American small-town fiction, 1940-1960 : a critical study
- Nathanael T. Booth.
- Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 
- Copyright notice
- Physical description
- vii, 209 pages ; 23 cm
- Booth, Nathanael T., 1987- author.
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 201-205) and index.
- Columbus on the platform: the train station
- "The crisis of individuation": the schoolhouse
- The small-town bildungsroman: the malt shop
- No town is an island: Main Street and the town square
- False transcendence: the movie theater
- Good god, bad god: the church
- Fortunate fall: the courthouse
- Transcending division: the outskirts
- In this garden of death: the graveyard.
In politics, literature, and popular culture the small town is closely identified with the American national experience. But what do we talk about when we talk about the small town? Does the national myth conceal a deep-seated reactionary tendency or does it hold within it the seeds of a new national imagining? The truth is that it does both; as a model of America, the literary both obscures and reveals the contradictions at the heart of the American experience. During the years from 1940 to 1960, America underwent a tremendous shift in terms of self-fashioning and self-mythologizing. This shift can be charted in representations of small towns. Authors like Henry Bellamann and Grace Metalious continued the tradition of Sherwood Anderson by showing the small town (and, therefore, America itself) as profoundly warping the souls of its citizens. Meanwhile, Ray Bradbury, Toshio Mori, and Ross Lockridge, Jr. sought to identify within the small town a potential for growth-away from the shadows cast by World War II and toward a more inclusive (and democratic) future. Examined together, these works are key aids toward understanding how America at midcentury refashioned itself in light of a new post-World War II order.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
- Publication date
- Copyright date
- 9781476672748 (softcover : alk. paper)
- 1476672741 (softcover : alk. paper)
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