By Josephine Hendin
This Concise spouse is a consultant to the artistic output of the U.S. within the postwar interval, in its assorted energies, shapes and varieties.
- 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 varied genres and methods unfolded inventive chances and interacted within the postwar interval.
- Portrays the postwar usa cut up via variations of wealth and place, via 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
We observed some that were as simplistic as Frederic Wertham’s citation, in his 1954 Seduction of the Innocent, of comic-book violence as the source of youth violence in America. Wertham assured Congress and the American public that the direct linkage existed between comic books and juvenile delinquency. Crime comics, he insisted, tear at community values and lead to antisocial behavior. His evidence is anecdotal, but as a psychiatrist he seemed so convincing he was believed; and although there may be some connection, as he pointed out, there are so many other factors in the creation of delinquency that any single one is inadequate.
In searching for subversives, he reinforced alienation. And yet while 35 Frederick R. Karl McCarthyism did little for the mental health of the country, it did enter broadly into the arts in the fifties and thereafter. We see it in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Mailer’s Barbary Shore, Lionel Trilling’s The Middle of the Journey, John Williams’s The Man Who Cried I Am, Philip Roth’s Our Gang, Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe and Cannibals and Missionaries, E. L. Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel, and Robert Coover’s The Public Burning, among several others.
Television culture came in many shapes, not least in a program that blurred the line between religion and entertainment: Life Is Worth Living, with Bishop Fulton Sheen. Here God becomes a player – perhaps the unknown in another kind of quiz show. The bishop’s message and appearance (penetrating eyes accompanying comforting talk) were elements of television’s folding of all information and news into entertainment, including General MacArthur’s triumphant return from Korea after having been dismissed by President Truman, or Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” speech, which saved his vice presidency, or the Army McCarthy hearings, which were, ostensibly, over the soul of America, or the Senator Kefauver hearings, which looked like a sitcom, smelled like a gangster film, and played like a comedy, but almost vaulted the Tennessee, coonskin-cap-wearing senator into the presidency.
Concise Companion to Postwar American Literature and Culture by Josephine Hendin