American Culture in the 1980s

By Graham Thompson | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Fiction and Poetry

The New Postmodernists

Writing a cultural history of a decade ultimately requires that a large amount of that decade’s cultural production be neglected. This is as true of accounts which try to deconstruct overarching narratives of decades as it is of the narratives which helped to consolidate such definitions in the first place. One of the critical commonplaces institutionalized in the 1980s – in theoretical approaches such as poststructuralism, new historicism and cultural materialism – was that cultures tend to produce not only sufficient feedback to upset the possibility of a settled vision of a period, but also that the range of voices and positions represented within that culture fractures the possibility of unity. In the field of literature, many of these critical debates were played out in the study of Shakespeare and Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, the former treatment of which had long been dominated by a critical discourse emphasising what E. M. W. Tillyard famously described as the ‘Elizabethan world picture’. In the literature of the US, although no such explicit ‘world picture’ existed, by the 1980s it became apparent that the category ‘post-war American literature’ was insufficient as anything but a nominal descriptor of work published since 1945. Not only was the phrase being stretched temporally, but also the coherent project towards which it gestured, and the hegemony of an influential group of writers – many of whom were still publishing during the 1980s – was losing explanatory value.

This chapter, then, does not consider the work of some of these writers. Saul Bellow, winner of the Nobel prize for Literature in 1976, was productive during the 1980s, publishing two novels (The Dean’s December, 1982, and More Die of Heartbreak, 1987), two novellas (A Theft and The Bellarosa Connection, both 1989), along with a

-37-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
American Culture in the 1980s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vi
  • Case Studies vii
  • Acknowledgments viii
  • Chronology of 1980S American Culture ix
  • Introduction - The Intellectual Context 1
  • Chapter 1 - Fiction and Poetry 37
  • Chapter 2 - Art and Photography 63
  • Chapter 3 - Film and Television 89
  • Chapter 4 - Music and Performance 123
  • Chapter 5 - American Culture and Globalization 153
  • Conclusion - The Cultural Legacy of the 1980S 179
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliography 197
  • Index 221
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 236

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.