Beyond the Gray Flannel Suit: Books from the 1950s that Made American Culture / Edition 1

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2004 Hard cover Absolutely brand new(never opened)! ! -ships immediately Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 207 p. Audience: General/trade.

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This examination and celebration of the literature and thought of the 1950s throws the enduring works of a golden era into high relief. An unconventional tour of a crucial period in 20th-century culture, the present book avoids sweeping surveys and gets to the heart of major achievement.

After the great renaissance of the 1920s and early 1930s, American modernism seemed to be stalled, to be awaiting another burst of talent. The post-World War II period provided that new energy and genius, with book after book that broke through the ordinary realistic atmosphere of bestseller lists, and offered experimentation, arresting content, and transformation of old literary forms.

In short, from the late 1940s through the JFK years, America was the home office of literary innovation. Writers forged new styles with the rapidly changing times, and generated new ideas that fit the challenges of late modernity.

Beyond the Gray Flannel Suit shows how particular landmark books took on the hot-button subjects of the 1950s—race and religious difference; social class and the suburbs; the youth culture; rebellion, conformity, and groupthink; the telling conflicts over taste and judgment—and how, in the process, whether we realize it or not, this body of super-charged literature shaped today's American culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Castronovo (English, Pace Univ.) has written extensively on modern American authors, among them Thornton Wilder and Norman Mailer, as well as critic Edmund Wilson. Here he examines American literature from the late 1940s to the Kennedy inauguration in 1961. A half-century later, Castronovo convincingly presents those works he sees as landmarks from the era. Many have already attained the status of "great" works of art, e.g., Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Ginsberg's Howl, Kerouac's On the Road, and Nabokov's Lolita. Others, such as Cornell Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man and Dawn Powell's The Golden Spur, are less recognizable and are seldom taught in college-level survey classes. This is not a "best of" book but rather one that considers literature as a reflection of the sea change in American society from World War II to the upheavals of the 1960s. The writing is scholarly yet accessible to the educated lay reader. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Alison M. Lewis, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826416261
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

David Castronovo was the acclaimed author of Edmund Wilson , Beyond the Gray Flannel Suit, Critic in Love, The English Gentleman and many others.

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Table of Contents

1 Breaking through 32
2 Holden, Dean, and Allen 55
3 Angst, Inc. 77
4 Rough customers 94
5 The new observers 110
6 The eggheads 133
7 WASP, Catholic, Black, Jewish 160
8 Naturalism reinvented 187
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