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Programming National Identity: The Culture of Radio in 1930s France (Hardcover)

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Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within Show Summary Details Summary and Keywords Radio debuted as a wireless alternative to telegraphy in the late 19th century.

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By contrast, many American intellectuals in the s, disillusioned by what they considered the pointless carnage of World War I , had shown little interest in politics or social movements. Nor did they display much affection for life in the United States.

Great Depression - Political movements and social change | lypyfano.tk

Indeed, most American novelists, poets, artists, composers, and scientists continued to believe, as they had since the 19th century, that the United States was culturally inferior to Europe. So, to learn the latest modernist techniques in literature, painting, or music, or to study the most advanced theories in physics or psychoanalysis, they assumed they had to go to London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, or Copenhagen.

During the worst years of the Great Depression, between and , this engagement often took the form of an attraction to Marxism , the Soviet Union, and the American Communist Party. Meanwhile, the communist parties in the United States and in western Europe gave intellectuals—as well as teachers, lawyers, architects, and other middle-class professionals—a feeling that they were no longer solitary individuals suffering from the failures of capitalism but belonged instead to a vibrant community of like-minded souls, in that they were participants in an international movement larger than themselves and that they were literally making history.

For all these reasons Marxism, the Soviet Union, and the various national communist parties enjoyed a prestige and a popularity through much of the s that they had never possessed in the s and would never again enjoy after the Great Depression. Perhaps no writer better reflected this new sense of social commitment than Ernest Hemingway.

In Hemingway published A Farewell to Arms. In this novel, Robert Jordan, another Hemingwayesque volunteer, serving with a band of anti-Franco guerrillas, is badly wounded but stays behind to defend a bridge, thereby protecting his comrades as they retreat.

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Jordan—unlike Lieutenant Henry—has found a cause worth fighting and dying for. Of course, not every Depression-era American writer was entranced by communism or the Soviet Union. The majority of intellectuals and artists, like their fellow citizens, were much more comfortable voting for Roosevelt than idolizing Joseph Stalin. Indeed, by the middle and late s, a growing number of American intellectuals—many of them clustered around the literary and political journal Partisan Review —had become militantly anti-Stalinist even as they retained their sympathy for socialism , their new stance having formed as Stalin launched a series of show trials that sent his former Bolshevik colleagues to Siberian labour camps or more frequently to their death in the cellars of prisons , as terror spread throughout the Soviet Union, and as stories began to circulate about the communists murdering Trotskyists and anarchists behind the Republican lines in Spain.

Still, it was not until August , when Stalin shocked the world by signing a nonaggression pact with his archenemy Hitler, that the Soviet Union and the Communist Party in the United States lost what was left of their moral authority with all but a few American intellectuals.

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Novelists, poets, painters, and playwrights of the s did not need to be Marxists to create works that dealt with the problems of the Great Depression or the dangers of fascism. Most writers and artists in the prosperous s thought of themselves as members of a transatlantic avant-garde and as stylistic disciples of Pablo Picasso , James Joyce , or Igor Stravinsky.

Given the political and economic calamities at home and abroad, they sought to focus on the plight of workers, sharecroppers, African Americans, the poor, and the dispossessed. Further, they wanted to communicate their insights in a language—whether literary, visual, or musical—that their audiences could easily comprehend. This impulse led, in a variety of genres , to an aesthetic of documentary-style realism and of social protest.

For writers such as Edmund Wilson , Sherwood Anderson , John Dos Passos , Erskine Caldwell , Richard Wright , and James Agee , fiction seemed inadequate in describing the disastrous effects of the Great Depression on political institutions, the natural environment , and human lives.