Literary Aftershocks: American Writers, Readers, and the Bomb

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As Albert E. Stone points out in his preface to Literary Aftershocks, the 1992 issue of Nuclear Texts and Contexts carried a headline proclaiming "Farewell to the First Atomic Age." Literary Aftershocks, Stone asserts, "takes seriously that adjective first and invites readers of history and literature to do the same." And indeed readers of this volume will do so, for Stone has compiled a sweeping, vitally important survey of the literary response to nuclear realities from 1945 to the present. Represented here are...
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Twayne Publishers, 1994. Hardcover. Without dust jacket. Brand new book, but with a remainder mark at bottom. ISBN: 0805788530.

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Overview

As Albert E. Stone points out in his preface to Literary Aftershocks, the 1992 issue of Nuclear Texts and Contexts carried a headline proclaiming "Farewell to the First Atomic Age." Literary Aftershocks, Stone asserts, "takes seriously that adjective first and invites readers of history and literature to do the same." And indeed readers of this volume will do so, for Stone has compiled a sweeping, vitally important survey of the literary response to nuclear realities from 1945 to the present. Represented here are a diversity of writers, predominantly American, speaking with urgency and passion to a host of concerns: radioactivity, nuclear warfare, disarmament, the future of the planet, respect for life, and more. The breadth of selections is striking, ranging from such well-known works as Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, Hersey's Hiroshima, Ginsberg's "Plutonian Ode," and Schell's Fate of the Earth to writings and authors heretofore given scant attention. Together, these voices emit a clarion call for life and not death, for peace and not war. Writing in crisp, pointed, and always accessible language, Stone approaches his material partly chronologically and partly by genre. Here readers will find thoughtful interpretations and clarifications accompanying excerpts from essays and stories, science fiction and poetry, novels and nonfiction. Children's literature is afforded special emphasis, as is the cultural criticism of the 1980s. Lending overall perspective to the material is a Chronology of Nuclear History and Literature. More than a narrow work of literary history, Literary Aftershocks is cultural history at its finest, permeated by a strong - and strongly documented - humanist slant. It argues that imaginative writing by contemporary Americans reflects, refracts, and interprets the historical realities of the nuclear age; it demonstrates that description, diagnosis, and prophecy are the common concerns of these writers. Simultaneously disturbing, sobering, an
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A survey of literary responses to nuclear realities from 1945 to the present, predominantly by American writers. Stone (American studies, U. of Iowa) analyzes essays, fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, science fiction, and poetry. Writers and works represented include Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, Hersey's Hiroshima, and Ginsberg's "Plutonian Ode." Includes a few b&w illustrations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Preface
1 The Common Medium and the Unique Event: Three Prose "Masterpieces" 1
2 Fictions of the Age of Anxiety, 1945-1963 33
3 Fictions and America's Reawakening, 1979-1992 66
4 Children, Literature, and the Bomb 95
5 Anguished Poets on the Edge of Darkness 126
6 Critics and Historians of the 1980s Frame the First Nuclear Age 159
Notes and References 175
Bibliography 185
Chronology 191
Index 195
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