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What America ReadTaste, Class, and the Novel, 1920-1960$
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Gordon Hutner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832271

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887752_hutner

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The 1930s

The 1930s

(p.117) Two The 1930s
What America Read

Gordon Hutner

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter provides an alternative way of reading the fiction of this decade. The author begins by restating the special circumstances under which 1930s historiography has been written, and then turn to mainstream critical opinion and its sense of the decade's achievements and challenges, pausing to examine the adjudication of taste that book reviewing played at the time. From that perspective, the chapter then moves to a discussion of the middle-class realism of the era, especially observing several of its principal modes of expression: the woman's novel, the historical novel, the family novel, and the political novel. Along the way, the author also studies some key episodes in literary history and culture by way of indicating how truly normative this fiction was for American readers.

Keywords:   1930s historiography, book reviewing, middle-class realism, woman's novel, historical novel, family novel, political novel, American readers

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