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American Culture in the 1940s

Jacqueline Foertsch

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This book explores the major cultural forms of 1940s America - fiction and non-fiction; music and radio; film and theatre; serious and popular visual arts - and key texts, trends and figures, from Native Son to Citizen Kane, from Hiroshima to HUAC, and from Dr Seuss to Bob Hope. After discussing the dominant ideas that inform the 1940s the book culminates with a chapter on the 'culture of war'. Rather than splitting the decade at 1945, Jacqueline Foertsch argues persuasively that the 1940s should be taken as a whole, seeking out links between wartime and postwar American culture.

Key Features

  • Focused case studies featuring key texts, genres, writers, artists and cultural trends
  • Detailed chronology of 1940s American culture
  • Bibliographies for each chapter
  • 20 black and white illustrations


List of Figures
List of Case Studies
Chronology of 1940s American Culture
Introduction: The Intellectual Context
1. Fiction and Journalism
2. Radio and Music
3. Theatre and Film
4. Visual Arts, Serious and Popular
5. The Arts of Sacrifice and Consumption
Conclusion: The 1940s in the Contemporary American Imagination

About the Author

Jacqueline Foertsch is Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Texas. She is the author of Enemies Within: The Cold War and AIDS Crisis in Literature, Film and Culture (2001).

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