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By Ichiro Takayoshi

Ichiro Takayoshi's booklet argues that global battle II remodeled American literary tradition. From the mid-1930s to the yankee access into international warfare II in 1941, preeminent figures from Ernest Hemingway to Reinhold Neibuhr replied to the flip of the public's curiosity from the industrial melancholy at domestic to the threat of totalitarian platforms overseas by way of generating novels, brief tales, performs, poems, and cultural feedback within which they prophesied the arrival of a moment global struggle and explored how the United States may well arrange for it. the diversity of competing solutions provided a wealthy legacy of idioms, symbols, and traditional arguments that used to be destined to license America's merchandising of its values and pursuits all over the world for the remainder of the 20 th century. formidable in scope and addressing an incredible variety of writers, thinkers, and artists, this e-book is the 1st to set up the outlines of yankee tradition in this pivotal interval.

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Extra info for American Writers and the Approach of World War II, 1930-1941: A Literary History

Sample text

If a writer believed that, in the ongoing war From Depression to War 29 of ideologies in world politics, democracies followed the first rule of propaganda and cloaked their parochial interests in false universals, that belief probably tempted this writer to see in the American Revolution a precursor of modern propaganda warfare. 30 In an attempt to prescribe America’s mandate in the future war by reference to the lessons of the past, the prewar culture also rewrote the nation’s history, particularly the legacy of all the wars the country had waged since its founding.

The next world war threatened, and Nazis, Fascists, and Communists emerged as chief instigators of this brewing crisis that may engulf America as well. The Company’s prewar plays did no show those playwrights to be scared by the future. Far from it, they appeared to long for a relief of suspense, for a clear, hard, final clash with their country’s implacable enemies. Their path to this serene resolve had been anything but undeviating. The Great War of twenty years past was a formative experience for Howard, Anderson, Behrman, Sherwood, and Rice, who were all at the time in their early or mid-twenties.

In peace, by sharp contrast, there would be no consensus, due to class antagonism and racism, on the goals and means of democratic reform at home, which would force liberal writers to be more inventive. In 1917, Bourne concluded, American intellectuals told themselves that war was inevitable and necessary because they were mentally lazy. Most likely, many objects of Bourne’s attack did not fathom the full depth of his insight, but his most basic lesson was plain enough to learn. Virtues of irony, self-contradiction, irresolution, and indecision were made very much of in literary and intellectual circles when the nation faced the “next” war two decades later.

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