This chapter observes the waning of the middle-class novel in the twentieth century before its revival in the 1980s. It begins by assessing the cultural opinion of the early fifties, first by looking at the kind of documents, such as the famous colloquium, “Our Country and Our Culture,” that usually mark this discussion, along with less heralded but no less revealing essays and lectures that, along with the changes in awarding various prizes, vividly disclose the place of American realism. Although the author describes some effects of the paperback revolution and points to the impact films and TV were having on American taste, he focuses on the fiction that critical historiography rendered invisible, particularly John Aldridge's influential study, After the Lost Generation.
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