The Post-Utopian Imagination: American Culture in the Long 1950s

By M. Keith Booker | Go to book overview
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1. For a discussion of the role of the SDS in the radical politics of the 1960s, see James Miller. The entire Port Huron statement can be found on-line at festos/SDS_Port_Huron.html.

2. In Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War, I argue that it makes sense, in terms of periodization, to treat the peak Cold War years of 1946–1964 as a unit (which I call the long 1950s), rather than arbitrarily limiting oneself to the 1950s proper. I will typically use the term “1950s” to indicate this longer period in this work.

3. Compare Blanche DuBois, the “heroine” of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), whose taste for teenage boys, fueled by the loss of her young husband years earlier, drives her to madness and incarceration in an asylum.

4. Jameson here draws crucially upon Ernest Mandel's important elaboration of the notion of late capitalism.

5. Jameson himself, I should note, appears to locate the beginnings of postmodernist literature in the early 1970s, as does David Harvey.

6. See also Firdous Azim for an extended study of the interrelationship between the novel and the ideology of colonialism.

7. For a recent extended study of Moby-Dick within the context of the work of Pease and other “New Americanists,” see Spanos's The Errant Art of Moby-Dick.

8. See Slotkin's magisterial three-volume study of the role of racial frontier violence in the formation of the American national identity, comprising Regeneration through Violence, The Fatal Environment, and Gunfighter Nation.

9. For a reading of Baum's book as a populist parable critical of capitalism, see Littlefield.

10. Tarzan's centrality as an icon of American culture was solidified by the MGM films, featuring Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan, which began with Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932, and ran all the way to Tarzan and the Mermaids in 1948,


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