Apostles of Modernity: American Writers in the Age of Development

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Overview

Following World War II, Americans entertained a far more international political, cultural, and intellectual awareness as well as a greater fascination with development, progress, and modernity than ever before. In a revisionist account that takes "development" as its main theme, Guy Reynolds charts the responses of novelists, travel writers, and literary intellectuals to the nation’s deepening engagement in world affairs. Reynolds remaps recent literary history featuring authors as diverse as James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Paul Bowles, Pearl Buck, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ernest Hemingway, Peter Matthiessen, Richard Powers, Susan Sontag, and Richard Wright. Apostles of Modernity offers an original, in-depth study of the literary manifestations of this period of globalism in novels, memoirs, essays, reportage, and political commentary. Through close readings of texts Reynolds revisits and reassesses U.S. internationalism, showing how writers and intellectuals engaged with a cluster of topics: decolonization, the rise of the Third World, Islamic difference, the end of European empires, China’s enduring significance, and transatlantic and cosmopolitan identities. Throughout, the ideals of the United States as "apostle of modernity" and sponsor of "development" feature as central to American letters in the decades after World War II. A major contribution to the study of literary internationalism, Apostles of Modernity establishes new paradigms for understanding America’s place in the world and the world’s place in America.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"Reynolds looks at the new literary internationalism—and writers he calls "the apostles of modernity.". . . Reynolds is the perfect spokesperson for these heady issues."

—P. Wolfe, Choice

Studies in American Naturalism

"A respected voice in Modernist studies, Reynolds explores a fascinating moment in American foreign relations—a United States receding from the colonialist models at work from the nation''s founding through the Spanish-American War, and not yet encountering the globalized, postcolonial culture which would flower in the Sixties. . . . Apostles of Modernity is a compelling study of how American writers reflect, refract, and critique American economic development in decolonized countries."

—Andrew Strombeck, Studies in American Naturalism

— Andrew Strombeck

Choice - P. Wolfe
"Reynolds looks at the new literary internationalism—and writers he calls "the apostles of modernity.". . . Reynolds is the perfect spokesperson for these heady issues."—P. Wolfe, Choice
Studies in American Naturalism - Andrew Strombeck
"A respected voice in Modernist studies, Reynolds explores a fascinating moment in American foreign relations—a United States receding from the colonialist models at work from the nation's founding through the Spanish-American War, and not yet encountering the globalized, postcolonial culture which would flower in the Sixties. . . . Apostles of Modernity is a compelling study of how American writers reflect, refract, and critique American economic development in decolonized countries."—Andrew Strombeck, Studies in American Naturalism
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803213777
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Guy Reynolds is a professor of English and the director of the Cather Project at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is the author of Willa Cather in Context: Progress, Race, Empire and Twentieth-Century American Women’s Fiction: A Critical Introduction.
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Table of Contents

1 The American Writer and Development: Contexts of Cultural Internationalism 1

2 The "Skin Game": Du Bois, Wright, Malcolm X, Baldwin 27

3 "You were in on the last days of Morocco": Paul Bowles and the End of Empire 55

4 Sinophilia: China and the Writers 81

5 Nonalignment and Writing: Rich Lands and Poor 103

6 Stone Ages: Peter Matthiessen and Susan Sontag in Latin America and Asia 127

7 African American Representations of the Hispanic: Remaking Europe 153

8 Ugly Americans and Vanishing Europeans: American Presence, European Decolonization 175

9 "These great new times": Cosmopolitanism and Contemporary Writing 199

Notes 223

Index 257

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