By Sanford Pinsker
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Extra resources for Bearing the bad news: contemporary American literature and culture
But I suspect this is one literary anniversary that will pass without a modicum of fanfare. Where, after all, would one begin? By explaining who Philip Rahv was, and what the old, great days of the Kenyon and Partisan were like? By making a case for the literary essay when it has fallen on hard times? By reminding those who keep up with the latest theoretical news from France, the latest magical realists from South America, and the latest dissidents from Eastern Europe that the condition and the fate of American literature still matter?
The novel) andin words that sounded for all the world like echoes of D. H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)Rahv set about to ponder how much of this victory deserved the adjective "Pyrrhic": Page 6 The redskin writer in America is a purely indigenous phenomenon, the true-blue offspring of the Western Hemisphere. . He is a self-made writer in the same way that Henry Ford was a self-made millionaire. On the one hand he is a crass materialist, a greedy consumer of experience, and on the other a sentimentalist, a half-baked mystic, listening to inward voices and watching for signs and portents.
The result is a curious volume entitled Books That Changed Our Minds, edited by Malcolm Cowley and Bernard Smith. , Charles A. Beard on Turner's The Frontier in American History or David Daiches on I. A. Richards's The Principles of Literary Criticism), but, rather, because the book was published in 1939, even as the world tottered on the brink of a war that would call these academic assessments of culture into deep question. (E. L. ) That the disillusionments of World War I gave birth to the roaring jazz-age 1920s, that the stock market's crash ushered us into the Great Depression, that Hitler's invasion of Poland plunged us into the nightmare of World War II, that Eisenhower's benign, smiling face represented the 1950s in bold reliefthese become the convenient shorthand we use to mark the passing of one decade to another.
Bearing the bad news: contemporary American literature and culture by Sanford Pinsker