These Days of Large Things explores the centrality of size to American culture and national identity and the preoccupation with physical stature that pervaded American thought. Clarke examines the role that body size played in racial theory and the ways in which economic changes in the nation generated conflicting attitudes toward growth and bigness. Finally, Clarke investigates the relationship between stature and gender.
These Days of Large Things brings together a remarkable range of cultural material including scientific studies, photographs, novels, cartoons, architecture, and film. As a general cultural and intellectual history of the period, this work will be of interest to students and scholars in American studies, U.S. history, American literature, and gender studies.
Michael Tavel Clarke is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Calgary.
Cover photograph: "New York from Its Pinnacles," Alvin Langdon Coburn (1912). Courtesy of the George Eastman House.
"A fascinating study of the American preoccupation with physical size, this book charts new paths in the history of science, culture, and the body. A must-read for anyone puzzling over why Americans today love hulking SUVs, Mcmansions, and outsized masculine bodies."
---Lois Banner, University of Southern California
"From the Gilded Age through the Twenties, Clarke shows a nation-state obsessed with sheer size, ranging from the mammoth labor union to the 'Giant Incorporated Body' of the monopoly trust. These Days of Large Things links the towering Gibson Girl with the skyscraper, the pediatric regimen with stereotypes of the Jew. Spanning anthropology, medicine, architecture, business, and labor history, Clarke provides the full anatomy of imperial America and offers a model of cultural studies at its very best."
---Cecelia Tichi, Vanderbilt University
The 1940s were like no other time in U.S. history. The nation went to war in both Europe and Asia; meanwhile, the American population shifted from being largely rural to predominantly urban. The greatest generation saw, and helped, America change forever. Robert Sickels captures the many ways in which the nation's popular culture grew and evolved. The 1940s saw the emergence of such phenomena as television, Levittown housing, comic-book superheroes, pre-packaged foods, Christian Dior's New Look, the original swing music, and the first Beatniks. Twelve narrative chapters chronicle the nation's survival during wartime and its path toward unforeseen cultural shifts in the years ahead.
Included are chapter bibliographies, a timeline, a cost comparison, and a suggested reading list for students. This latest addition to Greenwood's American Popular Culture Through History series is an invaluable contribution to the study of American popular culture.
Contributors. John Bloom, Gerry Bloustein, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Diane Brooks, Peter Chvany, Elana Crane, Alexander Doty, Rob Drew, Stephen Duncombe, Nick Evans, Eric Freedman, Joy Fuqua, Tony Grajeda, Katherine Green, John Hartley, Heather Hendershot, Henry Jenkins, Eithne Johnson, Louis Kaplan, Maria Koundoura, Sharon Mazer, Anna McCarthy, Tara McPherson, Angela Ndalianis, Edward O’Neill, Catherine Palmer, Roberta Pearson, Elayne Rapping, Eric Schaefer, Jane Shattuc, Greg Smith, Ellen Strain, Matthew Tinkhom, William Uricchio, Amy Villarego, Robyn Warhol, Charles Weigl, Alan Wexelblat, Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Nabeel Zuberi
"Incorrect Thoughts provides an opportunity to view in some breadth Mr. Leo's compelling vision of the way we live now."
-Daniel J. Silver, Wall Street Journal
In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us—with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that's all his own—how we really (no, really) live now.
In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV's Real World, who've generated their own self-perpetuating economy of minor celebrity; and all across the South on the trail of the blues. He takes us to Indiana to investigate the formative years of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose and then to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina—and back again as its residents confront the BP oil spill.
Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a story about this country that we've never heard told this way. It's like a fun-house hall-of-mirrors tour: Sullivan shows us who we are in ways we've never imagined to be true. Of course we don't know whether to laugh or cry when faced with this reflection—it's our inevitable sob-guffaws that attest to the power of Sullivan's work.
Joan Didion lived a life in the public and private eye with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, whom she met while the two were working in New York City when Didion was at Vogue and Dunne was writing for Time. They became wildly successful writing partners when they moved to Los Angeles and co-wrote screenplays and adaptations together.
Didion is well-known for her literary journalistic style in both fiction and non-fiction. Some of her most-notable work includes Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Run River, and The Year of Magical Thinking, a National Book Award winner and shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. It dealt with the grief surrounding Didion after the loss of her husband and daughter. Daugherty takes readers on a journey back through time, following a young Didion in Sacramento through to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally, while maintaining a respectful distance from the reclusive literary great.
The Last Love Song reads like fiction; lifelong fans, and readers learning about Didion for the first time will be enthralled with this impressive tribute.
From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter.
Richly textured with memories from her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion is an intensely personal and moving account of her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness and growing old.
As she reflects on her daughter’s life and on her role as a parent, Didion grapples with the candid questions that all parents face, and contemplates her age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept. Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profound.
"Incantory....A beautiful condolance note to humanity about some of the painful realities of the human condition." --The Washington Post