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American NightThe Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War$
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Alan M. Wald

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807835869

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807837344_wald

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Scenes from a Class Struggle

Scenes from a Class Struggle

(p.49) Chapter Two Scenes from a Class Struggle
American Night

Alan M. Wald

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter considers the fortunes of the postwar proletarian tradition in criticism and the synthetic intellectual world of Communist literary critics, primarily Samuel Sillen and Charles Humboldt. In Communist Party publications, Sillen's specialty became U.S. literature and literary history, but he wrote on many other subjects, including theater and politics. Charles Humboldt was the true genius of the Communist cultural movement in the 1940s and 1950s. In contrast to Sillen, he also represented a semisecret opposition to the worst excesses of socialist realism, seeing a margin of hope in the work of Communist artists such as Picasso and Neruda.

Keywords:   Communist, literary critics, Samuel Sillen, Charles Humboldt, cultural movement, socialist realism, Picasso, Neruda

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