Corporate Power and the Public Good in Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit


  • Stefanie Mueller Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main



Corporations in fiction, philanthropy, publicity


Abstract: This essay explores the relationship between the State, the economy, and the individual in Sloan Wilson’s novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit“ (1955). The novel’s depiction of the protagonist’s experience of the military, corporate culture, and the family suggests that a functioning democracy depends on the hetero-normative family. At the same time the novel draws attention to the negative impact of corporate philanthropy and public relations work on the public sphere.

Author Biography

Stefanie Mueller, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main

Stefanie Mueller is assistant professor at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (Germany), where she has been teaching American literature and cultural studies since 2007. Her main research interests include African American literature, the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Norbert Elias, as well as the interdisciplinary projects of the law-and-literature movement and of the more recent trends in the sociology of literature. Her dissertation, 'The Presence of the Past in the Novels of Toni Morrison', is scheduled for publication in 2013. Her current monograph project explores legal fictions of state and corporate power in American literature of the nineteenth and twentieth century.


Additional Files



How to Cite

Mueller, Stefanie. “Corporate Power and the Public Good in Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, May 2013, doi:10.5283/copas.163.