By Martin Halliwell

ISBN-10: 0748618848

ISBN-13: 9780748618842

ISBN-10: 0748618856

ISBN-13: 9780748618859

ISBN-10: 0748628908

ISBN-13: 9780748628902

This ebook presents a stimulating account of the dominant cultural different types of Fifties the USA: fiction and poetry; theatre and function; movie and tv; song and radio; and the visible arts. via distinct remark and centred case stories of influential texts and occasions - from Invisible guy to West facet tale, from Disneyland to the Seattle World's reasonable, from Rear Window to The american citizens - the ebook examines the way modernism and the chilly battle provide frames of reference for figuring out the trajectory of postwar tradition. the 2 middle goals of this quantity are to chart the altering complexion of yank tradition within the years following international struggle II and to supply readers with a serious research of 'the 1950s'. The ebook offers an highbrow context for coming near near Fifties American tradition and considers the ancient impression of the last decade on fresh social and cultural advancements

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While the group of New York Intellectuals from the late 1940s (among them Lionel Trilling, Clement Greenberg, Dwight Macdonald and Philip Rahv) continued to find outlets for their ideas in mainstream publications and émigrés connected with the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, Paul Tillich and Erich Fromm) found North America a much safer placer to live than Central Europe, there was nevertheless a widespread suspicion of the intellectual’s social role. There was a general mistrust of ideas in the 1950s and a reluctance to speak out on controversial issues.

But postwar containment also had negative connotations, suggesting that classified information was being withheld or that citizens were being duped into believing the official line from Washington. The rise of the secret service and the CIA was important for garnering intelligence but also fed fears that a culture of secrecy was developing and that the destiny of the country was controlled by a power elite. To contain external communist The Intellectual Context 9 threats was seen by many as a Herculean task (the journalist Walter Lippmann warned that it might well turn into a wild-goose chase across the globe), but to eliminate threats from within was virtually impossible: everyone was potentially a suspect within a global communist conspiracy.

56 Galbraith’s study touches on two of the central nerves of 1950s America: first, the mistrust of intellectuals and, second, the idea of consensus bound up with the myth that the whole nation was moving in the same direction ‘in union with the stream of life’. Public scepticism for ideas runs through the decade: from the ridiculing of Adlai Stevenson as an egghead, to the shift from Abstract Expressionism to an aesthetic interest in manufactured goods in the mid-1950s, to a film 24 American Culture in the 1950s like MGM’s The Band Wagon (1953) in which Fred Astaire’s songand-dance routine is portrayed as more authentic than a theatrical revival of Faust.

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