Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in Depression America

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This interdisciplinary study blends textual analysis with social history to chart the intellectual and artistic ferment of Depression-era America. In Rousing the Nation, Laura Browder explores the fiction, drama, and film produced during the decade by socially conscious intellectuals who struggled to create a uniquely American art. Browder first considers authors James T. Farrell, Josephine Herbst, and John Dos Passos, arguing that their work successfully sparked a discussion about what it meant to be American at a time when the country's very future seemed in doubt. She then examines the Living Newspaper productions of the Federal Theatre Project, which brought politically and aesthetically provocative drama to twenty-five million Americans. In a final chapter, she examines social films of the period, focusing on Paramount's 1939 production of One-Third of a Nation.