Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Yoknapatawpha Diplomacy

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Yoknapatawpha Diplomacy

Article excerpt

THE SOURCE: "Combating Anti-Americanism During the Cold War: Faulkner, the State Department, and Latin America" by Deborah Cohn, in The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3.

A HALF-CENTURY AGO, DURING a period of particularly fervent anti-Americanism, the U.S. State Department launched a massive campaign, quaint by today's standards, to win hearts and minds around the globe. At the height of the Cold War, America mobilized not seasoned diplomats and practiced public-relations specialists, but intellectuals. Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner was dispatched to South America.

Faulkner (1897-1962) was a curious emissary in a propaganda war. One of the world's most reclusive celebrities, he had to be persuaded to attend his own Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden in 1950. But as the Soviet Union filled the world canvas with portraits of a grossly materialistic America without cultural achievements, Faulkner responded to appeals to his patriotism and agreed to represent the United States internationally. Acclaimed as a writer earlier in Europe and South America than in his home country, Faulkner "fulfilled the wildest dreams and underlying political agenda." of the government that sent him, writes Deborah Cohn, a professor of Spanish literature at Indiana University.

He ran into a rough patch in Brazil on his first Latin America foray, in 1954, when he drank himself into a "pre-coma" state and was unable to participate in as many activities as the State Department had hoped, but redeemed himself with gracious press interviews on the rest of the trip. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.