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American Social Experience #37: The End of the American Avant Gardeby Stuart D. Hobbs
Synopses & Reviews
How did a sleepy New England fishing village become a gay mecca? In this dynamic history, Karen Christel Krahulik explains why Provincetown, Massachusetts—alternately known as “Land's End,” “Cape-tip,” “Cape-end,” and, to some, “Queersville, U.S.A”—has meant many things to many people.
Provincetown tells the story of this beguiling coastal town, from its early history as a mid-nineteenth century colonial village to its current stature as a bustling gay tourist destination. It details the many cultures and groups—Yankee artists, Portuguese fishermen, tourists—that have comprised and influenced Provincetown, and explains how all of them, in conjunction with larger economic and political forces, come together to create a gay and lesbian mecca.
Through personal stories and historical accounts, Provincetown reveals the fascinating features that have made Provincetown such a textured and colorful destination: its fame as the landfall of the Mayflower Pilgrims, charm as an eccentric artists colony, and allure as a Dionysian playground. It also hints at one of Provincetowns most dramatic economic changes: its turn from fishing village to resort town. From a history of fishing economies to a history of tourism, Provincetown, in the end, is as eclectic and vibrant as the city itself.
Book News Annotation:
Traces the avant garde from its origins to its eventual appropriation by a conservative political agenda, consumer culture, and the institutional world of art. Synthesizes the work of literary, art, and music historians with a fresh examination of primary source materials, while examining the intellectual and cultural history of this country. Divided into four sections chronologically, the text cites the influence of figures like Jack Kerouac, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollack.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"By 1966, the composer Virgil Thomson would write, "Truth is, there is no avant-garde today." How did the avant garde dissolve, and why? In this thought-provoking work, Stuart D. Hobbs traces the avant garde from its origins to its eventual appropriation by a conservative political agenda, consumer culture, and the institutional world of art.
About the Author
A historian with the Ohio Historical Society, Stuart D. Hobbs received his Ph.D. in American History from Ohio State University.
Table of Contents
Toward the last American vanguard, 1930-1955. Introduction : the avant garde and the culture of the future — The communist party, modernism, and the avant garde — The American avant garde, 1945-1960. Alienation — Innovation — The future — The end of the avant garde, 1950-1965. The cold war, cultural radicalism, and the defense of capitalism — Institutional enthrallment — Consumer culture commodification — The end of the avant garde, 1965-1995. The convention of innovation and the end of the future.
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