American Literary Realism