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Fantasies of the New Class : Ideologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American Fiction

By: Schryer, Stephen.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, 2012Description: 1 online resource (289 p.).ISBN: 9780231527477.Subject(s): American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism | Elite (Social sciences) in literature | Literature and society -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Professional employees -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Professional employees in literature | Social classes in literatureGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Fantasies of the New Class : Ideologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American FictionDDC classification: 813.54093552 | 813/.54093552 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
CONTENTS; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; INTRODUCTION: FANTASIES OF THE NEW CLASS; 1. THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS: THE NEW CRITICISM, HARVARD SOCIOLOGY, AND THE IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY; 2. "LIFE UPON THE HORNS OFTHE WHITE MAN'S DILEMMA": RALPH ELLISON, GUNNAR MYRDAL, AND THE PROJECT OF NATIONAL THERAPY; 3. MARY McCARTHY'S FIELD GUIDE TO U.S. INTELLECTUALS: TRADITION AND MODERNIZATION THEORY IN BIRDS OF AMERICA; 4. SAUL BELLOW'S CLASS OF EXPLAINING CREATURES: MR. SAMMLER'S PLANET AND THE RISE OF NEOCONSERVATISM; 5. EXPERTS WITHOUT INSTITUTIONS: NEW LEFT PROFESSIONALISM IN MARGE PIERCY AND URSULA K . LE GUIN
6. DON DeLILLO'S ACADEMIA: REVISITING THE NEW CLASS IN WHITE NOISEAFTERWORD; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX
Summary: America''s post-World War II prosperity created a boom in higher education, expanding the number of university-educated readers and making a new literary politics possible. Writers began to direct their work toward the growing professional class, and the American public in turn became more open to literary culture. This relationship imbued fiction with a new social and cultural import, allowing authors to envision themselves as unique cultural educators. It also changed the nature of literary representation: writers came to depict social reality as a tissue of ideas produced by knowledge elites.Linking literary and historical trends, Stephen Schryer underscores the exalted fantasies that arose from postwar American writers'' new sense of their cultural mission. Hoping to transform capitalism from within, writers and critics tried to cultivate aesthetically attuned professionals who could disrupt the narrow materialism of the bourgeoisie. Reading Don DeLillo, Marge Piercy, Mary McCarthy, Saul Bellow, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ralph Ellison, and Lionel Trilling, among others, Schryer unravels the postwar idea of American literature as a vehicle for instruction, while highlighting both the promise and flaws inherent in this vision.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
PS374.S68 S35 2011 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=908821 Available EBL908821

CONTENTS; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; INTRODUCTION: FANTASIES OF THE NEW CLASS; 1. THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS: THE NEW CRITICISM, HARVARD SOCIOLOGY, AND THE IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY; 2. "LIFE UPON THE HORNS OFTHE WHITE MAN'S DILEMMA": RALPH ELLISON, GUNNAR MYRDAL, AND THE PROJECT OF NATIONAL THERAPY; 3. MARY McCARTHY'S FIELD GUIDE TO U.S. INTELLECTUALS: TRADITION AND MODERNIZATION THEORY IN BIRDS OF AMERICA; 4. SAUL BELLOW'S CLASS OF EXPLAINING CREATURES: MR. SAMMLER'S PLANET AND THE RISE OF NEOCONSERVATISM; 5. EXPERTS WITHOUT INSTITUTIONS: NEW LEFT PROFESSIONALISM IN MARGE PIERCY AND URSULA K . LE GUIN

6. DON DeLILLO'S ACADEMIA: REVISITING THE NEW CLASS IN WHITE NOISEAFTERWORD; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX

America''s post-World War II prosperity created a boom in higher education, expanding the number of university-educated readers and making a new literary politics possible. Writers began to direct their work toward the growing professional class, and the American public in turn became more open to literary culture. This relationship imbued fiction with a new social and cultural import, allowing authors to envision themselves as unique cultural educators. It also changed the nature of literary representation: writers came to depict social reality as a tissue of ideas produced by knowledge elites.Linking literary and historical trends, Stephen Schryer underscores the exalted fantasies that arose from postwar American writers'' new sense of their cultural mission. Hoping to transform capitalism from within, writers and critics tried to cultivate aesthetically attuned professionals who could disrupt the narrow materialism of the bourgeoisie. Reading Don DeLillo, Marge Piercy, Mary McCarthy, Saul Bellow, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ralph Ellison, and Lionel Trilling, among others, Schryer unravels the postwar idea of American literature as a vehicle for instruction, while highlighting both the promise and flaws inherent in this vision.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Schryer (Univ. of New Brunswick, Canada) presents an interesting, insightful synthesis of the intellectual histories of two disparate disciplines--literary criticism and sociology--demonstrating that they shared a common vision and purpose in the decades leading up to WW II. The lines between fiction and ethnography blurred and crossed before the war, as intellectuals attempted to drive social change. After the war, the political impulses of the New Critics and sociology's structural functionalists, coupled with the flood of new middle-class students into the universities, led to a new understanding of what it meant to be a literary professional. The "new class" saw itself as a culturally enlightened elite, bringing unfiltered wisdom and a new social vision to the masses. The author illustrates new-class ideology through the works of Ralph Ellison, Mary McCarthy, and Saul Bellow, and traces its influence on more recent political writers, including Marge Piercy and Ursula K. Le Guin. Schryer builds on Gerald Graff's Professing Literature: An Institutional History (1987), Bill Readings's The University in Ruins (CH, Jan'97, 34-2880), and other analyses, hinting at new questions about the academy today. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. C. A. Bily Macomb Community College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Stephen Schryer is assistant professor of English at the University of New Brunswick. He has published in PMLA , Modern Fiction Studies , and Arizona Quarterly .

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