American Culture in the 1950s (Twentieth Century American by Martin Halliwell

By Martin Halliwell

This e-book presents a stimulating account of the dominant cultural kinds of Nineteen Fifties the US: fiction and poetry; theatre and function; movie and tv; tune and radio; and the visible arts. via designated observation and centred case reviews of influential texts and occasions -- from Invisible guy to West aspect tale, from Disneyland to the Seattle World's reasonable, from Rear Window to The americans -- the publication examines the way modernism and the chilly warfare supply frames of reference for knowing the trajectory of postwar culture.The middle goals of this quantity are to chart the altering complexion of yank tradition within the years following international battle II and to supply readers with a serious research of 'the 1950s'. The publication presents an highbrow context for impending Nineteen Fifties American tradition and considers the old effect of the last decade on fresh social and cultural advancements. Key Features:Focused case reports that includes key texts, genres, writers, artists and cultural trendsChronology of Fifties American CultureBibliographies for every chapterMore than twenty illustrations

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Enquiries into the American ‘character’ and ‘mind’ in an attempt to identify dominant national traits began before the war with Perry Miller’s The New England Mind The Intellectual Context 13 (1939) and F. O. Matthiessen’s The American Renaissance (1941), and continued afterwards with exceptionalist accounts of American national origins such as Henry Nash Smith’s Virgin Land (1950) and R. W. B. Lewis’s The American Adam (1955). This school of critics did not disregard historical complexity, but rarely commented on the contemporary moment.

R. James was deported in 1953; and the ‘father of the atom bomb’ physicist Robert Oppenheimer lost his security clearance in 1954 for casting doubts over the wisdom of developing the Hbomb. There were others as well, such as left-liberal playwright Arthur Miller who, although never a communist, was refused a visa in 1954 that prevented him from seeing a performance of his own The Intellectual Context 29 play The Crucible in Brussels. Paradoxically Europe was much closer for many Americans with the development of air travel and the extension of the GI Bill for veterans wanting to study abroad, but it was also further away for perceived subversives like Miller, whose marriage to Marilyn Monroe in 1956 conveniently shifted the media spotlight away from his politics.

This is a very different perspective to Adorno and Horkheimer’s pessimism, suggesting that consensus and assent are linked closely to ‘abundance’ as the overriding trait of 1950s American culture. Potter’s particular concern was to identify the complexion of America’s culture of abundance, and in People of Plenty he discusses equality, democracy and the national mission to emphasize the The Intellectual Context 15 historical nature of these themes. He returns at the end of the book to the relationship between abundance and identity in light of the growth of national advertising.

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