Read The Novel and the American Left: Critical Essays on Depression-Era Fiction by Janet Galligani Casey Online

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The first collection of critical essays to focus specifically on the fiction produced by American novelists of the Depression era, The Novel and the American Left contributes substantially to the newly emerging emphasis on twentieth-century American literary radicalism. Recent studies have recovered this body of work and redefined in historical and theoretical terms its viThe first collection of critical essays to focus specifically on the fiction produced by American novelists of the Depression era, The Novel and the American Left contributes substantially to the newly emerging emphasis on twentieth-century American literary radicalism. Recent studies have recovered this body of work and redefined in historical and theoretical terms its vibrant contribution to American letters. Casey consolidates and expands this field of study by providing a more specific consideration of individual novels and novelists, many of which are reaching new contemporary audiences through reprints.The Novel and the American Left focuses exclusively on left-leaning fiction of the Depression era, lending visibility and increased critical validity to these works and showing the various ways in which they contributed not only to theorizations of the Left but also to debates about the content and form of American fiction. In theoretical terms, the collection as a whole contributes to the larger reconceptualization of American modernity currently under way. More pragmatically, individual essays suggest specific authors, texts, and approaches to teachers and scholars seeking to broaden and/or complicate more traditional “American modernism” syllabi and research agendas.The selected essays take up, among others, such “hard-core"” leftist writers as Mike Gold and Myra Page, who were associated with the Communist Party; the popular novels of James M. Cain and Kenneth Fearing, whose works were made into successful films; and critically acclaimed but nonetheless “lost” novelists such as Josephine Johnson, whose Now in November (Pulitzer Prize, 1936) anticipates and complicates the more popular agrarian mythos of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.This volume will be of interest not only to literary specialists but also to historians, social scientists, and those interested in American cultural studies....

Title : The Novel and the American Left: Critical Essays on Depression-Era Fiction
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ISBN : 9780877458807
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 236 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Novel and the American Left: Critical Essays on Depression-Era Fiction Reviews

  • Demisty Bellinger
    2019-05-22 10:50

    This is a collection of essays that explore various novels from the era. Although there were many fine essays here, many of which encourages me to read the books I have yet to read, I note here Joy Castro's “‘My Little Illegality’: Abortion, Resistance, and Women Writers on the Left” —mostly because I read the text she discusses. On the three novels she showcases, and her thesis, basically, Castro states, “Rather than serving as a moment of resistance, abortion instead functions as a moment of submission—the moment in which women, submitting to the demands of their lovers, their class, their politics, realize the extent to which their bodies are commodities and to which ultimately dehumanizing technologies have supplanted nature in capitalist society” (17). Castro mentions Le Sueur’s “Annunciation,” claiming that these texts—which looks at this resistance of a coerced abortion as a “refuge,” “valorize ‘nature,’ which is controlled, in each case, just as the women are controlled, as against technology, depicted as invasive and dehumanizing. In taking psychological refuge in images of nature—fruit, trees—the women recognize or resist their own victimization” (Castro 17). Le Sueur uses both trees and fruit in her work when refuting abortion.The story itself—the text that we readers have, Castro argues—is what the pear tree lets her tell, “the untold story of the subjectivity of the pregnant woman” and this text is the narrator’s “act of resistance” via “breaking the silence that has historically surrounded the experience of pregnancy,” and because the husband wants her to terminate the pregnancy (31).No money is involved directly—Karl wants the narrator to get an abortion because they have no money and there are no jobs to be had. This ingenuity does not result in the narrator getting money, either. But this resistance in this way—identifying with the pear tree and writing notes to her unborn child—allows the narrator to remain sane in this tugging at her body and what she should do with it.