Suburbianation / Edition 1

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Green lawns, swimming pools, backyard barbecues: welcome to suburbia, the promised land of the American middle class. Or is it? To judge by the depiction of suburbia in prominent works of American fiction and film, the suburbs are also home to dysfunctional families, broken communities, and widespread misery. Clearly, despite the continued popularity of the suburbs as a place to live, the prevailing image of suburbia has changed markedly since the days of Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best. In this book, Robert Beuka argues that in order to begin to understand our conflicted relationship toward the suburbs, we need to understand how suburbia has come to be defined through its representation in the popular media and arts. SuburbiaNation looks carefully at the suburban landscape through the lens of fiction and of film, and Beuka weaves together such classics as It's a Wonderful Life, The Stepford Wives, The Great Gatsby, The Swimmer, The Graduate, and House Party to discuss the suburb and its significance in American culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Beuka's study of the suburban landscape in fiction and film brings to the forefront the insights made by writers and directors, and Beuka splendidly analyzes their contributions for their cultural significance. . . a major work of criticism and social commentary." --Branimir M. Rieger, Professor of English, Lander University

"Beuka's new approach to the meaning of the 'American Dream,' as reflected in popular culture--notably in television and popular magazines--sheds new light on the contemporary scene, and our response to historical events, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11. Above all, his treatment of the meaning of 'place' as a dynamic element in our lives offers new insight into the study of fiction and film. This is an important book for everyone interested in American culture, American studies, and fiction and film affected by the growth of suburbia. After reading it, I cannot look at the suburban nation as I did before, and my understanding of contemporary events has been deepened and enriched by Beuka's work." --Ruth Prigozy, Professor of English, Hofstra University, Executive Director, F. Scott Fitzgerald Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403963406
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Beuka is Assistant Professor of English at Bronx Community College, City University of New York. He lives in Huntington, New York with his wife, Nadine, and son, Malcolm.

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Table of Contents

Utopia, Dystopia, Heterotopia: The Suburban Landscape in Twentieth Century American Culture and Thought
• "The hour of a profound human change": Transitional Landscapes and the Sense of Place in Two Proto-Suburban Narratives
• Finding the Worm in the Apple: John Cheever, Class Distinction, and the Postwar Suburban Landscape
• Honey, I'm Home (?): Rabbit, Benjamin, and the Imperiled Suburban Male
• Approaching Stepford: Gender, Suburbia, and the Politics of Domesticity
• Color Adjustment: African American Representations of Suburban Life and Landscape
• Conclusion

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