The Twilight of the Middle Class: Post-World War II American Fiction and White-Collar Work

Princeton University Press
Free sample

In The Twilight of the Middle Class, Andrew Hoberek challenges the commonly held notion that post-World War II American fiction eschewed the economic for the psychological or the spiritual. Reading works by Ayn Rand, Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Phillip Roth, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and others, he shows how both the form and content of postwar fiction responded to the transformation of the American middle class from small property owners to white-collar employees. In the process, he produces "compelling new accounts of identity politics and postmodernism that will be of interest to anyone who reads or teaches contemporary fiction.

Hoberek argues that despite the financial gains and job security enjoyed by the postwar middle class, the transition to white-collar employment paved the way for its current precarious state in a country marked by increasingly deep class divisions. Postwar fiction provided the middle class with various imaginative substitutes for its former property-owning independence, substitutes that since then have not only allowed but abetted this class's downward mobility. To read this fiction in the light of the middle-class experience is thus not only to restore the severed connections between literary and economic "history in the second half of the twentieth "century, but to explore the roots of the contemporary crisis of the middle class.

Read more

About the author

Andrew Hoberek is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Read more
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
Read more
Published on
Jan 10, 2009
Read more
Pages
176
Read more
ISBN
9781400826810
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / United States / 20th Century
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / General
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
A landmark American drama that inspired a classic film and a Broadway revival—featuring an introduction by David Mamet

A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases. Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to form of them—and of America, at its best and worst.
 
After the critically acclaimed teleplay aired in 1954, this landmark American drama went on to become a cinematic masterpiece in 1957 starring Henry Fonda, for which Rose wrote the adaptation. More recently, Twelve Angry Men had a successful, and award-winning, run on Broadway.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Within the past ten years, the field of contemporary American literary studies has changed significantly. Following the turn of the twenty-first century and mounting doubts about the continued explanatory power of the category of “postmodernism,” new organizations have emerged, book series have been launched, journals have been created, and new methodologies, periodizations, and thematics have redefined the field. Postmodern/Postwar—and After aims to be a field-defining book—a sourcebook for the new and emerging critical terrain—that explores the postmodern/postwar period and what comes after.

The first section of essays returns to the category of the “post-modern” and argues for the usefulness of key concepts and themes from postmodernism to the study of contemporary literature, or reevaluates postmodernism in light of recent developments in the field and historical and economic changes in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. These essays take the contemporary abandonments of postmodernism as an occasion to assess the current states of postmodernity. After that, the essays move to address the critical shift away from postmodernism as a description of the present, and toward a new sense of postmodernism as just one category among many that scholars can use to describe the recent past. The final section looks forward and explores the question of what comes after the postwar/postmodern.

Taken together, these essays from leading and emerging scholars on the state of twenty-first-century literary studies provide a number of frameworks for approaching contemporary literature as influenced by, yet distinct from, postmodernism. The result is an indispensable guide that seeks to represent and understand the major overhauling of postwar American literary studies that is currently underway.
Within the past ten years, the field of contemporary American literary studies has changed significantly. Following the turn of the twenty-first century and mounting doubts about the continued explanatory power of the category of “postmodernism,” new organizations have emerged, book series have been launched, journals have been created, and new methodologies, periodizations, and thematics have redefined the field. Postmodern/Postwar—and After aims to be a field-defining book—a sourcebook for the new and emerging critical terrain—that explores the postmodern/postwar period and what comes after.

The first section of essays returns to the category of the “post-modern” and argues for the usefulness of key concepts and themes from postmodernism to the study of contemporary literature, or reevaluates postmodernism in light of recent developments in the field and historical and economic changes in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. These essays take the contemporary abandonments of postmodernism as an occasion to assess the current states of postmodernity. After that, the essays move to address the critical shift away from postmodernism as a description of the present, and toward a new sense of postmodernism as just one category among many that scholars can use to describe the recent past. The final section looks forward and explores the question of what comes after the postwar/postmodern.

Taken together, these essays from leading and emerging scholars on the state of twenty-first-century literary studies provide a number of frameworks for approaching contemporary literature as influenced by, yet distinct from, postmodernism. The result is an indispensable guide that seeks to represent and understand the major overhauling of postwar American literary studies that is currently underway.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.