Advanced Search

Add Best Comp

Add comparable title

Remove comparable title

Longleaf Select University Press Titles Spring/Summer 2021

A Cultural History of Hoarding
By (author): Rebecca R. Falkoff
Rebecca R. Falkoff


Cornell University Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade : Age (years) 18
May 15, 2021
$26.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 0.6 in | 320 gr

Page Count:

264 pages


18 b&w halftones
Cornell University Press
Literary studies: general|Social, group or collective psychology|Psychology: the self, ego, identity, personality

In Possessed, Rebecca R. Falkoff asks how hoarding?once a paradigm of economic rationality?came to be defined as a mental illness. Hoarding is unique among the disorders included in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5, because its diagnosis requires the existence of a material entity: the hoard. Possessed therefore considers the hoard as an aesthetic object produced by clashing perspectives about the meaning or value of objects.

The 2000s have seen a surge of cultural interest in hoarding and those whose possessions overwhelm their living spaces. Unlike traditional economic elaborations of hoarding, which focus on stockpiles of bullion or grain, contemporary hoarding results in accumulations of objects that have little or no value or utility. Analyzing themes and structures of hoarding across a range of literary and visual texts?including works by Nikolai Gogol, Arthur Conan Doyle, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Luigi Malerba, Song Dong and E. L. Doctorow?Falkoff traces the fraught materialities of the present to cluttered spaces of modernity: bibliomaniacs' libraries, flea markets, crime scenes, dust-heaps, and digital archives. Possessed shows how the figure of the hoarder has come to personify the economic, epistemological, and ecological conditions of modernity.

Thanks to generous funding from New York University and its participation in TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem), the ebook editions of this book are available as Open Access (OA) volumes from Cornell Open (cornellopen.org) and other Open Access repositories.

Rebecca R. Falkoff is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at New York University. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccarfalkoff and @ifiwereahoarder.

"Exhaustively researched and brimming with new ideas, Possessed offers a richly detailed account of the last two centuries of hoarding and hoarding-adjacent practices in Western culture."

- Raymond Malewitz, Oregon State University, author of The Practice of Misuse

"In Possessed, Rebecca R. Falkoff succeeds in capturing the many nuances of hoarding behavior by probing history, psychology, markets, the role of waste, opportunity, and much more. This stimulating read is for anyone with interest in and experience of this challenging problem."

- Gail Steketee, Boston University, author of Treatment for Hoarding Disorder

"I found it thrilling to discover the many inspiring passageways Rebecca R. Falkoff has found into the topic of hoarding: philosophical, critical, historical, and personal. She shows how the literary and artistic imagination bring vision, not diagnosis, to a phenomenon usually relegated to pathology. "

- William Davies King, UC Santa Barbara, author of Collections of Nothing

"In academic yet accessible prose, Rebecca R. Falkoff adds a powerful voice and poignancy to the topic of hoarding?all while helping us see the relationship between current day hoarders and key figures of modernity."

- Jessie Sholl, author of Dirty Secret

"Possessed brilliantly traces the cultural history of hoarding. The book marks a highly rewarding intellectual journey for both author and reader as six delightfully packed units unravel the deeper anthropological mechanisms that make hoarding the ultimate stuff of modernity. Soul-searching in tone and method, and a very personable (as well as personal) account of what has been classed as a pathology, Possessed is at once rigorous and adventurous, overloaded and light-footed, informative and challenging."

- Federica Pedriali, University of Edinburgh

"This book's valuable perspective on the issue of hoarding will appeal to those working in cultural studies, history, and modern literature, in addition to students and professionals in psychology."

- Choice

of 132

Forgotten Password

Please enter your email address and click submit. An email with instructions on resetting your password will be sent to you.

Forgotten Password

An email has been sent out with instructions for resetting your password.