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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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The 1950s

The 1950s

(p.269) Four The 1950s
What America Read

Gordon Hutner

University of North Carolina Press

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.

Keywords:   middle-class novel, cultural opinion, American realism, paperback revolution, American taste, critical historiography, John Aldridge

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