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Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture #87: The Great Depression and the Culture of Abundance: Kenneth Fearing, Nathanael West, and Mass Culture in the 1930sby Rita Barnard
Synopses & Reviews
The Great Depression and the Culture of Abundance examines the response of American leftist writers of the 1930s to the rise of mass culture, and to the continued propagation of the values of consumerism during the Depression. Rita Barnard traces in the work of Kenneth Fearing and Nathanael West theoretical positions associated with the Frankfurt School (especially Walter Benjamin) and with contemporary theorists of postmodernism. As well as probing the relationship between literature and mass culture, the book offers a new reading of two of the most unjustifiably neglected literary figures of the 1930s.
Examines the response of American leftist writers from the 1930s to the rise of mass culture.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Part I. Context: 1. Introduction: literature and mass culture in the thirties; 2. Hard times, modern times; Part II. Kenneth Fearing: 3. The politics of literary failure: fearing, mass culture and the canon; 4. The undercover agent and the culture of the spectacle; 5. 'Zowie did he live and Zowie did he die': mass culture and the fragmentation of experience; Part III. Nathaniel West: 6. 'A surfeit of shoddy': West and the spectacle of culture; 7. 'When you wish upon a star': fantasy, experience and mass culture; 8. The storyteller, the novelist and the advice columnist; Epilogue: 'happy ending'; Notes; Index.
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