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Dancing in the Dark : A Cultural History of the Great Depression - Morris Dickstein

Dancing in the Dark

A Cultural History of the Great Depression

Paperback Published: 6th September 2010
ISBN: 9780393338768
Number Of Pages: 624

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<b>From Agee to Astaire, Steinbeck to Ellington, the creative energies of the Depression against a backdrop of poverty and economic disaster.<br /><br /></b>In this timely and long-awaited cultural history of the 1930s, Morris Dickstein, whom Norman Mailer called "one of our best and most distinguished critics of American literature," explores the anxiety and hope, the despair and surprising optimism of distressed Americans at a time of dire economic dislocation. Bringing together a staggering range of materials -- from epic Dust Bowl migrations and sharecropper photographs to zany screwball comedies, wildly popular swing bands, and streamlined Deco designs -- this eloquent work highlights the pivotal role of culture and government intervention in hard times. Exploding the myth that Depression culture was merely escapist, it concentrates instead on the dynamic energy and insight the arts could provide and the enormous lift they gave to the nation&rsquo;s morale. <i>Dancing in the Dark</i> shows how our worst economic crisis, as it eroded American individualism and punctured the American dream, produced some of the greatest writing, photography, and mass entertainment ever seen in this country.

"The equivalent of a Fred and Ginger dance number . . . a thrill to read." -- NPR

Prefacep. xiii
Introduction: Depression Culturep. 3
Discovering Poverty
The Tenement and the World: Immigrant Livesp. 15
The Starvation Armyp. 50
The Country and the Cityp. 92
Hard Times for Poetsp. 154
Black Girls and Native Sonsp. 173
Success and Failure
Beyond the American Dreamp. 215
What Price Hollywood?p. 311
The Last Film of the 1930s; or, Nothing Fails like Successp. 342
The Culture of Elegance
Fantasy, Elegance, Mobility: The Dream Life of the 1930sp. 357
Class for the Masses: Elegance Democratizedp. 408
The search For Community
The Populist Turn: Copland and the Popular Frontp. 441
Who Cares?: The World of Porgy and Bessp. 464
The People vs. Frank Capra: Populism against Itselfp. 477
Shakespeare in Overalls: An American Troubadourp. 496
Gender Trouble: Exposing the Intellectualsp. 507
Conclusion: The Work of Culture in Depression Americap. 522
Acknowledgmentsp. 531
Notesp. 533
Selected Bibliographyp. 556
Illustrations and Permissionsp. 565
Indexp. 569
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780393338768
ISBN-10: 0393338762
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 624
Published: 6th September 2010
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.96 x 14.48  x 2.79
Weight (kg): 0.48
Edition Number: 1