Writers of the 1920s, such as Hemingway and Fitzerald, have been heralded as The Lost Generation, and an earlier generation formed The American Renaissance. Far less critical attention has been paid to mid-20th-century literature and how a ...
super-charged body of writing changed our perceptions of the world.
Beyond the Gray Flannel Suit considers the books of our lives, which shaped our times whether we realize it or not. Where did the youth culture come from? Why do people argue over pop and high culture? How do race and ethnicity play a significant part in an artist's work?
By examining a carefully selected range of books and authors, Castronovo helps us understand the true significance of the remarkable literary explosion that took place between the late 1940s and the JFK years.
Here are Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Bernard Malamud, and Flannery O'Connor "breaking through." "Youth Reinvented" includes Salinger, Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. What is called "Angst, Inc.," includes Patricia Highsmith, Cornell Woolrich, and Jim Thompson. Nelson Algren and Norman Mailer are the "Rough Customers." There are "The New Observers" and "Eggheads": Vladimir Nabokov, Randell Jarrell, Dawn Powell, Lionel Trilling, and others. Visionary observers of Ethnic America as we recognize it today are Cheever, Baldwin, Philip Roth, and J. F. Powers. Richard Yates and John Updike are re-inventors of the Naturalistic strain.
Nineteen-fifties literary America is an era of unprecedented influence that is possibly never to be duplicated. This breakthrough book shows the how and the why.