Age of Extremes: During the Cold War, Writers Were Forced to Negotiate a Perilous Intellectual Divide. the Result Was the Greatest Era of Political Fiction We Have Known
Caute, David, New Statesman (1996)
The political novel--the urgent, morally committed depiction of conflicts and tragedies -flourished during the 1930s and 1940s, amid depression, fascism and total war, when Soviet communism was the socialist star on an otherwise darkening horizon. This era spawned some of the finest political fiction and drama we have known: Hemrich Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Andre Malraux, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus were all writing at full throttle.
In my opinion, the cold war--and the fiction it created--begins in the 1930s with the Spanish civil war. Young writers made the pilgrimage to Republican Spain and some of them died. Orwell escaped death by a whisker, as a bullet passed through his neck. Malraux led an air squadron and produced a novel of electric expressionism, Man's Hope (1937). Hemingway settled down to the measured, crafted storytelling of For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). But if anti-fascism was the point of departure for all these writers, they would soon divide over the nature of the Stalinist intervention in Spain.
Dos Passos, the most formally innovative of all interwar novelists, chose to …
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Publication information: Article title: Age of Extremes: During the Cold War, Writers Were Forced to Negotiate a Perilous Intellectual Divide. the Result Was the Greatest Era of Political Fiction We Have Known. Contributors: Caute, David - Author. Magazine title: New Statesman (1996). Volume: 139. Issue: 5007 Publication date: June 28, 2010. Page number: 39+. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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