Concise Companion to Postwar American Literature and Culture - download pdf or read online


By Josephine Hendin

ISBN-10: 0631207090

ISBN-13: 9780631207092

This Concise better half is a consultant to the inventive output of the U.S. within the postwar interval, in its assorted energies, shapes and kinds.

  • Embraces variety, overlaying Vietnam literature, homosexual and lesbian literature, American Jewish fiction, Italian American literature, Irish American writing, emergent ethnic literatures, African American writing, jazz, movie, drama and extra.
  • Shows how diverse genres and methods spread out artistic chances and interacted within the postwar interval.
  • Portrays the postwar usa cut up by way of variations of wealth and place, by means of ethnicity and race, and by way of agendas of left and correct, yet united within the depth of its artistic force.

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Extra info for Concise Companion to Postwar American Literature and Culture

Example text

The Wild One, a 1953 film directed by Stanley Kramer, and featuring a very hostile Marlon Brando, is as much about consumerism as about so-called wildness. The opening shot is of a long stretch of empty highway that is slowly filled by roaring motorcycles bearing down on the viewer, until the entire screen is covered by bikers, like so many large bugs crawling over the landscape. They have come to have fun, 38 The Fifties and After but in actuality they make a fashion statement – Brando’s black leather jacket and his jeans, his cocky hat, perched at a cute, aggressive angle; the bikes themselves, marvels of a technological culture, full of gimmicks and accessories; and even the spoken language: a fashionable jive transformed into a national language, a rock and roll lingo intended to exclude the older generation.

As jobs vanished, unemployment in certain defined sectors increased, service jobs provided poverty-level wages, and urban areas began to dry up, becoming lifeless, with little tax base, few services, and lowered expectations. Alienation became part of the cultural currency, as 31 Frederick R. Karl we see in several important studies of fifties youth by Paul Goodman (Growing Up Absurd) and Kenneth Keniston (The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society), among others. Alienation as a central theme carries over into innumerable fictive works, even into Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus stories at the end of the decade.

The Marshall Plan itself was conceived as a means of providing markets for American products in the rest of the world, on the assumption that if we supply the means, other countries would come to market. The ideal of the loans – and there was an idealism and a vision – was rooted, nevertheless, in American expansionism. Those Partisan Review 23 Frederick R. Karl participants caught little of this overall incoherence in social and political policy, although, as we shall note, the arts did. Everywhere we turn in the decade – and reflected compellingly in the so-called “high arts” – we find paradox and irony.

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Concise Companion to Postwar American Literature and Culture by Josephine Hendin

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