This chapter begins by studying early 1940s critical values, first by reading such key cultural texts as Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book and Reinhold Niebuhr's Faith for Living, among other important works of the first two years of the decade, to help recuperate the kind of fiction that educated Americans were reading before Pearl Harbor, and to trace the continuities in their taste through the war years and after. To that end, the chapter also looks at homefront writing, homecoming novels, and the postwar social environment by focusing on the tradition of middle-class realism, a survey that settles on two well-known problem novels of the day, Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit and Laura Hobson's Gentleman's Agreement.
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