American Culture in the 1950s (Twentieth Century American by Martin Halliwell

By Martin Halliwell

This publication offers a stimulating account of the dominant cultural different types of Fifties the USA: fiction and poetry; theatre and function; movie and tv; song and radio; and the visible arts. via exact statement and targeted case reports of influential texts and occasions -- from Invisible guy to West aspect tale, from Disneyland to the Seattle World's reasonable, from Rear Window to The americans -- the ebook examines the best way modernism and the chilly conflict provide frames of reference for figuring out the trajectory of postwar culture.The middle goals of this quantity are to chart the altering complexion of yank tradition within the years following global battle II and to supply readers with a severe research of 'the 1950s'. The ebook offers an highbrow context for imminent Fifties American tradition and considers the ancient effect of the last decade on contemporary social and cultural advancements. Key Features:Focused case stories that includes key texts, genres, writers, artists and cultural trendsChronology of Nineteen Fifties American CultureBibliographies for every chapterMore than twenty illustrations

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The Robe was part of the cycle of biblical epics that began with Quo Vadis in 1951; director Cecil B. DeMille even appeared in person for the prologue of The Ten Commandments (1956) to make explicit parallels to the contemporary climate in which he contrasts the ‘freedom of man under God’ to the man-made tyranny of the state. It is also possible to mount an argument to suggest that the ‘soft power’ of cold war culture fulfilled the job of promoting values of democracy and freedom of expression abroad in such organizations as the International Congress for Cultural Freedom, where the ‘hard power’ of politics, coercion and warfare might have had the opposite effect.

But many of the debates in the 1950s revolved around different levels of culture, with the term ‘mass culture’ suggesting that ‘consumption’ had replaced ‘activity’ as the dominant mode of cultural behaviour. 21 On this model, mass culture is the product of the ‘entertainment business’, which grew dramatically with the development of television, popular music, and paperback book industries. In essence, Adorno and Horkheimer wanted to resuscitate high culture with all its complexities as an antidote to the bland uniformity of mass culture.

Ike and his fashion-conscious wife Mamie were iconic faces of the decade, and Eisenhower’s 1953 inauguration was a major media event, only to be upstaged by the birth of television star Lucille Ball’s baby. 11 But, despite Plath’s view, early-decade worries receded during Eisenhower’s presidency. The temporary waning of cold war fears has led some critics to focus on 1954 to 1958 as a defining period of the consumer boom. 12 Nixon and Khrushchev’s live ‘kitchen debate’ at the American National Exhibition in Moscow in June 1959 signalled a possible end to the cold war, which did not fully re-ignite until the Cuban Missile crisis of autumn 1962.

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